Dandelion flowers are deceitful yellow flowers that look striking while in bloom. That is until they turn into puffballs of dandelion seeds waiting to take over the world, or at least your yard. We’ll show you how to get rid of dandelions from your yard using both standard and natural methods.
As children, dandelions were a delightful flower that had many purposes. They could be tied together to make a bright yellow necklace when in bloom and gently blown upon to send a flurry of fluffy white seeds on the wind after they went to seed. While these yellow backyard treasures are a favorite among children, they can be a nuisance to us as adults.
- How to Kill Dandelions
- 1. Prevent Dandelions in the Yard
- 2. Best Way to Get Rid of Dandelions
- 3. Make a Dandelion Eliminator Spray
- 4. Getting Rid of Dandelions for Good
- 5. Get Rid of Dandelions with Soap
- 6. Keep Dandelions from Coming Back
- 7. Kill Dandelions with Boiling Water
- 8. Get Rid of Dandelions with Salt
- 9. Killing Dandelions with Broadleaf Herbicide Spray
- 10. Kill Dandelions with Broadleaf Herbicide Granules
- 11. Fight Dandelions with Acetic Acid
- 12. Using a Weed Puller to Remove Dandelions
- 13. Killing Dandelions Using Rubbing Alcohol
- 14. Getting Rid of Dandelions with Acids
- 15. Eliminating Dandelions Using Baking Soda
- 16. Control Weeds with Mulch
- 17. Controlling Dandelions by Harvesting
How to Kill Dandelions
Pulling the flower heads off dandelions or mowing them down does not eradicate the dandelion plant. The taproot of the dandelion can be quite problematic to remove.
They grow to approximately ten inches in length below the ground and have a brittle texture that makes them difficult to remove without snapping. In the following sections, we’ll show you how to prevent dandelions from growing in your yard, and eradicate existing dandelions.
1. Prevent Dandelions in the Yard
Preventing dandelions from growing in your yard by performing the right lawn care will save you more work in the future.
The best way to prevent dandelions and other weeds from growing in your yard is to have a thick, lush, healthy lawn. Dandelion weeds cannot take root if there is no space left for them to grow. Begin by improving the soil by adding lime and other soil amendments to balance the pH of the ground.
Routinely overseed your lawn to fill in any gaps in the grass. Regularly fertilize your lawn throughout the growing season. Water your yard weekly so that it gets an inch of water per week.
Mow your grass when it needs it, not on a schedule. Make sure that the blades are sharp and that you mow the lawn to one-third its height to prevent stress.
2. Best Way to Get Rid of Dandelions
The best way to get rid of dandelions and other weeds in your lawn is to perform a routine weed and feed. Doing this only eliminates weeds such as dandelions but feeds your lawn and promotes healthy growth.
Weed & Feed
The best time of the year to apply weed & feed to your lawn are in the early spring and early fall. Make sure that you mow your lawn a couple of days beforehand and that it is not going to rain within 24 hours after application.
Begin by wetting the lawn with a sprinkler. Pour the weed and feed into a spreader and follow the settings on your particular dandelion weed and feed brand. Walk linear passes along the lawn while the spreader disburses the product. Make sure that you walk evenly in overlapping lines through the yard to ensure the best coverage.
3. Make a Dandelion Eliminator Spray
Many commercial herbicides such as Roundup are harmful to the environment. You can make a dandelion spray that will not kill grass and uses natural ingredients. Use this homemade weed killer with vinegar to get rid of dandelions and numerous other types of weeds around your property.
Mix the salt and vinegar and pour the solution into a spray bottle or garden sprayer. Make sure to label the container for future use.
Set the sprayer to stream and spray the solution directly onto the flower head of the dandelion to prevent the grass from coming into contact with the sprayer solution. Spraying this way is imperative for getting rid of weeds without killing grass or other wanted plants nearby.
This mixture also works well for weeds that pop up between pavers, in gravel driveways and in other areas where pesky weeds like to grow.
4. Getting Rid of Dandelions for Good
If you’re tired of repeating the same dandelion removal process year after year, you may have to get out the big guns and dig out the entire plant. The following steps work wonders at getting rid of dandelions for good.
Begin by digging out the dandelion. First, water the area around the dandelion to soften the soil. Use the weed knife or spade to push down into the ground at three places around the base of the weed. Use the shovel to wiggle around beneath the roots as you gently tug at the plant.
