The not-so dandy Dandelion
Dandelions – as children, we loved their vibrant yellow color, and their fuzzy “make a wish” seed heads! Who knew they would one day be THE ENEMY - one of the most common and hated weeds?! Now the yellow flowers bring negative attention to lawns in the spring and fall, and when the flowers and the seeds blow in the wind it looks even worse. And don’t bother trying to pull them – you will come up with a handful of leaves, leaving the long tap root in tact to grow new lawn-lions. Fortunately there are good controls to keep your yard free of dandelions.
For dandelions in your lawn, selective weed killers like Bonide’s Weed Beater or Ortho Weed-B-Gone can be used without harming your grass. These products will enter into the weed and kill it root and all.
Dandelions infesting planting beds, patios, driveways or walkways can be controlled with non-selective weed killers like Bonide’s Kleen-up. This type of weed killer also kills to the root. The active ingredient, glyphosate, enters the weed through the leaves and does not contaminate the soils. Non-selective herbicides should not be applied to desirable plants.
Using proper lawn maintenance also helps to reduce the amount of dandelions and other weeds in the lawn. A healthy lawn competes for nutrients and water better than a weak lawn. Some helpful hints include:
1. Set your mower a little higher and mow often
2. Fertilize when the grass is growing (early spring and fall)
3. Water deep rather than often
4. Over-seed bare areas