Getting Rid of Dandelions and Other Weeds
How to Cultivate the Perfect Lawn
Your lawn looks perfect. Then you spot a dandelion.
Even the most immaculately manicured lawns, mowed with the best lawn mowers, have bouts with weeds and dandelions. So what do you do when you see one on your lawn, and how do you prevent more from sprouting?
Ways to Kill a Dandelion
Once you discover weeds on your lawn, you have three possible ways to approach the situation.
- Pull the weeds by hand
- Spray an herbicide
- Apply an herbicide alternative
Pulling Weeds by Hand
It’s easy. You just yank it out of the ground, right? Well, not exactly.
Although angry homeowners often pull dandelions out of the ground, this method often does not kill the weed. In order to truly eradicate your dandelion problem, you must remove the entire taproot.
Many stores sell special “dandelion pullers” that can help you hand dig and remove the taproot. Ideally, hand digging should be done in the spring when the first dandelion seedlings appear. This way you can remove the problematic weeds before their seed can spread.
Spraying an Herbicide
If hand digging sounds like too much work, using an herbicide may be a good idea. There are two primary types of herbicides:
- Broadleaf herbicide—this herbicide kills broadleaf plants like dandelions. This means that it won't kill your grass, but it could kill other plants growing in your garden or landscape. Use caution with broadleaf herbicides.
- Non-selective herbicide—this is the nuclear option. It will kill any plant that it touches. A lot of common store brands are non-selective herbicides.
Applying an Herbicide Alternative
What if you want to avoid using chemicals while also saving yourself the hand-wringing work of digging?
Try a combination of white vinegar, table salt, and dishwashing liquid. This is a DIY method that has been spreading because it’s so effective:
- Put 1 gallon of 5% household white vinegar into a bucket
- Add a cup of table salt
- Stir until the salt is completely dissolved
- Add 1 tablespoon of dishwashing soap and continue stirring
Put this solution into a spray bottle and you’re ready to attack the weeds.
If you don’t want to try that option, there are other organic weed control products on the market that can be helpful without leaving a chemical residue in their wake.
How to Prevent Weeds
The steps above will help you kill weeds. But how do you prevent them from camping out on your lawn in the first place?
To keep your lawn lush and weed-free, you need to focus on the fundamentals. Fertilize your lawn regularly, use a turf builder solution, or explore a crabgrass preventer.
Additionally, you want to make sure your lawn has deeper root growth, so it’s not choked by weeds. You can achieve this through a few simple tasks:
- Dethatching your lawn
- Aerating your soil
- Watering your grass deeply but not too frequently
- Mowing your lawn at the proper height, usually 2 1/2" to 3"
Apply these tips, and you’re bound to have a weed-free yard in no time.