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Beating Lawn Dandelions, Naturally

by Gabby Hyman, All About Lawns Columnist

Want to get your dander up? Consider that you're an advocate of natural lawn care, and you have a hefty infestation of yellow asteraceae dotting your lawn like so many mischievous grins. They're dandelions, and they won't necessarily go away unless you do something about them. Fortunately, you won't need to dump toxic chemicals on your lawn to eradicate the bountiful weed.

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Dandelions have deep tap roots and are spread by airborne florets of fine hairs. The best treatment for abating them is to have a healthy, thick growing lawn in the first place that cuts off access to sunlight and other nutrients that dandelions need. And the number-one culprit in fostering dandelion growth is alkaline soils.

Testing Soils for Optimal Lawn Care
Either have your soil professionally tested or take a sample to your local lawn and garden center or university extension office. Grass thrives in a pH from 6.2 to 6.9, preferably around 6.5. Once the alkaline content rises to 7.5 or higher, you've got the perfect conditions for raising dandelions. You can adjust your soil pH downwards by using a sulfur based, non-toxic amendment.

For now, try pulling the weeds. You can use a garden trowel to dig them up, or purchase a dandelion spinner that attaches to a power drill and destroys them at the root. Gluten meal is a popular, ecologically friendly choice, suppressing seed germination when applied to dandelions. Corn gluten not only kills weeds, it can restore nitrogen in the soil.

There are also non-selective weed killers with an organic base of citric acid, clove leaf oil, and cinnamon oil that can kill off dandelions in as little as 30 minutes. But you should use these as a spot treatment, or they can kill your lawn, too.


About the Author
Gabby Hyman has created online strategies and written content for Fortune 500 companies including eToys,, Siebel Systems, Microsoft Encarta, Avaya, and Nissan UK.

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