We have all experienced the wrath of the broadleaf perennial, the dandelion, on our lawns at some stage. Whether you love them or hate them dandelions can be a challenge to remove and keep at bay. In this article we are debating ways of getting rid of dandelions and trying to find the best dandelion killer methods and how to kill dandelions for good!
- Effective methods to get rid of dandelions
- Manual and chemical free methods
- Home made dandelion killer
- Using post emergent herbicides as a dandelion killer
- Conclusion – The best dandelion killer?
The dandelion has an extensive root system that can grow up to 10 inches long and develops a pretty yellow flower which later turns into a white puffball that spreads seeds all over your garden. This makes it a real challenge to find the best dandelion killer!
Dandelion is not a native plant in the United States, their seeds were brought in to the country in the 1600s to grow for food and medicinal reasons. However, soon after that day dandelions were everywhere.
Their name comes from French, meaning ‘teeth of the lion’, which kind of adequately describes how tough these weeds are.
An interesting fact is that dandelions are actually edible and quite delicious in salads, but not all of us appreciate them in our gardens or on our plates.
Effective methods to get rid of dandelions
For those of us who want to get rid of dandelions, this pretty but pesky weed, there are quite a few methods to consider.
The most important fact we found to deliberate is that the whole plant and its roots need to be removed. Also, precautionary measures need to be taken to prevent seeds that have had spread from germinating.
Here are a few methods that we have found to be quite effective.
Manual and chemical free methods
There are a few safe manual ways of killing dandelions;
Pulling them out
In order to pull out a dandelion you will first need to make an incision in the soil down the root of the weed by means of a spade or specialist weeder tool.
Wiggle the spade or tool to loosen the plant and root. You can now firmly grip the dandelion getting a good grip on all the leaves and stem, and pull slowly. Make sure to remove the entire root system.
Digging them out
You may also succeed in successfully getting rid of dandelion by digging it out at the roots, by using a spade, garden fork or a dandelion digger.
This is done by digging around the base of the pant and using leverage in order to hinge the plant and roots out of the ground.
Using weed burner torch
Another method that has also proven successful although we found it to be quite dangerous is to burn the weed down. A burner torch is quite effective at achieving this and an excellent dandelion killer.
Home made dandelion killer
To our surprise there are quite a few effective (or less effective) dandelion killer methods right in the kitchen.
Pouring boiling water over the dandelion plant every day for a few days should cause it to wilt and eventually die completely.
Vinegar can be used to spray directly on to the dandelion plant a few times to kill it, or in the hole where you dug the dandelion plant up to prevent it from re-growing.
You can also make an excellent dandelion killer using a salt and water mixture and spray it on the pant daily.
Make your salt mixture even more potent by adding dishwasher soap and some vinegar for even better results!
Using post emergent herbicides as a dandelion killer
A more guaranteed and little more chemical approach to killing dandelions would be to use a post-emergent herbicide.
We would recommend using a non-selective, general weed killer such a herbicide containing Glyphosate which you apply directly to the dandelion plant.
Just be careful not to get the chemical on other vegetation as it will also destroy other plants.
Make sure to wait around three days before mowing your lawn after you have sprayed the chemical to ensure efficiency, and safety of the rest of the lawn.
We have discussed selective and non-selective herbicides in our crabgrass article in more detail.
Maintaining a healthy lawn to prevent dandelions from re-emerging
By promoting the health of your lawn you may also discourage further growth and development of the dandelion weed. The best dandelion killer is a healthy competition between the lawn itself and the weed.
Keep your lawn well fertilized and watered to keep it growing thick and healthy.
We have also noted that dandelions smother easily, so by leaving grass clippings on your lawn after mowing it will not only smother any germinating or growing dandelions but also act as a natural fertilizer.
Try not to cut your lawn too short to deprive weeds of sunlight, and at all costs prevent bald spots where weeds can spring up.
As dandelions prefer acidic soil they will grow weaker and less in richer soil, which is an essential part of dandelion control.
Using nutrient-rich compost and mulch in your garden and on your lawn will not only keep your lawn lush and healthy but will also prevent these weeds from growing.
Using pre-emergent herbicides
As a last and more potent resort we have looked at pre-emergent herbicides, which are chemicals used to prevent dandelion seeds and other weeds from germinating. Ideally, the best dandelion killer method should not poison the environment, but sometimes it is necessary to use some powerful substance.
You can purchase a good quality pre-emergent herbicide and spray it all over your lawn, preferably in winter for it to be more effective.
The herbicide will prevent the growth of any more dandelions in your lawn and kill any existent seeds that may have blown in your garden.
Alternatively, a combined lawn food and weed preventer could be a great option, as it can be used on lawn and won’t kill off any other plants.
Conclusion – The best dandelion killer?
Dandelions may seem like cheerful yellow flowers, which face it we also all have blown the little white puffs of seeds in the air as children. In reality even though they may seem harmless and are safe to consume they are still a weed that pushes out other plants and grass and saps away water and nutrients.
Their plenty of ways to kill dandelions as you can see, you can try whichever option suits you best, and by maintaining a healthy lawn you will also keep them away.