Your lawn looks perfect. Then you spot a dandelion.
Even the most immaculately manicured lawns have bouts with weeds and dandelions. So what do you do when you see one on your lawn, and how do you prevent more from sprouting?
Ways to Kill a Dandelion
The Old-Fashioned Way
It’s easy. You just yank it out of the ground, right? Well, not exactly.
Although angry homeowners often pull dandelions out of the ground, this method often does not kill the weed. In order to truly eradicate your dandelion problem, you must remove the entire taproot. Many stores sell special “dandelion pullers” that can help you hand dig and remove the taproot. Ideally, hand digging should be done in the spring when the first dandelion seedlings appear. This way you can remove the problematic weeds before their seed can spread.
If hand digging sounds like too much work, using an herbicide may be a good idea. There are two primary types of herbicides:
1.) Broadleaf herbicide—this herbicide focuses exclusively on killing broadleaf weeds, like dandelions. Fortunately, it also won’t kill your grass.
2.) Non-selective herbicide—this is the nuclear option. It will kill any plant that it touches. A lot of common store brands are non-selective herbicides.
What if you want to avoid using chemicals, while also saving yourself the hand-wringing work of digging? Try a combination of white vinegar, table salt, and dishwashing liquid. This is DIY method that has been spreading because it’s also effective. Put 1 gallon of 5% household white vinegar into a bucket, then add a cup of table salt. Stir it until the salt is completely dissolved. Then add 1 tablespoon of dishwashing soap and continue stirring. Put this solution in a spray bottle and you’re ready to attack the weeds.
If you don’t want to try that option, there are other organic weed control products on the market that can be helpful without leaving a chemical residue in their wake.
How to Prevent Weeds
The steps above will help you kill weeds. But how do you prevent them from camping out on your lawn in the first place?
To keep your lawn lush and weed-free, you need to focus on the fundamentals. Fertilize your lawn regularly, use a turf builder solution, or explore a crabgrass preventer.
Additionally, you want to make sure your lawn has deeper root growth, so it’s not choked by weeds. You can achieve this by dethatching and aerating your lawn, watering it deeply (but not too frequently) so the grass is inclined to take root in the soil, and mowing at the proper height. Usually, you want to err on the side of mowing at a higher length, 2.5 to 3 inches.
Apply these tips and you’re bound to have a weed-free yard in no time.