How To Deal with Dandelions

Dandelions, a flowering weed in the daisy family, are rather stubborn weeds to deal with because of how well they are designed to survive. Just look at them. Above ground, their weeds can scatter on the wind for miles - often ending up right in your backyard, eager to propagate. Below ground, their taproot can reach up to 10 inches long. Which basically means pulling up dandelions can be a total pain. If you don’t yank up the whole taproot, any fraction of it left behind will, like an amputated arm in a horror movie, just grow right back. Ugh, right?

WHY DEALING WITH ‘EM MATTERS

While it sometimes seems like there’s not much you can do to stop a dandelion infestation, think again. A healthy lawn is resilient to weeds including, you guessed it, dandelions. So, if you have dandelions in your yard, it’s a sign that the soil beneath your grass needs some immediate TLC, or those stubborn weeds will continue to spread. So, uh, what exactly can you do? The #1 way to stop dandelions from taking over your yard is to ensure that your lawn’s soil is healthy. And that starts by getting your soil tested. Because otherwise, those perky little weeds love bare spots in the grass and will not only survive but they will totally thrive in nutrient-deficient soil. A few things dandelions love:

  • Direct sunlight
  • Bare spots in your yard
  • Nutrient-deficient soil
  • Kids that like to make wishes
  • Tea made from their roots and leaves
  • Hungry honey bees

FUNDAY FACT: “Dandelion” is really an English mispronunciation of the French phrase “dent de lion” or “lion’s tooth.”

3 WAYS TO DEAL WITH DANDELIONS

You’ve got three options here: the natural way, using iron-based herbicides or spot-treating with chemicals … or by moving (jk). Since moving probably isn’t an option, here are three legit ways to deal with dandelions:

// GET YOUR HANDS DIRTY: PULL THE DANDELIONS UP

  1. Water your lawn before you tackle pulling up these weeds because a wet soil makes removing them way, way easier.
  2. Pick up a dandelion remover or garden spade, like this one here.
  3. Uproot those suckers, but be sure to bring the entire taproot with you … and grab as much as you can to prevent it from breaking.

If you want to get really creative with the dandelions, harvest them. The greens can be used in salads (they’re already in mesclun mix!), and ground roots can be made into a coffee substitute. Heck, you can even make dandelion wine! Of course, never ever do any of the above if you’ve applied herbicide (natural or chemical) or fertilizer to the dandelions in your yard.

// USE WEED KILLER HERBICIDES TO DEAL WITH DANDELIONS Natural herbicides are iron-based products that will deal with the dandelions in your yard without harming your grass or the soil. It’s a convenient approach that reduces the time spent in your yard yanking up those weeds, and it’s also a natural alternative to other products out there that contain harsh pesticides like 24D or Glyphosate.

// TACKLE THE DANDELION ISSUE WITH SPOT-TREATMENT CHEMICALS A pre-emergent weed killer can eliminate dandelion growth before it begins and can be an effective method for controlling weeds in your yard if iron-based herbicides haven’t worked, or if the problem persists. Got full-grown weeds already? Post-emergent chemicals can be used to treat the problem areas of your yard, but use caution when applying them to prevent the chemical-spray from drifting across your lawn, wafting into open windows, or coming in contact with non-target plants.

HOW TO KEEP DANDELIONS FROM COMING BACK

Once you’ve dealt with the ones in your yard, you’ll want to go on the offense because, well, a good offense is the best defense.

  1. Keep your lawn and its soil well fed with nutrients so grass grows thick. Don’t cut your grass too short. Mow at a high setting (2-3 inches).
  2. Fill in the bare patches in your lawn before they attract more dandelion growth.
  3. Leave your clippings right where they fall to help nourish your lawn (see step numero uno).

YOUR LAWN. YOUR LAND. YOUR CHOICE.

Pulling them up, tackling ‘em with herbicides or using pre- or post-emergent chemical applications is your choice. At the root of the issue (pun intended) is soil begging for nutrients. If weeds like dandelions persist in your yard, it’s time to look deeper. Past the weeds, past the grass … and into the soil. Because a healthy lawn starts with soil. A healthy lawn is a lawn resilient to weeds. And at Sunday, that’s what we’re out to achieve. Beautiful, healthy lawns that are tough enough to withstand weeds like dandelions.

THE BUZZ ABOUT DANDELIONS

Nature always has a reason. Dandelions, in this case, are the most important food source for honey bees in early spring. They promote hive health and give the bees an early-season energy boost. Got a few in your yard? Then don’t feel so bad ‘cause you’re doing your part to feed the bees. But if you want ‘em gone, that’s totally cool too. Got other weed concerns? Check out our complete list of lawn care resources on our website.