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How to Get Rid of Dandelions

NDSU Extension Service horticulturist Ron Smith provides some options for getting rid of dandelions.

Dandelion CloseupWhat has bright yellow flowers, is loved by little kids, and hated by adults? Dandelions, of course! They are coming into full bloom this week, and depending on the daily temperatures, will go into seed that is easily air-borne in about 10-14 days.

If unwanted, as most are, especially in lawns, the question arises, what can I do to get rid of them? Here are some options, starting with the least favorite:

  1. Dig them out – with all  the root – if possible. If as much as 95-98% of the root can be extracted, chances are that dandelion will not return. Garden center or garden supply stores will have tools that make this task easier and more successful.
  2. If digging is unappealing, then pick up an RTU broadleaf herbicide that can be applied directly from the bottle with a sprayer that comes with the purchase. Wet the foliage only; no need to soak the plant. Within 24 hours or less, the effect of the herbicide will be evident, with the flower stem becoming curled and twisted.

This will usually result in the death of the plant. If not, revisit in a couple of weeks to administer another shot of herbicide.

Maintain the lawn properly to help prevent re-invasion from neighboring lots and properties: mow high 2.5” to 3”, fertilize during active growth at least twice a season – spring and fall - and water deeply and infrequently to encourage a deep root system.

(Photo courtesy code poet)

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