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Mature dandelion plantDandelions are considered a broadleaf weed. Best treated during active growing cycle with a spot treatment. If you use a dry granular form of weed killer or a weed and feed type of fertilizer, apply it to wet grass and weeds. The weed control material must stick to the leaves of the weed plants to be effective. If you spray a liquid, apply it only on a calm day so material will not drift onto desirable plants.

Dandelions are a persistent weed problem. Each seed head of a mature plant produces thousands of weed seeds that float easily in the breeze. So if anyone in your immediate vicinity has dandelions, you can count on you having them too.

Remember, broadleaf weed killers are broadleaf plant killers. They do not, for example, differentiate between dandelions and tomato plants. Apply them only to weeds in the lawn. Be careful not to get the material onto desirable plants in your yard. Don't apply on windy days where any mist can carry in the wind to your neighbors prize dahlias. Lawn of dandelions

Pulling dandelions

Dandelions turn into delicate puff balls that spread the weed's seeds throughout your garden on the slightest breeze. Once established, its roots grow down into the soil several inches. If you don't remove the entire root, the plant will grow back again and again. Removing them by hand is another option to chemical controls.

Removal steps: If the dandelion has a white seed head, carefully cup the puff-ball and remove from the plant before beginning the removal process. Throw the seeds away avoiding disturbing the seeds.

  1. Pulling dandelions is much easier if the soil is damp. Water the area where the dandelions are growing or wait till after a heavy rain. Weeds will slip out of the soil, roots and all, if the soil is wet.

  2. Slip your hand under the foliage. Grasp the foliage of the weed with one hand.

  3. Insert a weed knife (a short-handled gardening tool) into the soil, alongside the dandelion root, with your other hand.

  4. Rotate the weed knife to locate and loosen the root from the surrounding soil.

  5. Lever the tool partially out of the soil; this should lift the root of the dandelion. You'll be able to feel the plant give way. If you can't feel the loosening of the root from the soil, reposition the weed knife and try again.

  6. Be very careful not to break off the foliage and leave the root in the ground. If the top foliage part breaks away from the root, you'll have to pull this same weed again later.

  7. Gently lift and pull the root completely to the surface, removing the plant entirely from the soil.

  8. Shake off any excess soil and toss the weed into your compost pile.

See also: Edible weeds