Dandelions 101

by | Apr 3, 2019 | Lawn Care

Does your lawn have a dandelion  problem?  You’re not alone.  If you want to know how to get rid of them and also prevent them from coming back this article is for you and it isn’t as hard as you’d think.
Dandelion (taraxacum officinale) is a broad-leaf weed sometimes also referred to as monk’s head, lion’s head, or puffball.  It was believed to have been brought to America from Europe by the early settlers.  They are pretty easy to identify.  A green,  jagged edged leaf with a base which holds one or multiple stems leading to a bright yellow flower which when triggered turns white with many seeds.  Wind is the primary source of seed spreading A single plant can seed new plants up to 300 feet away.

Step 1: Get Rid of the Current Invasion
Whether you have one dandelion or many the first item of business is to get rid of them.  Any dandelion in your yard is almost guaranteed to seed others.  The best way to get rid of a dandelion is to remove it with the complete root.  This can easily be done with a flat head screw driving or two pronged garden weeding tool.  Be sure to get the whole root or the plant will grow right back.  If you have a few plants this may be feasible but if you have more plants than you can count this might not be the option for you.  As a more economic and efficient choice you should probably look at a selective herbicide spray.  We recommend Mec-Amine D or a 2,4-D Amine.  These can be purchased over the counter at any home and garden store and easily mixed with water in a small pump sprayer.  We recommend buying a small bottle of dye to put in your sprayer as well as it makes it much easier to see where you have sprayed so you don’t have overlap or miss dandelions.  It is best to spray at least two days after the last mowing and to not mow for at least two days after spraying.  Continue this process with proper watering, regular mowing (at least weekly) until you see the dandelions clearing up.

Step 2: Strengthen Your Roots
Once you have begun to make progress you can move to the next step of preventing new dandelions.  (However, never leave step 1 completely, if you see any new plants be sure to get rid of them ASAP!)  At this point your lawn is benefiting greatly from your TLC, keep it up.  Regular and proper watering with mowing every 5 to 7 days will help your lawn to thicken up and naturally protect against weed invasion.  Check your watering depth with a screw driver after watering to be sure you are getting water at least 5 inches into the soil.  Use a mulching mower to add organic material back to your lawn.

Step 3: Create a Barrier
This isn’t a plastic or cloth barrier like you would see in a rock bed but rather a chemical pre-emergent barrier that will protect your lawn from new seeds sprouting.  There are many products on the market claiming to do this, however we have found that they aren’t all the same.  Your national products found at Wal-Mart or Home Depot don’t have the quality that we have found at smaller specialized stores such as IFA.  Our favorite product to use is the brand Cavalcade.  It is generally applied as a granular and is often included in premium fertilizers.  Once it is applied and watered in it will create this barrier.  The barrier will break down over time, but avoiding heavy traffic, aeration or other heavy physical impacts will help it last longer.  You should aerate and power rake before creating this barrier.

Step 4: Enjoy Your Lawn
Even with perfect application of these steps you will most likely still see a dandelion or two pop up.  Remove them before they seed and it won’t take more than 5 minutes a week.  If you see that they are popping up in greater quantities your barrier could be breaking down and it would be time to re-apply.  Regular fertilizers, proper and frequent mowing with proper watering will always be keys to maintaining a healthy and weed free lawn.

Feel free to contact us with any questions.  We provide all of these services if you are interested in having them done but not in doing them yourself.  Thanks for reading our blog, please feel free to share this post or pass on any info you gained from reading.