Dandelions: The Cheerful Yellow Weed
What is a dandelion? What does it look like?
Dandelion is a hardy perennial that grows individually on hollow flower stalks 2 to 18″ tall! The lance-shaped leaves are 3 to 12″ long and 1/2 to 2 1/2″ wide. You can identify these weeds by either the yellow 1 to 2″ composite flower or by the seed-head (the white puffy carrier of dandelion doom!), which appear after the yellow flower. The thick, brittle, beige, branching taproot grows up to 10″ down into the ground. Dandelions grow anywhere, especially lawns that have a lot of sunny open spaces. They spread further, are more difficult to get rid of, and grow under more adverse circumstances than most other weeds. Making matters worse, they don’t need a counter-part to reproduce. This means that once the flower has turned into the seed-head, it can reproduce immediately.
“What’s a dandelion digger for?” a dandelion asked. “It’s a human invention to help us reproduce,” another dandelion replied.
How do you remove and treat dandelion?
You can remove dandelions one of two ways. Pull them up or treat with a post-emergent herbicide. We do not recommend pulling them, and here’s why. The weed’s taproot is up to 10″ long, thick and brittle. If you leave the tiniest piece of root in the ground, it will regenerate. We recommend treating with a herbicide to kill the weed. Look for herbicides with these active ingredients: 2, 4-D OR Glyphosate. With the latter, make sure to just spray the weed because it will kill grass that it touches. The best time to kill them is when they first pop up before flowering (early fall or spring). The next best thing is to clip the flower off before it has a chance to turn into the seed-head then spray with the herbicide killing the weed entirely. Don’t mow for 2-3 days after applying to give the herbicide ample opportunity to be absorbed into the root system.
Prevention is key!
A healthy lawn is the best defense, period. But even the healthiest lawns cannot entirely escape dandelions. Treat with a pre-emergent herbicide that targets broadleaf weeds. Apply in both late summer and late winter/early spring to prevent them from coming up. As always, these treatments are doable on your own. But Pure Green would love to put our experts to work for you giving you great green grass!
- Type: Broadleaf
- Appearance: Lance-shaped leaves are 3 to 12” long and ½ to 2 ½” wide. Composite flower is yellow and 1 to 2”. Flower gives way to white seed-head.
- Life Cycle: Perennial, they flower in fall and spring
- Where it Grows: Anywhere and everywhere!
- Reproduces by: Seed
- How to Prevent: Pre-emergent herbicide
- How to Remove: Pull them out or treat with post-emergent herbicide.