You have several options for getting rid of dandelions permanently. The first is hand pulling or digging. When digging a dandelion, use a special dandelion fork or weeding knife, inserting it into soil along the plant. The taproot typically extends straight down from the tuft of leaves, so aim to place your tool alongside that root. Wiggle the tool a bit to loosen the soil around the taproot, grab all of the leaves in your hand, and pull.
The first step in winning any war, including the one against dandelions, is to know your opponent. Equal parts perky and pesky, dandelion plants can live for 5 to 10 years, growing up to 20 inches across. Because they spread by wind-blown seed, no lawn or planting bed is immune to a parachuting invasion of dandelion seeds. Dandelions have some weedy superpowers, but if you understand how they grow, you can beat ‘em.
The nightmare of dandelions is the deep taproot (up to 15 feet long) and puffball seedhead, which disperses seeds on every breeze. The best defense against dandelions in the lawn is growing thick, healthy turf, which means mowing at the right height and fertilizing correctly. In planting beds and paths, these familiar weeds tend to show up in the worst places, such as rooted in the center of a perennial clump or tucked right in the edge row of paving stones. The best ways to get rid of dandelions? Spray them or dig them. When spraying, kick dandelions a bit first to scuff and wound the leaves—it helps the spray penetrate better. With digging, make sure you get at least 2 inches of taproot or they’ll return as two plants.
This dandelion was scuffed just prior to spraying a weedkiller. It died quickly and completely, never to return. The best time to spray dandelions is in the fall, because this is when plants are naturally shifting materials from leaves to roots for winter storage. Weedkiller applied in fall moves directly to roots, which helps get rid of dandelions permanently. Avoid using lawn weed and feed products in fall to kill dandelions, though, because if your lawn goes dormant for winter, it won't absorb the fertilizer. Instead, any weeds present take up the fertilizer and grow stronger.
The best sprays to use on dandelions are ones that kill the leaf and the root (it should say that on the bottle). If you’re spraying dandelions that are located in other planting beds, create a spray collar by removing the top and bottom of a can or plastic bottle. Slip the container over the dandelion, and spray the weed inside the can.
Hand digging or pulling dandelions is the method to use when your lawn has just a few dandelions or you’re working in planting beds where weedkillers could damage other plants. Weed puller tools like this one take the back-breaking labor out of weeding. Always try to dig dandelions when soil is moist. If you have to, before weeding, water the area where you’ll be working.
Killing actual dandelion plants is one tactic in the war on this weed. Another is creating an environment where dandelion seeds can’t successfully germinate. To do this, use a pre-emergent herbicide like corn gluten meal or Preen. This type of weedkiller interferes with seed germination, which means seeds can’t produce a plant. Use corn gluten meal in fall and early spring (about the time forsythia flowers). Another technique to make your yard unfriendly to dandelion seeds is to mulch planting beds, and don’t cut your lawn shorter than 2 to 3 inches. Taller grass grows thicker, shading soil so dandelion seeds can’t sprout.
A white wall sets a clean background for the colorful furniture in this living room. A green sofa with white zig zig pattern is decorated with striped black and white pillows and a long decorative pillow in the center. A pair of upholstered coffee tables feature a bright blue hue with fun, floral design. The versatile pieces also work as extra seating and ottomans.
This foyer instantly sets a whimsical, airy scene thanks to ceilings that go up to the second level, a floating staircase with glass railings, dandelion puff pendants and sculpture climbers scaling the walls.
Baby's room mixes sophisticated cool with friendly charm: The walls are wrapped in a bold graphic print, a playful pairing with the cow hide rug and tuxedo curtains. Overhead, a pendant light like a ball of dandelion fuzz softens the mood.
Plant kale seeds from early spring to early summer and again in fall. Soil should be at least 40 degrees F when you sow kale. For early spring planting, that soil temperature corresponds to roughly the time that dandelion and forsythia flower.
Annual weeds like crabgrass, pigweed, lambsquarters and wild mustard sprout from seed as soon as soil warms in spring. Perennial weeds like dandelion, sorrel and thistle can also sprout from seeds.
Easy Solution: Short circuit weed seed germination by spreading a pre-emergent herbicide. Corn gluten is an effective, natural control that prevents weed seeds from growing successfully.
Perennial weeds are tricky garden invaders because they can sprout from seeds, root pieces and stems. Common perennial weeds include tree of heaven, Canada thistle, dock and dandelion.
Easy Solution: Learn to identify weed seedlings. As soon as you spot a perennial weed, get on your hands and knees and dig it out. This broadleaf dock sinks a deep taproot quickly. Getting all of it out of soil is the key to keeping this perennial weed from coming back.
Weeding is probably one of the worst jobs in the landscape, but you can make even this must-do chore easier. First, tackle weeding in small bites—it’s easier on your body and mental state. Second, use the right tools. Invest in weeding tools that work. Consider things like a digging knife, Asian hoe or an ergonomic weeder designed to give you leverage when dealing with tap-rooted interlopers like thistle or dandelion. Lastly, tackle weeding at the right time. After rain or watering, soil is moist and weeds pull easier.