As children, we associate the white, fluffy seeds of dandelions with wishes waiting to be fulfilled with one powerful puff of breath. As adults, however, those white puffballs scattering on the wind become the stuff of nightmares. Instead, you’re left wondering how to kill dandelions in your lawn and whether you’ll truly ever be rid of them for good.
While killing dandelions in lawn without killing grass seems like an impossibility at times, especially once those fluffy white seed heads begin to sprout, there are numerous measures you can take to stop the spread of these yellow flowers before they completely overtake your yard. The best way to kill dandelions is to know that it’s more than a quick-fix solution.
Getting rid of these lawn weeds takes time, and multiple techniques before you’ve eradicated all the dandelion seeds from your yard once and for all. The good news is, we have everything you need to get started right here. So, grab a small shovel and some gardening supplies, and get ready to dig right in.
Killing Dandelions in Lawn without Killing Grass
Dandelions are a perennial weed from the Taraxacum family of plants. They are a broadleaf weed, which means they develop leaves similar to flowers that separate them from their more difficult to discern counterparts, grassy weeds. Knowing the types of plants you’re dealing with is especially important when it comes to finding the perfect strategy for dealing with them in your yard.
Pull Weeds by Hand
One of the most effective ways for how to get rid of dandelions without harming any of the surrounding plants is to pull them by hand. While this may seem like a genuinely taxing task to undertake, it is one of the most effective weed removal methods when it comes to eliminating dandelions from your yard.
To get rid of dandelions permanently, start by spraying the soil around the dandelion weed with water to loosen up the earth around the roots. Using your spade or shovel, make small perforations in the ground surrounding the dandelion roots to make it easier to pry them free.
If you don’t have a shovel, even a screwdriver or small hand rake will do the trick. The best time of year to use this weed control technique and to get the greatest success is in the early spring when the plant is still young and underdeveloped.
Pulling by hand is also what kills poison ivy the fastest. However, be sure to wear protective clothing on your body, and especially your hands, to prevent the allergens in the plant from touching your skin.
Broadleaf Herbicides: Best Way to Kill Dandelions
When it comes to using a chemical herbicide on weeds, the best dandelion killer spray for lawns is a broadleaf herbicide. Using an herbicide specifically designed for broadleaf weeds allows you to spray areas of your yard without worrying about killing your grass.
Popular name brands like Roundup have a separate product from their weed and grass formulas, which are much more selective in the types of weeds they target than the all-encompassing plant killer of their more traditional herbicides.
The best time to use a broadleaf weed killer on dandelions is in the early fall. At this point in the year, the weeds are storing nutrients and food in their roots and stem to help them survive the winter. Having all those nutrients concentrated in a small area allows the herbicide to efficiently kill the plant by eliminating its food source in a few easy sprays.
Spray Surrounding Areas Carefully and Correctly
During dandelion removal, you may not be able to extract all of the taproot, especially in fully developed weeds that have had time to form deeper, more elaborate root systems. Because of this, using a combination of hand pulling and herbicides is recommended for most dandelion outbreaks.
Pouring an herbicide down the open hole after weeding will kill whatever’s left of the root in the soil. When killing dandelions with herbicides, ensure you’re being careful of surrounding areas. Don’t spray on windy days, as this may transport the herbicides to other areas of the flowerbed and kill off plants you want in your garden, versus those that you don’t.
Don’t use too many applications of herbicide either. In most cases, over-spraying damages the soil and drains it of many of the nutrients needed for other plants and grasses to survive. Weed killers should only be used about once a week to prevent these issues from occurring.
Use Boiling Water as Natural Weed Killer
One of the best home remedies for killing dandelion weeds or to get rid of moss in your lawn is to use boiling water. This natural weed killer requires minimal prep work and no added chemicals to kill dandelions and other weeds down to the roots.
Start by pouring the pot of boiling water over the whole plant, including dandelion leaves, flowers, and down around the soil to ensure it soaks down into the roots. You should notice the results within four hours. Once the flower has turned brown and dried up, it’ll be even easier to pull the entire plant, including the roots, from the soil.
