The snow is melting and we are finally starting to see our lawns. It seems like the first thing we see in our lawns every Spring is the yellow flower of the dandelion. Many people add dandelions to their salads or cook them like spinach since they contain a lot of vitamins A and C and are high in beta carotenes. If you are not one of those people who enjoy eating dandelions, you probably do not want them on your lawn.
Dandelions are a very hardy plant. One dandelion can make up to 15,000 seeds. Those seeds can survive for as many as six years in the soil. That makes them a difficult weed to get rid of. Adding to the problem is that dandelions have very deep roots. That makes them hard to pull out by hand. If you do not get the entire root when you pull the plant it will come right back waving its little yellow flag as if to say” Ha, ha you missed me”! So, how do you get rid of them?
One thing you can do is to mow your lawn before the dandelions bloom and their yellow blossoms mature into seeds. You should also leave the grass clippings on your lawn. They will act as mulch and help prevent the dandelion seeds from germinating . You can also use a dandelion digger to get them out by their roots. This is, of course, is back breaking work and is very cumbersome. If you have dandelions in a large area you can smother them by covering them with plastic, cardboard, etc. You can use anything that will keep them from getting any sunlight. This method is called sheet mulching.
One of the best things you can do to keep your lawn free of dandelions is to keep your grass as dense as possible. Dense grass crowds out weeds and blocks the sunlight their seeds need to germinate. Therefore, it is important to seed any bare spots in your lawn as soon as possible before the dandelions get a chance to take hold.
So what do you do with the pesky dandelions that survive despite your best effort? Regular table salt will kill them. Once you pull them, just put a tablespoon of salt in the hole. You just need to be careful not to get the salt on any neighboring plants as it may kill them as well. Boiling water will have the same effect on the dandelions, but will not harm the soil.
Another thing that will help you get rid of dandelions is vinegar. Once you pull them, just spray vinegar in the hole. It will kill the root. Regular white vinegar does work. However, if you boil the vinegar it will work better. Boiling the vinegar increases the concentration of acetic acid. Since vinegar does not stay in the soil, it is a safe way to kill the weeds. You will need to re-apply it in spots.
Once you successfully get rid of the dandelions on your lawn, spread corn gluten meal on it. It will keep the roots of weeds from forming during seed germination. If the root cannot grow, neither can the plant. Corn gluten meal is a natural herbicide that will not harm animals, people or your yard. The nitrogen in it is also good for your lawn. You will need to apply it every five weeks or so.
If all else fails, you can use a weed burn torch to get rid of the dandelions. You will need to be careful with it so that you do not burn up your lawn or garden. Never use this during a drought or you may start a major fire.