Stop Dandelions Before They Spread

Dandelions are so familiar to most of us that it’s easy to forget that they’re weeds — broadleaf perennials, to be specific.  They appear twice a year, in the spring and the fall, as bright yellow flowers that mature into round white seedheads that resemble tiny clouds.  Their two ways of spreading, by extending roots and via the seeds that take flight in the lightest breeze, make it easy for them to spread across an entire yard.  But they can be controlled.  Here are some ideas to add to your southern lawn care routine to reduce the number of dandelions in your lawn.

Keep Your Turf Healthy

Grass that is kept thick and luxuriant through appropriate watering and maintenance discourages all types of weeds, not just dandelions. Other helpful countermeasures that you may already be doing include annual aeration and avoiding bare spots by raising the cutting height of your mower.

Fight Back Early

Because dandelions can spread so quickly, taking action as soon as you see the first one of the season can have major effects later on. Hand pulling is easier said than done, since they’ve developed deep roots that make this difficult. The best approach is to wait until the soil is damp and then use a weeding tool to make sure you’re removing the entire root system of the plant. The dandelions will help you assess your technique by sprouting again in the exact same spots if any roots were left behind.

Mowing won’t remove the entire plant, but if the flowers are cut off while they’re still yellow, they can’t turn to seed and spread. We generally recommend against bagging clippings because they turn into helpful nutrition if left on the lawn, but we’re willing to make an exception if you’re mowing during the dandelion seed phase. If you collect the seedheads in a bag along with clippings, be sure to dispose of the mixture in a way that won’t result in further spreading.

Herbicide Help

Especially stubborn weeds like dandelions may require chemical intervention. If you want to tackle the problem yourself, most of the general-purpose herbicides available at any lawn-and-garden or home-supply store are effective against dandelions. Check product labels just in case, and be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for best results.

Alternatively, we’re always happy to discuss our lawn treatment programs with you. Pre-emergent herbicides are an important element of any comprehensive lawn care regimen. As preventatives that interfere with germination, they must be applied before any weeds are visible.

Everyone who spends time on lawn maintenance, whether professional or homeowner, knows that the best solution to many problems is being proactive before the issue gets serious.  Dandelions are a great example. As your partner in maintaining the health of your lawn, we can apply the pre-emergents and herbicides that can help to limit the number of weeds that can later spread. Unfortunately, the odds are that you’ll still have some work to do, since dandelion seeds can spread so easily from other locations nearby. But by working together, we can significantly reduce the presence of dandelions in your lawn.