When I speak of Dandelions, you might visualize poems or songs or even a scene out of a movie. Such is their fabled omnipresence in literature and popular culture, that they have achieved a symbolic status. However, they have transcended their metaphoric status, owing to their picturesque composition, as they possess multiple nutritional benefits. From root to stem to flower, Dandelions have a treasure trove of vitamins and minerals. Dandelion root tea, for instance, is an excellent detoxifier and stress reliever. These tap-rooted, perennial, herbaceous plants are native to temperate areas in and around the Northern Hemisphere. Wispy seeds happen to be a characteristic trait of this plant as it helps in dispersion over large distances.
Despite such prominent positive features, most gardeners would be more enthusiastic about how to get rid of dandelions permanently. Although not aggressive breeders, their propagative tendencies often make them annoying, hard-to-eliminate pests. Long taproots also help ensure that they mislead gardeners into thinking they have been eliminated, only to proliferate later. Conversely, you might have gotten rid of Dandelion weeds but ended up making the soil inhospitable for other plants. Similarly, some herbicides may look effective but at the same time pose a threat to creatures that help with pollination (Bees, birds, etc.) Hence, this article will give you instructions on how to get rid of Dandelions permanently in an environment-friendly manner.
How to Get Rid of Dandelions Permanently?
A Dandelion or two might look pretty as a weed in your garden. However, it might only be a matter of time before they turn into your garden’s main attraction. This persistent, noxious weed has the tenacity to grow anywhere ranging from lawns and roadside pavements to shores of waterways. Add to that a mind-boggling reproductive capacity and you have a pesky intruder in your little garden. Dandelions can produce 15,000 seeds on an average per plant. Additionally, their parachute-like structure enables them to stay airborne for anywhere between two meters to over a kilometer. By now, I’m sure you must be dying to know how to get rid of dandelions permanently and so I’ll get you started.
The (Tap)root of the Problem
As you might have read or experienced, Dandelions have taproots with excellent penetrative properties. This makes it challenging to yank out of the ground as the leafy part might break off and the buds from the remaining portion would sprout two more plants. Yanking is suggested primarily when there are only a few Dandelions in your yard. It might sound like a garden Hydra but if you are yanking it out ensure these steps to eliminate it efficiently.
- Use a trowel to make a lateral incision into the ground beside the plant and wriggle the root lose
- Once you have fairly detached it use the soil as leverage to uplift the whole plant
- Grab it at the base and sever as much of it as possible from the soil by applying level pressure
- Use a weed-pulling tool to gently twist and yank out the whole plant
- Don’t try to nip or snap it off as it will break off and re-germinate
- Keep the soil moist to allow smoother removal
Vinegar is often suggested as an anti-Dandelion commodity due to its acidic constitution but it has its constraints. Household vinegar only has 5% acetic acid and weeds require 20% (horticultural vinegar) which is not only toxic to the other plants but also injurious to your health. Hot water is a more viable option as the temperature will cause a biochemical upheaval in the plants. Pour it carefully onto the Dandelions repeatedly for 2-3 days and they should shrivel up and perish. Despite the effectiveness of this method, I would suggest you only use this on isolated Dandelions as this can affect nearby plants as well.
Nip Them in the Bud
What’s better than looking up how to get rid of dandelions permanently? Make sure they never grow in your yard! This is exactly what pre-emergent herbicides like corn gluten meal or Preen do by disrupting the seed germination process. Get hold of these mixtures and evenly spread them of the susceptible areas of your garden. However, if you are unable to procure these, you can also mulch the plant beds or trim your lawn to 2-3 inches long. Densely packed soil deters Dandelions from sprouting and would be helpful in this case.
Torching and Controlled Burning
Torching requires plenty of precautions to be taken. You would need a small blowtorch, favorably the ones you might use in the kitchen to sear food. Now, make sure you have secured and separated the other plants from the Dandelions with a partition of some sort (e.g. Thermal insulted sheets). Pinpoint your torch towards the desired Dandelion and burn it from bottom to top. Make sure to dig out the remnants and leave no traces of the taproot in the soil.
Eco-friendly and Herbicides might not be a match made in heaven but these are certainly available. In this case, I’m talking about a type of herbicide called selective broadleaf herbicide that gets rid of Dandelions permanently but does not affect grasses. Carfentrazone, Sulfentrazone, and Triclopyr or Brush killer are some alternatives.
Timing Is Key
As I have explained earlier, timing is key when you’re looking up how to get rid of Dandelions permanently. Timing is a key factor in and one of the basic principles of gardening. Though Spring is a good time to initiate your weeding process, fall is the optimum time. Dandelions send all their nutrients to their taproots for food storage and hence their flowers dry out during September. Applying herbicide around this time kills their primary source of carbohydrates and eliminates them effectively. In case you are applying spray chemicals in the Spring, do so in May or whenever temperatures exceed 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
I hope I have been able to help you out if you were searching for how to get rid of Dandelions permanently. All of it boils down to your preferences and available options. Keeping that in mind, I have enlisted the easiest of procedures to help you get rid of Dandelions in your yard. Following the basics like eliminating the taproot, timing, while making sure your other plants do not get affected is crucial. Accordingly, I have only mentioned eco-friendly herbicides in case nothing works. Please follow the requisite guidelines and safety protocols when using industrial-grade chemicals.