How to kill dandelions naturally without killing the grass

Written by stephanie green
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How to kill dandelions naturally without killing the grass
Dandelions are a common weed problem in many lawns. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

A sure and welcome sign of spring is the return of green lawns. A not-so-welcome sign is the dandelions that invade so many turfs. Gardeners need not fret, nor reach for the closest bag of herbicide. Instead, natural methods are available for dealing with the weeds without doing damage to your lawn.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Dandelion fork
  • Aerator
  • Horticultural vinegar
  • Corn gluten
  • Cardboard or dark-coloured plastic
  • Compost, bark mulch or grass clippings
  • Flame weeder
  • Lawnmower

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  1. 1

    Pull the weeds by hand with a specialised tool. Insert a dandelion fork into the ground to pull up the weed's nutrient-rich roots, or use an aerator, which also removes the entire weed. Cover the centre of the weed with the aerator's prongs, twist your wrist and lift the entire weed structure from the ground.

  2. 2

    Drench the weed with horticultural vinegar. Remove by hand in two to three days.

  3. 3

    Use corn gluten as a pre-emergent herbicide on well-established lawns. Apply it in the spring, according to the label's directions, about four to six weeks before the weeds sprout. Repeat the application in the fall.

  4. 4

    Cover large areas of dandelions with cardboard or a dark-coloured plastic and the weigh down with either compost, bark mulch or grass clippings to avoid the weeds from getting the light needed to continue their developmental process.

  5. 5

    Use a flame weeder, a torch designed specifically for the removal of dandelion weeds, by removing the yellow bud and perennial root with intense heat.

  6. 6

    Keep your lawn mowed at a height of at least 2.5 inches; a higher cut grass will provide shade that will prevent dandelion seeds from germinating.

Tips and warnings

  • When using horticultural vinegar, limit its use to sidewalks and driveways, where it may be growing through cracks. Otherwise, the natural herbicidal will damage a lawn.

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