A perennial plant with broad leaves that grows in any type of soil with full sunlight is the Dandelion. During the early spring season, new sprouts emerge from the taproot which is around 2 to 3 feet in depth in the soil. Dandelions produce yellow flowers that grow and mature turning into white puffballs which contains numerous seeds. These seeds spread to other lawns by floating in the wind. These plants usually disappear during the fall season but the taproot survives as it is embedded deep in the soil and starts the whole cycle again in spring. Dandelions do have benefits as they are used in herbal medicine and the young leaves are eaten for its nutritive value. However they are considered to be weeds by most people and the root must be killed to keep them out of the yard. Controlling or eradicating dandelions from your yard can be a big job and it can also become an obsession with some homeowners.
The best way to keep dandelions out of the yard is to kill the main root which is the taproot and then prevent new weeds from entering and establishing themselves inside. You can use chemical preparations to kill the weeds like a Weed-B-Bone which is a selective herbicide that targets only broad leaf weeds and not your grass. This herbicide is available at all lawn and garden stores and come in concentrated forms. You need to mix the chemical with water and always follow label directions carefully before attempting to use it. You can take hand sprayer bottles and pre-mix the chemicals to be sprayed on leaves until its wet. The chemical is rain proof after it dries in a couple of hours.
A lawn with thick green grass is also effective in keeping out dandelions. You can mow the lawn at the highest setting and follow a feeding program that encourages good grass growth which is thick in texture and appearance. This will prevent weeds from establishing themselves in your yard in the first place. Fall season is also the best time of year to control dandelions as the plant goes dormant during this time. The sap runs from the leaves into the root which will encourage the weeds to grow next season, so you should spray the leaves with pesticide. This will carry it down to the root and cause a more complete kill.
If you would like to go organic, try using vinegar also known as acetic acid for controlling and preventing dandelions. The concentration of the mixture should be really high so that it will be a strong contender as an herbicide. Vinegar sold in grocery stores are 5% acidic but they can be strengthened by boiling it down to a higher concentration level. When there is no forecast of rain in your area, you can spray the plant and leaves until it is wet. If you plant to spray any chemicals on the dandelions, make sure that you don’t mow the lawn for a few days. A large leaf surface is required for effective spraying and mowing the lawn will only cause the leaf surface to reduce. To help you locate the weeds, the yellow flowers serve as good tags, but just make sure you get the plant before they go to seed. Salt is another organic material used to get rid of dandelions. A good teaspoonful of salt sprinkled at the base of each plant will work well to kill them. It may take some time to work but after a few reapplications, the salt kills the plants, root and all.
Another safe and organic way to eradicate the dandelions is to simply dig them out. There are garden tools to help in effectively digging out the dandelions from the roots. But one main disadvantage is that the plant has a long taproot, so if a part of it is left behind or broken while digging, it will regenerate in due time.
Maintaining lawn health is the right method to effectively control dandelions. If it is managed properly, your lawn can combat the presence of weeds and also prevent the laborious task of complete dandelion removal.