Pull as much of the plant and entire root as possible from the ground. To prevent a new plant from growing out of any leftover taproot, you’ll need to kill whatever may be left behind. Apply natural herbicide into the hole in the ground, being careful to avoid nearby plants and grass.
Now that you have a small hole in your yard, you need to fill it. To prevent any new seeds from floating in and taking root into the soft soil, fill the hole with pre-emergent herbicide and soil.
5. Get Rid of Dandelions with Soap
If weeding is not your thing, you can use a spray for dandelion control. Here is a home remedy for killing dandelions utilizing a couple of household items.
Mix ten parts water and one part liquid dish soap into a spray bottle and shake gently. Spray the dandelion weed killing solution onto the entire plant of the weed, making sure to saturate the leaves, flower head, and stem.
This method works best if done on a hot, sunny day and can help as a way to get rid of crabgrass, too. The water evaporates from the weed, leaving behind the sticky residue of the soap, drying the plant out. Sometimes, several applications may be required for stubborn weeds.
6. Keep Dandelions from Coming Back
Once you have removed dandelions from your lawn, you can use a natural application of corn gluten meal to stop any of the leftover taproots from sprouting new dandelions.
Preventing Dandelion Growth
After all weeds are pulled from your lawn, use a spreader to apply corn gluten meal to the grass. Use a rate of 20 pounds per 1,000 feet to spread an even layer of the corn gluten meal. Lightly water the lawn after application to activate the corn gluten meal oils to suppress future weed growth.
7. Kill Dandelions with Boiling Water
If you’d prefer to stay clear of herbicides yet do not want to spend your day pulling weeds, you can try one of the simplest methods for killing dandelions. Boiling water is a natural dandelion weed killer.
Boiling Water Weed Killer
Boil water in a large pot and then carefully pour it into a watering can. Pour the water directly onto the dandelions, including the flower head, stem, leaves, and root area.
The hot water will burn the plant and scald the root system. The taproot of the dandelion may survive the first treatment, so even if the plant looks dead, repeat these steps the next day.
8. Get Rid of Dandelions with Salt
Salt is an excellent choice for killing dandelions, but it can also harm grass. This method is ideal for use in areas without grass such as sidewalk and driveway edges or beneath a deck.
Combine the water and salt in a spray bottle. Spray the weed killer directly onto the dandelions to kill them permanently. This method works better if done in the afternoon on a hot and sunny day and should be done when no rain is expected for 24 hours. Repeat as needed.
9. Killing Dandelions with Broadleaf Herbicide Spray
If you have tried everything else and still cannot get rid of those dandelions, you can try using an herbicide to kill them. These types of herbicides absorb into the leaves of the weed rather than the roots.
An herbicide can also help in getting rid of Japanese Knotweed, although smothering may be even more successful for eliminating this Godzilla-like weed.
Broadleaf Herbicide Dandelion Killer
A broadleaf herbicide spray should not be used on a windy day to prevent the spray from drifting. Try and use the spray when the winds are under five miles-per-hour, and use the spray when the temperature is under 85°F.
Select a spray nozzle with coarse droplets and low spraying pressure and spray the weeds close to the ground. Focus solely on the dandelion weed as you apply enough spray to wet the leaves of the plant.
10. Kill Dandelions with Broadleaf Herbicide Granules
You can also use a granule herbicide rather than a spray to eliminate dandelions from your yard. Just like the spray, herbicide granules absorb into the plant itself rather than the roots.
Broadleaf Herbicide Granules
The weeds need to be wet for the granules to stick to the leaves, so water the area before application. You can also spread the granules first thing in the morning while there is still dew on the grass and weeds.
Do not apply the granules if you expect rain in the next 24 hours. Spread the granules according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Allow three to four days to pass before mowing the lawn.
11. Fight Dandelions with Acetic Acid
White vinegar has a 5% solution of acetic acid and can be used to eliminate dandelions and other lawn weeds. While vinegar is an acid and will lower the pH of the soil in your lawn, this is only temporary.
Fill a spray bottle with vinegar and label it for future use. Don’t spray those broadleaf weeds if you expect rain in the next 24 hours or on windy days. Spray the vinegar onto the plants, making sure that you saturate them without creating runoff. Reapply the spray once every three days until the weeds are dead.
