Oh, the dreaded dandelion. This "flower" will try to trick you with its cheery yellow color in spring: "Look how pretty I am! Bright like the sunshine!" But don't fall victim to its golden hue. Those yellow flowers mature into the infamous white puffballs we all loved as kids, and every single one of those fluffy seeds, once released to the wind, is destined to become yet another dandelion. It's a vicious cycle of yardwork that's trying to ruin your summer. Don't let the weeds win! Here are a few tips to keep your yard dandelion-free—and your summer weekends dedicated to fun, not weeding.
How to Prevent Dandelions
As with most ailments, prevention is the best medicine, and the best way to avoid dandelions in your yard is to have a thick carpet of lush, dense grass. This literally "weeds out" your enemies, leaving no room for them to grow in the first place. But if it's already too late, and the enemy is upon you, never fear. There are multiple weapons at your disposal.
What to Do If Dandelions Have Already Sprouted on Your Lawn
According to lawn-care brand Scotts, the most effective way to rid your yard of dandelions is to treat the entire thing with a weed-and-feed product, such as its Turf Builder line. This kills the weeds at the root while also fertilizing the grass, and it's much more efficient than trying to pull the offending flowers out by hand. Dandelions have taproots that can extend several feet into the soil, and if you don't pull out the entire root—which is exceedingly difficult to do—it will just sprout right back up again. Little buggers!
Any dandelions still standing after this process can be spot-treated with commercial weed killer. But be careful with this stuff: Most chemical weed killers on the market work well but are "nonselective," meaning they kill every plant they come in with, weed or not. And some, like the Roundup-brand products made by Monsanto, have been in the news for allegedly causing major health problems.
How to Kill Dandelions—Without Chemicals
There are lots of more eco-friendly options to choose from, too. Boiling water, vinegar, salt, and even cornmeal can be used as natural weed killers. BobVila.com recommends the following method: Fill a watering can and moisten the area around each dandelion well to loosen the soil. Dig as deep as you can with a weeding tool, then gently pull the plant and as much of the root out of the ground as you are able. Then, carefully apply the herbicide of your choice at the bottom of the hole, to kill any remaining taproot.
Once your lawn is a beautiful green carpet of dandelion-free happiness—and it will be, I have faith in you!—spread out a blanket, fix yourself a picnic, and drink a toast to summer. (Just please don't toast with dandelion wine.)
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