How to Get Rid of Dandelions Naturally: Tried & True Methods (Step-by-Step Guide)


Dandelions are pretty to look at… when they’re not on your lawn.

As spring rolls around, the first thing that you may notice popping up in your garden are dandelions, and whilst you may only have a few they’re still super annoying when you’re trying to maintain that perfect golf course style grass.

If, like me, you hate these pesky little weeds popping up on your lawn, ruining the perfect green and lush grass that you’ve worked so hard for, then definitely read on to find out all the tips and tricks you can use to avoid this problem in the future!

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bed of dandelion

Why is it Important to Remove the Dandelions From Your Lawn?

Dandelions are weeds and throughout the year, you may notice that their base will hide among your grass usually blending in with your grass – how sneaky!

However, between the months of March and October, they start to flower revealing their yellow petals.

To some they may seem harmless, yet when they go untreated you run the risk of them spreading all across your grass and soon, taking over completely!

The issue with dandelions is that they have really long and sturdy roots. Their roots are known as ‘taproots’ and whilst you may be able to pull out the dandelion from the surface, if any of this root remains it can easily sprout a new plant.

In addition to this, you have the seeds.

Ahh the good ol’ fluffy dandelion seeds that as kids we all used to blow but what we didn’t realize then, was that these seeds can travel far distances and be the cause of new weeds to sprout.

All of this considered, I think it’s safe to say that these bad boys are hard to stop!

Once you notice that you have dandelions popping up it is best to treat them. It is much easier to treat them whilst they are in small quantities than when they’re covering your lawn completely.

white dandelion flowers in green grass field

What is the Best Way to Get Rid of Dandelions?

There are many ways in which you can get rid of dandelions ranging from natural methods to chemical methods both being somewhat effective.

But what is the BEST and most effective way to get rid of them for good?

Read on to discover the top 3 natural methods that you can use to protect your lawn from these weeds!

Best and Easiest Method: Hand Tugging

Even though I said above that pulling the dandelion will only result in a temporary fix, pulling them at the right time of year will help in permanently removing the root completely, therefore stopping future sprouting!

Pulling the plant at around early spring or fall is the best time.

In spring the seedlings won’t have developed strong roots enough to take hold so they would be easiest to pull out and leaving no root behind to spread.

In fall, however, the plants are weakened, and their roots aren’t strong enough to hold on as they don’t have the nutrients stored to last the cold winter months.

Whilst doing this, you should also make sure that the grass is wet as this will loosen the soil around the roots, making it easier for you to pull them out – you want to make sure that you pull the WHOLE weed out as any leftovers can manifest into a new sprout and spread, wasting all of your efforts.

For a step-by-step guide on the proper way to pull the weeds out yourself, read below!

  • Step 1: Water your lawn enough so that the soil is wet down to about 3” so that the removal is easier.
  • Step 2: Using a dandelion weeding tool, weed fork, or trowel, make a cut near the side of the weed into the soil.
  • Step 3: You want the root to come loose, so to achieve this, wiggle the tool around under the soil as this will loosen the soil attached to the roots holding it in place.
  • Step 4: Using the ground for leverage, slowly try and lift the dandelion. It makes it easier if you grab the leaves at the base, holding them so that the plant is stable, and you don’t break the roots. This can then be used to pull the taproot out.
  • Step 5: Hopefully, after slowly pulling it out and using the wiggle method, the dandelion and root will come out intact.
  • Step 6: If this doesn’t work, or the root is holding on too tightly, loosen the soil with water again, and then with your weeder, wiggle it around until it pulls free.

There are so many great tools you can use when applying this manual method ranging from regular weeding forks to standing weed and root pullers. All are great and can be used in the above step-by-step to effectively remove weeds from the root!

Watch this video, to view the proper way to pull out your dandelions!

Another Method: Pour Boiling Water on the Weed

If you pour boiling water on the weed a few times a day over the course of a week, this will cause damage to the root through scorching and make it shrivel up and die.

Just be careful though, as this will also kill surrounding plants and grass so be sure to aim for the dandelion only!

Use a Weed Burner or a Torch

Weed burners and torches are a popular method used to rid your garden of weeds. This way will burn the plant from the surface level giving it no chance to survive.

Like the boiling water method, you need to be careful to: A. not to burn the surrounding area and B. not to burn down your whole garden – trust me it can happen!