12. Using a Weed Puller to Remove Dandelions
Dandelion taproots are long and continue to grow more dandelions even if a small part of the root is left behind. Use a weed puller to remove all of the taproots, ending the dandelion’s cycle.
Using a Weed Puller
Soak the area that needs weeding the night before to ensure that the weeds are easier to remove. Use a weed puller or hand weeder to remove the dandelion by poking the prong into the dirt near the weed root. Because dandelions have deep roots, go down as deep as possible.
To remove the dandelion, grab the top of the weed with the one hand and pull on the dandelion as you push the handle of the weeder down with the other hand. After removing the dandelion weed, check inside the hole to make sure that all parts of the taproot are gone.
13. Killing Dandelions Using Rubbing Alcohol
For small areas of dandelions such as cracks in the sidewalk or driveway, you can use alcohol. Isopropyl alcohol or rubbing alcohol works well at killing dandelions, crabgrass, and other weeds.
Fill a spray bottle with the rubbing alcohol and water. Make sure that you label the container for safety reasons and future use. On a sunny day, spritz the dandelions so that the solution will soak into the plants and eventually cause them to wither and die.
14. Getting Rid of Dandelions with Acids
The following recipe has a one-two-three punch for killing dandelions. This solution may be harmful to other plants, so make sure that you take precautions while using it.
Mix the vinegar, lemon juice, and dish soap into a spray bottle and label it if you plan on using it again. Spray the solution directly onto the dandelions, making sure that you get them wet enough to be soaked. The dish soap causes the solution to stick to the leaves longer so that the acids in the lemon and vinegar can do their job.
15. Eliminating Dandelions Using Baking Soda
Baking soda is an inexpensive way to eliminate dandelions from around your home. This non-toxic solution works at killing weeds that are growing in those cracks in the pathway, sidewalk, and driveway.
Baking Soda Dandelion Eliminator
Killing dandelions with baking soda works best in the early spring. Use a garden hose to moisten the area where dandelions have congregated. If you are trying to kill dandelions near desirable plants, use about one teaspoon of baking soda per dandelion weed.
Sprinkle the baking soda onto the entire area of the plant so that the flower head, leaves, and stems are coated with white powder. If the dandelions are on their own, feel free to sprinkle a handful of the baking soda onto the weed. Reapply the baking soda in four weeks if there are any returning dandelions.
16. Control Weeds with Mulch
Mulch acts like a barrier to weeds and prevents them access to the light and air that they need to thrive. When planting flower beds, it’s a good idea to use a mulch to stop those weeds from becoming a problem.
Mulch Weed Control
To be most effective, spread the mulch in early spring before weeds sprout. If your garden has existing weeds, those will need to either be pulled or killed with an herbicide before laying mulch.
If spreading mulch for the first time, begin by removing any existing weeds. Rake the area around the desirable plants to pull up and remove any weed seedlings.
Spread two to three inches of mulch into the flower bed. You can also use landscaping fabric to prevent dandelion weeds from growing in gardens.
17. Controlling Dandelions by Harvesting
A great way to manage a yard of dandelions is to harvest them and use them for consumption. The plants are rich in antioxidants, Vitamin A and C, and iron. All parts of the plant are edible, including the leaves, flower heads, and roots. The best time to remove dandelions by way of harvesting is in the early spring.
Water the area before pulling to loosen the soil. Make an incision alongside the dandelion and wiggle to loosen the taproot. Use your hand to gently pull the dandelion and root free from the ground.
After you have removed the dandelions, reseed and water the bare areas. You can wash and dry the roots for making a dandelion tea or wash and trim the leaves fo a salad. The first step in having a lush green yard that is weed-free is to prevent those dandelions from growing in your yard in the first place.
There’s no need to worry if you got a late start in this process, for there are many different ways to eliminate dandelions from around your home and in the yard. These include using store-bought herbicides, a natural weed killer, or removing the dandelions and dandelion roots before those seed heads appear.
You can use your lawn mower to remove dandelions, but this does not stop them from coming back. This is why we’ve shown you how to get rid of dandelions using many different methods, and we hope you’ll share our dandelion control tips with your friends and family on Facebook and Pinterest.