One of the hardest and toughest weeds to get rid of is the dandelion, especially if you are planning to use an organic dandelion killer for lawn care. So now you are at a crossroad; you do not want to use any lawn chemicals because you are aware of all the possible dangers which can occur with the use of chemically-based dandelion killers.
However, you, like so many do not like to see dandelions in your lawn and want your landscape to be well kept. The truth of the matter is getting rid of dandelions in your garden using chemicals is much easier; but although choosing to use a chemically based dandelion control method could provide you with an easier route, it is generally not good for the soil or the inhabitants.
First Look at the Dandelion
Dandelions are known as perennial broad-leaved weeds and will generally come back each year, often appearing during the early spring months and lasting until the arrival of the first cold weather in fall.
Dandelions reproduce from seed and also their long deeply buried fleshy taproot which can go as much as up to 25 cm below the surface of the soil which accounts for their difficulty in getting rid of them. Because this taproot is so brittle, it is easily broken whenever you are trying to pull out the dandelion, allowing the weed to grow right back.
How to Kill Dandelion Weeds using Organic Dandelion Killers for Lawns
The main problem when using most organic dandelion killers is that they rarely finish the job of completely getting rid of your dandelion weeds.
Nonetheless, controlling dandelions using an organic dandelion killer for your lawn can be done, but requires a lot more attention than merely dumping some broadleaf herbicide on it or using a dandelion spray killer.
Most of the organic dandelion control methods used to kill dandelions kill only what they come into contact with.
This generally makes the process more difficult as the organic dandelion killer does not move systematically through the tissues of the weed and down to the roots to kill them as seen with chemically based dandelion control methods.
Instead, many of the organic dandelion killers are known to just burn off the top foliage of the dandelion, leaving the taproot intact, allowing the weed to grow back. So basically, what you often end up having to do is to continually kill the top growth of the dandelion until the weed has exhausted the energy within the taproot, resulting in the complete breakdown of the dandelion.
Dandelion Control Using Chemicals
On the other hand, most chemical herbicides such as dandelion spray killers used today in the control of weeds are specifically engineered for broad-leaved weeds such as the dandelion and when sprayed on the surface of the weed leaf will eventually transfer from the leaves down to the taproot, killing the dandelion entirely.
Having said this, although it is easy, you should also bear in mind the long term repercussions that most of these known dandelion spray killers will eventually have on your landscape soil and soil inhabitants. So, my advice – resist the temptation of ease as I am about to share the perfect organic dandelion killer recipe just for you.
The Organic Dandelion Killer Recipe
Step .1 Make the Decision
– The first major decision you will need to make is to decide just how many dandelions you are willing to tolerate in your lovely garden space. Try to pick a realistic number. Remember even if you are successfully able to kill all the dandelions in your garden, chances are the wind will inevitably blow more seeds in.
– Dandelions are known to reseed themselves quite easily, however, the good news is, new dandelions which may have found themselves in your garden would not be able to take a foot-hold provided you have a pre-emergent dandelion control method.
If you have not got a pre-emergent dandelion control method in place do not worry, just pull them out while they are young, at about two weeks or younger. This way the taproots would not have been able to bury itself deep into the soil yet.
Step .2 Get Yourself into a Dandelion “Maintenance” Mode Timing is Key
– Choosing the right time for dandelion control can be really helpful. Notably, the best time to kill dandelions is during the early fall. Although the leaves of the dandelion will die during the winter months, the plant will transfer the necessary nutrients from the soil to their roots to ensure their survival during the winter.
It is on this basis you are presented with the ideal chance of killing your dandelions when they are at their weakest before they are able to get the much-needed nutrients.
Step .3 Throw out The Old Dandelion Killing Ideas That Would Not Work
– Keeping a Healthy Lawn – Contrary to most beliefs, maintaining a healthy lawn does not smother out dandelions. In fact, I have often witnessed in a healthy and lush lawn, the dandelions just getting healthier and bigger, creating an even bigger problem.
– Mulching – Although mulching works perfectly with annual weeds, to smother perennial weeds such as the dandelion it is rarely effective due to the tendency of the weed to grow from seeds or roots left in the soil.
– Dandelion Spray or Flame Killers – Most of the dandelion organic spray and flame killers known for killing weeds using heat will only succeed in killing the top growth and not the taproot and as such, are hardly an effective dandelion control method.
– Notably, most contact weed killers will require the dandelion to be sprayed 2-3 times before you are able to notice any difference. Not to mention that many of these dandelion spray killers are non-selective and can be fatal to the growth of your grass, and flowers in your garden.
So Where Does It Leave You, You Ask?
Well, the answer is quite a simple one. We are now left with the three most effective dandelion control methods to kill dandelions naturally:
By Hand Pulling – One of the best ways to get rid of dandelions is by hand pulling the entire plant from the root. The best time to hand-pull your dandelions is when they are about 2-3 weeks old and have not fully established their roots in the ground. One rule of the thumb – I suggest hand pulling dandelions when the soil is wet as this improves your chances of getting the entire root.
By Using Vinegar – Recent studies have shown that vinegar or acetic acid at the correct strength works quite well as a method of dandelion control and does not remain in the soil to create water or soil pollution. The recommended strength for vinegar is at least 20 -25 percent acidity which is found in the vinegar product known as natural Horticulture Vinegar.
By Pre-emergent Control – Remember earlier we discussed pre-emergent control as a method of dandelion control. In case you are still wondering what I meant, let me explain. Pre-emergent dandelion control involves the use of corn gluten meal or any other similar product known for containing corn gluten as an effective organic and natural method against reseeding of dandelion weeds.
If you have read through this entire article, your question of “How do I get rid of those pesky dandelions in my garden?” is actually not that hard to answer. Now you have the perfect organic dandelion recipe to fight back and enjoy the beauty of your garden and landscape.
Dandelions drive me crazy! I won’t use the chemical sprays, so I always hand-pull them with the help of a dandelion puller tool (which takes forever). I hadn’t heard of corn gluten meal for pre-emergent control. I’ll try that – thanks for the tip!