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Dandelion Control

Lawn Care
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Dandelion control is an issue for most homeowners. But dandelions can also, unlike most other weeds, be beneficial to a garden or lawn’s ecosystem. Dandelions attract ladybugs, which eat other plant-destroying bugs, such as aphids. The dandelion’s long roots aerate the soil, which allows plants and grasses to accumulate minerals. If dandelions get out of hand, you may want to try some natural dandelion control before resorting to chemicals.

The dandelion reproduces by way of seed—this seed is spread with their well-known downy parachutes. Some ways to organically control dandelions include:

  • Mowing often—mowing prevents the yellow blossoms from maturing into seeds.
  • Digging out dandelions by hand—use a dandelion digger, as the root is a long taproot. While it can be removed by pulling it up with your hands, the homeowner may not pull all of the roots out. Pouring boiling water on the dandelion plants will also kill them. It does take two to three days, so do not expect immediate action.
  • Spraying vinegar on the dandelions—vinegar is not only used for dandelion control, but for the control of foxtail, velvetleaf, pigweed and thistle. When using vinegar, be careful not to get it on other plants, as it will also kill other landscape plants and grasses.
  • Corn gluten meal—an effective dandelion control and is not harmful to the environment, children or pets. Corn gluten is also a good pre-emergent weed control product. This means it will not allow the dandelion seeds to sprout, but it will not harm the rest of the lawn and landscaping.
  • Keeping the soil healthy—also provides dandelion control. Healthy soil also controls other weeds. Keep the grass mowed to a height of at least 2 ½ inches—if mowed to shorter heights, more dandelion seeds will germinate. The taller heights are also good for most grasses.
  • Overwatering the lawn—will encourage dandelion growth—watering infrequently—once a week—and deeply, provides enough water for the lawn, encourages lawn root growth and saves water. Avoid using fertilizers that contain large amounts of potassium. Potassium increases the dandelion population and makes dandelion control more difficult.
  • Eating the plants—another form of dandelion control. Cut the dandelion close to the ground and use the greens in cooking. Constant cutting will eventually wipe out all of the dandelions, but for a season, the homeowner will have dandelion greens to cook with—or in the case of an extensive invasion, enough to can up for the next year.

 

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