While fantastic at getting rid of unwanted plants, this method will also kill any plants it touches, including grass, so be careful when using it. The best way to use this technique without harming other plants is to pour it over dandelions that are a safe enough distance away from other plants in your garden.
It is also the perfect dandelion killer, a way to kill grass naturally that is growing in gravel areas or to use on plants growing in concrete or between pavers. This method is also an excellent way to get rid of unwanted ant piles that may be scattered throughout the yard.
Killing Dandelions in Lawn without Killing Grass
One of the most effective strategies to banish weeds from your yard and to kill clover in the lawn naturally is to maintain the quality of your grass. If you think your weeder is the only tool to help you keep weeds at bay when it comes down to lawn care, think again.
Your lawnmower is another powerful tool that keeps weeds under control by helping your grass to thrive. The main idea to keep in mind when mowing your lawn is to mow high, usually at about three inches to allow the grass to cover more ground, absorb more sunlight, and grow in even stronger than if you cut it too short.
You should also toss in some weed & feed, especially if you think your lawn is deficient in nutrients. A healthier lawn is more equipped to take on weeds and keep them out of your yard year-round.
Prevent Future Weeds with Pre-Emergent Herbicides
Another critical step for maintaining dandelion control in lawns is to prevent future outbreaks with a pre-emergent herbicide. These pre-emergents, usually corn gluten meal, stop new plants from growing before they start and keep your lawn healthier even longer.
The best time of the year to use a pre-emergent on dandelions is in late winter before the weed seeds have begun to develop and grow into plants. These pre-emergent herbicides are safe to use on most grasses and in garden beds with ornamental or already-established plants.
How to Kill Dandelions in Your Lawn with Vinegar
Another method you may want to take when getting rid of weeds is using a dandelion killer like vinegar. The acetic acid found in vinegar is a great way to kill crabgrass naturally, as the younger, less developed annuals are more susceptible to the acid.
However, vinegar also works on perennial weeds like dandelions, especially to stop the spread of weed seeds before extracting the plant roots from the soil. Target plants individually or in groups, as needed.
When killing dandelions in your lawn with vinegar, use a spray bottle to soak the flower in vinegar. In most cases, the plant will brown and wither within a day, especially if you choose a particularly hot time of the afternoon to spray them.
Spraying them with vinegar will not kill the plant down to the root but will kill the dandelion flowers and seed heads, making it easier to extract them later. Keep in mind that spraying other plants in the area will also cause them harm.
One of the best ways to use vinegar without killing surrounding grass or plants is by hand-pulling the weeds first, then pouring pure vinegar down into the hole left behind afterward. Doing this will kill the taproot, especially in older plants that have grown too deep down into the soil for you to reach by hand.
Final Advice on How to Kill Dandelions in Your Lawn
Now that you know how to expel dandelions from your yard, it’s time to take additional measures to ensure it stays free of these weeds. While these methods eliminate the plants you already have in your yard, we know of some extra help you’ll need to prevent future problems.
What other measures can I take to prevent dandelion plants from spreading?
Now that you’ve gotten rid of those annoying dandelions, how do you keep them out of your yard moving forward? There are several steps you can take to keep your lawns and flower beds free of weeds. The first method is mulching, whether with grass or mulch chips.
If you want to do an all-over spread, a mulching mower leaves the grass clippings across your lawn after mowing. Otherwise, for flower beds, adding a few inches of regular mulch keeps weeds from growing near your prized plants.
Landscape fabric is another excellent way to prevent weeds from growing in the first place, especially when it comes to plants like dandelions. Their taproots may be left behind in the soil when weeding, so you want to prevent new plants from breaking through the surface. The fabric will prevent the weeds from poking through to the surface and shields them from receiving sunlight.
With these helpful tips, you are well on your way to a weed-free and healthy lawn. All that’s left now is to roll up your sleeves, toss on gardening gloves, and get to work. In no time, you’ll have the lawn of your dreams once again, and those misleading little puffballs will be a thing of the past.
We hope you’ve enjoyed learning about the best way to kill dandelions in your yard. If you found these dandelion control tips helpful, then please remember to share how to kill dandelions in your lawn with friends and family on Facebook and Pinterest.