Not everyone dislikes dandelions in their garden. In fact, some people actually enjoy them and look for them to use for cooking. Dandelions can be eaten in a number of ways including sautéing the stems in a little garlic and olive oil or using them to make dandelion tea, jelly or soup. Many people even use their stems to add to fresh green salads.
If you are not one of these people, however, and prefer a lawn and garden free from dandelions, read on for some helpful hints on how to best remove them.
There are basically two options for removing dandelions. One of these options, and it is the most effective, is to dig them out. You can dig up the dandelion plant by hand or with a tool but be sure to dig out all of its roots. Remember that dandelions have very deep roots. While this option is most effective, it does put a lot of stress on your back and limbs. Some people find that using a tool to remove the dandelions is easier than using just the hands and there are gardening tools designed specifically for that purpose. The most attractive feature of these tools is their long handles – thus the back saving function of the tool. Some of the tools are also supposed to be good for lifting up the weed after uprooting it, tilling the soil and digging small holes. Whether you decide to use a gardening tool or your hands, it is important that you moisten the area surrounding the dandelion first, as this will make the removal of the roots much easier.
The other option is to use Acetic Acid to remove the dandelions. Vinegar has about a five percent concentration of acetic acid but you can buy stronger concentrations at your local gardening store. These solutions can be used effectively to kill the dandelions in your lawn but you must follow instructions carefully when doing so. When incorrectly applied, acetic acid can kill your lawn as well as the dandelions.
To help prevent the dandelions from growing back, be sure to fill the holes with soil or compost where the dandelions were dug up or killed off, and replace with grass seed. Other measures to take to help prevent dandelions from growing back are mowing your lawn high (never take off more than a one third of the grass blade), mowing it regularly (once a week), and leaving grass cuttings on the grass to help prevent seeds from germinating.
If you are not looking to remove all of the dandelions but only wish to control or limit their growth you can take an alternative approach. Instead of digging up entirely the dandelion flowers and their roots, simply sever the roots about two inches below the surface. Afterwards, you must then water, fertilize, and reseed your lawn. This will help rejuvenate it and make it stronger against future dandelion growth.
Dandelions are a hearty flower and spread out and grow quickly. Once they turn from the bright little yellow flower into the white dandelion seed head, the seeds quickly get carried off by the wind to other parts of your garden and reproduce quickly. The only way to prevent this from happening is regular and proper lawn maintenance.