How to Kill Dandelion Weeds

Written by emma watkins
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How to Kill Dandelion Weeds
Dandelions attract beneficial insects. (George Marks/Retrofile/Getty Images)

Dandelions are considered a weed because they're invasive and resilient. But their weedy status isn't linked to any harm they cause. On the contrary, dandelions are magnets for beneficial insects; their long roots create space for air to circulate underground; and decomposing dandelions add nutrients to the soil. Besides, dandelions are a home remedy for liver problems and other ailments. But if you really don't like the yellow pom-poms dotting your lawn, begin by killing them using the least toxic methods, for your health's sake.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Grass seeds
  • Lawnmower
  • Potassium-free fertiliser
  • Dandelion fork
  • Boiling water
  • Shears
  • Granular corn gluten meal
  • Spray bottle
  • Vinegar
  • 2,4-D herbicide
  • Cardboard

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  1. 1

    Crowd out dandelion seedlings by over-seeding your lawn and mowing it to the tallest height recommended for your grass species.

  2. 2

    Apply fertilising formulas that don't include potassium, as this nutrient promotes dandelion growth.

  3. 3

    Broadcast granular corn gluten meal over the lawn in early spring. Apply this nontoxic pre-emergent herbicide with a seed spreader to kill dandelion seeds before they have a chance to germinate.

  4. 4

    Irrigate your lawn or wait until a rainy day to pull dandelions while the soil is still moist and soft. Reach into the ground with a dandelion fork and uproot the weed. Perform this step while the plants are still young and their roots undeveloped.

  5. 5

    Pour boiling water directly on the dandelion plant to kill it. The hot water will also destroy everything else it touches, making it almost certain you'll have to reseed your lawn in the immediate area.

  6. 6

    Prune dandelion plants with shears to a height lower than the lawn. Remove the leaves and cut the stem close to the soil line to keep the plant from getting nourishment, which kills the roots in the long run.

  7. 7

    Fill a spray bottle with vinegar and take it out to the lawn. Spray the vinegar directly on the dandelion plant. Reseed the area, as the vinegar will also kill any grass it lands on.

  8. 8

    Apply a synthetic herbicide as a last resort. Irrigate the area where you have dandelions so the weeds are moist prior to application. Spray each dandelion plant directly with a 2,4-D herbicide. Shield ornamental plants nearby with a piece of cardboard to prevent the toxic mist from touching them.

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