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As cheerful as those dandelions seem with their bright yellow heads or fluffy globe tops, they can easily overtake the grass in your lawn and the surrounding flowers in your garden. The broadleaf weed will drink up water and nutrients that are needed by your grass and flowers.
Getting dandelions under control is helpful for the long-term growth of your yard, but it can be quite difficult as their fluffy seeds can easily float far throughout your property. Being patient and persistent will be key for you to rid your property of dandelions.
There are a few methods to manage dandelions and it’s important to understand that none of them are truly permanent. Dandelion seeds can travel miles with the help of wind. So, even when you think the problem is solved forever, new dandelions may have taken root on your property. Knowing how to kill or remove them when you first see them will preserve your lawn and garden.
A pre-emergent is a chemical that prevents seeds from germinating. It should be applied your lawn or flower bed in late winter for dandelion control, as it’s only effective if used before dandelion seeds have had a chance to germinate. So now that you realize you’ve missed the boat on that, consider your other options.
A selective broadleaf herbicide will only kill broadleaf weeds – including dandelions – without killing your grass. This makes a broadleaf herbicide the ideal choice for ridding dandelions in lawns.
Non-selective herbicide will kill any plant that it comes in contact with – including your grass. “Round-up” and similar herbicide products (made of glyphosate), is the most common type of this kind of herbicide which is ideal for spot dandelion removal (in a patio, walkway, garden bed).
Herbicides of any kind will work best if applied prior to the flower developing. Once a dandelion has flowered, it’s far more resistant to herbicides.
The most effective option for controlling dandelions is to pull them out by hand. Of course, this is also the most time-consuming method. This should be done right when the first dandelions appear in spring. Using gloves with rubber fingers or special tools like “dandelion pullers” can be helpful with digging up weeds by hand, as you must remove the entire taproot of the dandelion (and the can be big and deep!).
Whichever method(s) you choose for minimizing dandelions on your property, just remember that the best thing you can continue to do is prevent the dandelions from going to seed. Once those fluffy globe heads filled with seeds appear, the amount of dandelions you’ll be fighting will only multiply.
Rodrigo Dos Anjos