Lucky for you, there are many other ways to kill weeds naturally, read our article here, for a great guide on these methods!

yellow dandelion in green grass lawn

Something to Avoid!

There are many natural methods on the internet that promise to get rid of dandelions and other weeds and whilst some are really good, others can do more harm than good!

Avoid Vinegar!

There are so many people who recommend using vinegar directly on the weed itself to kill it.

This is supported by the fact that vinegar has a high acidity level, but this is only enough to kill them on the surface leaving the roots untouched, this will only cause more sprouting and leave you wondering why.

For you to successfully penetrate the roots and kill them, you’ll need acid of strength at about 20% which is basically no longer vinegar and will definitely cause the rest of your grass to die as well – a solid no from me!

Avoid Salt!

Salting the earth is an old practice people used to prevent crops and weeds from growing, but this can definitely cause harm as it not only will prevent the dandelions from growing but everything else too, not what we’re after!

spraying herbicide on dandelion

Chemical Methods to Try

Killing weeds naturally is great, but sometimes they’ve taken over – or you just don’t have time – so chemical weed killers are your next best friend.

Many people are turned away from chemical weed killers as they pose a risk to their beloved pets. Many animals are known to have sneaky snacks on plants and grass so having a toxic weed killer exposed to them is a really big risk.

BUT there is no need to fear as there are some really great non-toxic weed killers that you can use that are not only really effective but also safe for pets!

Other than your garden, dandelions can pop up on your driveway and between the cracks of paths.

If you have this problem I have you covered! Read my article on the best weed killers for driveways that will make your life so much easier and tackle those weeds that plague your driveway!

There are many commercial weed killers that are really good for spot treatments or wide area treatments, below are my top three for the dandelion issue.

Round-up Weed Killer

This one is amazing and my first choice as it kills the weeds directly and protects the grass. This weed killer can kill over 250 different types of weeds, dandelions included.

It works immediately and is rainproof too so can be used all year round!

Scotts Tuft Builder

Scotts Tuft Builder

This herbicide is also a great competitor to the Round-Up Weed Killer and is great as it will kill the dandelions and NOT the grass so you can use this as a spot treatment or a full yard treatment without killing your lawn.

This particular one is great for not only killing all types of weeds, including dandelions, but it will also help to strengthen your lawn as it clears the space the weeds once took over!

2,4-D Amine Weed Killer

SA 2,4-D Amine Weed Killer Herbicide

This weed killer, as well as others using the 2,4-D amine, is great for effectively killing the weeds on the spot, however, isn’t great at protecting all grasses and plants so it is recommended to ensure you spot treat when using this one.

It is very important that you check the chemical components of your chosen herbicide so that it can be used on your whole garden if need be.

Some other plants that you have in your garden may be susceptible to damage as well, so to protect them from this it is best to choose weed killers that are lawn and plant safe and great for large areas!

Final Top Tip: Keeping your grass healthy and dense will mean weeds have little space to grow, so if you want some expert tips on how to keep your grass green and healthy, read my article here, or watch this video!

Last Resort!

Whilst they can be a pain, if getting rid of dandelions is too hard you could always embrace them!

For centuries dandelions have been used as herbal medicines and in tea. Today they are sold as an expensive addition to salads as the whole plant is basically edible! Moreover, dandelions can be used in the place of coffee as a tea.

Other than this, weeds are great for bees!

They are some of the earliest spring flowers to bloom and provide the bees with nectar and pollen. Other than bees, they also attract butterflies so your garden can be flourishing with life.

Summary

To wrap it up, dandelions can be a pain and we dread the season that they sprout in as it usually means more yard work!

There are so many ways in which you can get rid of them for good so just pick your choice! Herbicides are definitely easier, and some can be more effective than natural methods, however, some may choose to avoid the chemicals and try the holistic way – both are a great option!

If you know any other ways to kill dandelions or even weeds in general, share them below I would love to hear your experiences and how you combat the weed issue!

Andy Gibson

My name's Gibson. Andy Gibson. I like to think of myself as the Bond of the backyard, that is if yard work ever became sexy. I write about everything about indoor and outdoor gardening and the dread-it-but-still-need-to-do-it chores around the yard, like cleaning out the gutter guards.

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