How to Remove Dandelions

Dandelions on a paved walkway.
  • 1-6 hours
  • Beginner
  • 25-50
What You'll Need
Grass clippings
Gardening gloves
What You'll Need
Grass clippings
Gardening gloves

Everyone loves to have a lush, green, and well-landscaped yard in the spring and summer months, but there's always something that can ruin your aesthetic: weeds. Or, more specifically, dandelions. While these common yard pests are loved by children to blow on and make a wish, their constant presence is nothing short of irritating. Below, learn how to rid your yard of dandelions once and for all to achieve the landscape you’re going for this season.

Why Is Dandelion Removal Challenging?

Since dandelions spread so easily, it can be challenging to get rid of them in your yard. Once they sprout through the ground, seeds from these weeds are carried through the air with the wind, dropping and planting themselves into even the slightest opening in your lawn. Simultaneously, they strike down a taproot underground that can be up to 10 inches long. These roots are thick but brittle, and they are prone to fractures when pulled on. When any taproot fracture exists, it means that the dandelion will regenerate and is not truly gone. So how can we overcome this challenge? Different methods of removal are listed below.

Removing Dandelions by Pulling

Pulling out a dandelion weed from a garden.

As mentioned, this can be a difficult task. However, it’s not impossible. Follow the steps below to successfully pull away dandelions.

Water Your Lawn

First, water your lawn since weeds are most easily extracted from wet soil.

Make an Incision

Next, make an incision into the soil along the side of the taproot. To make it easier, use a spade.

Loosen the Taproot

Using your spade, wiggle it around to loosen the taproot.

Pull the Weed

Do your best to pry up the weed, gaining a solid grip on as many leaves as you can close your hand over and gently tug to see if the taproot is rising upwards. If the root isn’t budging, deepen your incision and repeat the process until the weed is freed.

Removing Dandelions With Herbicides

Herbicide being sprayed on weeds between pavers.

A simpler method of dandelion removal is to use a herbicide. While some are opposed to using chemicals around their yard, you can also opt for a more organic option with vinegar. To use vinegar for this task, you will need to buy a stronger variety than that used for culinary purposes. Then, add it to a spray bottle and spray the dandelions when the weather forecast calls for several days of continuous sunshine.

If you opt to use Roundup or a similar product, apply the herbicide directly onto the leaves of dandelions. Because this herbicide is non-selective, it has the potential to harm your grass, so apply carefully. Alternatively, Weed-B-Gone targets broadleaf weeds and won’t harm grass, which makes it a very popular choice for killing dandelions.

Although you are welcome to apply herbicides at any time of the year to kill these pesky weeds, fall is the best time to do so. This is because fall is the time when nutrients are transferred from the leaves to the roots in preparation for the winter months. Thus, early fall is the perfect opportunity to nip dandelions in the bud.

For at least several days before applying herbicides, refrain from mowing your lawn. Also, take a break from mowing for several days after application.

Dandelion Prevention

The best way to control dandelions in your yard is to prevent them from growing in the first place. Here are several tips to promote lawn health and keep dandelions from sprouting at all.

Use Grass Clippings

Leaving grass clippings on your lawn means that they will act like mulch and prevent weeds from germinating in the first place. This is easy to do and has many associated benefits!

Mow “High”

People have the tendency to want to mow their grass as short as possible to lengthen time between maintenance. However, leaving your grass two to three inches tall will allow it to protect itself and deprive weeds of the sunlight needed for them to prosper.

Cover Bare Spots Quickly

Leaving spots in your yard bare practically invites weeds in to grow. Overseed to fill bare spots with vegetation that you actually want to avoid the invasion of weeds that you don’t.

Dandelions are certainly an undesirable guest in your yard, but you don’t have to deal with them season after season. Follow these prevention and removal tips for your best yard yet.