Close up of a germinated dandelion.

How to Prevent and Control Dandelions in Your Lawn

How to prevent and control dandelions in your lawn.

Dandelion is a common weed in Maryland with tooth-like leaves and yellow flowers around its hollow step. As they mature, they turn into white puffballs that transport seeds in the wind. If dandelions are taking over your yard, you can follow these tips for removing dandelions from your lawn.

Types of Dandelions

Besides the yellow flowers and white puffballs you may see on your lawn, dandelions come in various shapes, colors and sizes. Some varieties of this weed include the following.

  • Common dandelion is the bright yellow dandelion that sprouts up on lawns in Maryland and other parts of the country. You may also notice it along riverbanks and roadsides and in meadows. Even though it’s an invasive weed, it has beneficial medicinal qualities.
  • Red-seeded dandelion has reddish stems and bright yellow flowers. It’s prevalent in northern North America, but it’s native to Europe.
  • Russian dandelion has a grayish tint and thicker leaves than the common dandelion. It’s native to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
  • Japanese white dandelion is a non-aggressive dandelion found in southern Japan. Instead of yellow flowers, it has white ones that attract pollinators such as butterflies.
  • California dandelion is a dandelion with pale yellow flowers and light green foliage. This wildflower is native to California, and it’s an endangered plant threatened by vandalism, urbanization and climate change.
  • Pink dandelion is a dandelion with pastel pink flowers with a yellow center. It’s native to the central Asia high meadows, but pink dandelions also serve as decorative houseplants.

When Should You Remove Dandelions?

The best time to remove dandelions is when the soil is moist. You’ll want to dig up the roots in the spring before they spread. Besides hiring professional lawn care, you can get rid of dandelions by pulling them by hand. Since they spread quickly, you probably should leave them alone if you only have a few dandelions on your property.

You’ll need to remove the whole taproot to prevent the dandelion from creating new plants. You can use a trowel or a long-handled shovel to protect your back. When you remove the dandelion from your lawn, make sure you fill in the bare spots left behind with topsoil to prevent other weeds from taking over your yard. You can fill in large holes with grass seed.

How Dandelions Grow and Spread

Dandelions are invasive weeds that can take over a large area in a short period. Explore how dandelions grow and spread.

How dandelions grow and spread.

How Do Dandelions Grow?

Perennial dandelions grow when the soil temperature is above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. They spread more quickly when the soil temperature is near 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Since these hardy plants can grow in most climates, they flourish all over the United States and in parts of Canada. They’re resistant to drought, diseases, pests and insufficient soil nutrients. As a result, they’re invasive and challenging to remove from your property. Dandelions continue to grow by hugging the ground and evading your mower blade.

Dandelions grow durable, deep taproots that can be as long as a foot and a half. Once you notice their yellow flowers sprout up from the ground, they’ve already established themselves on your lawn. When left alone, dandelions can live for more than a decade. Even though they prefer moist soil and direct sunlight, they can also grow in shady, dry areas once they’ve taken root. They also take over bare spots on your lawn.

How Do Dandelions Spread?

Each dandelion plant makes about 15,000 seeds that spread like parachutes in the wind. These invasive weeds can travel as far as the breeze will take them. Even though dandelion seeds don’t live long in the soil, they don’t get dormant. They can germinate instantly in the same year the plant matures.

How to Remove Dandelions

The best way to get rid of dandelions is to invest in professional lawn care. If you’re in a pinch and want to try something yourself, you can try the following dandelion control methods.

Pull Them by Hand

If you want to pull your dandelions by hand, you’ll need to be persistent. You may have to repeat your efforts for several seasons to eradicate them for good. You also have to make sure you remove the whole plant to prevent the roots from regenerating. Follow these tips for how to pull dandelions.

  • Moisten the soil:

    It’s easier to pull dandelions when the soil is moist. Water the part of the lawn where you have dandelions and wait for the ground to soak up the water.

  • Cut through the area:

    Use a pitchfork or garden spade to dig around the taproot and loosen it from the soil.

  • Pull up the dandelion:

    Take hold of the leaves and pull the weed gently out of the ground until the taproot comes out. If you need to loosen the soil more, dig deeper until you get the taproot.

  • Reseed the area:

    Fill in bare spots by reseeding the area with grass seed.

Spot-Treat the Area With Herbicides

Herbicides should be a last resort when removing dandelions from your lawn because of their danger to the rest of your property. You can try to use post-emergent herbicides and general weed control methods such as burning the area or dousing it with boiling water, but these methods also kill the grass.

Other eco-friendly techniques — such as spraying dandelions with vinegar — may only be effective at getting rid of the foliage, so the roots could create new plants. If you have to use herbicides, it’s best to contact a professional lawn care provider.

How to Control Dandelions in Your Lawn

The most effective way to control dandelions is proper lawn care. Follow these tips to create a lush, healthy lawn.

  • Know your grass type:

    Mow your lawn at the best height for your grass type. Instead of mowing too short, provide shade for the soil with thick grass to prevent dandelions from growing and taking root.

  • Mow when dandelions are in bloom:

    Prevent dandelions from spreading by running your lawn mower before they germinate. Even though it might not stop them from growing, it’ll prohibit them from spreading their seed onto your or your neighbor’s yard.

  • Mulch your garden:

    Prevent dandelions from growing in your garden by applying mulch to a depth of at least a few inches. You can easily pick out the weeds by hand if they grow on the mulch.

  • Test the soil:

    Dandelions favor soil with higher alkaline levels, while lawn grasses prefer neutral soil. Conduct a soil test to measure its pH and adjust it as necessary.

Contact OrganicLawns for Dandelion Control

The best way to control and prevent dandelions is ongoing care from a lawn professional. As a locally owned company, we specialize in managing the weeds in Maryland so you can have a healthy, luscious lawn. Reach out to us online or call 410.536.5800 for more information about our services.

Contact Organic Lawns for dandelion control.

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