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Weed Control Tips to Defeat Dandelions

by Dawn West, All About Lawns Columnist

Sure they produce bright, sunny flowers, but if dandelions have claimed your yard chances are bright and sunny isn't exactly how you're feeling. Don't despair: dandelions can be defeated. Here are the weed control musts for a lush, green, dandelion-free lawn.
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#1. Don't Overdo the Weed Killer

In mid- to late-spring, dandelions are at their worst. Those yellow flowers are everywhere, shortly followed by billowy seeds, ready for easy wind distribution around your yard. At this time of year, you might be tempted to pull out the weed killer big guns and treat your lawn with some serious herbicide. Unless you're willing to accept totally killing the weeds and the lawn, and then a complete new planting, step away from the sprayer.

The problem with a regular weed and feed or broadleaf perennial weed killer is that dandelions just aren't that susceptible to the poison in the spring. You'll have a much better shot at actually killing them in the fall, when they're waning for the season and will take the weed killer down to their roots along with their winter food supply. Spray in spring, and you'll have to spray again in summer, and fall. You can go ahead and treat the dandelions in spring--you'll get some results. Just don't go bonkers and spray and spray and spray in hopes of wiping them out in May.

#2. Practice Defensive Weed Control

A thick, healthy lawn is the best defense against dandelions and all other weeds. Fertilize your lawn, water it properly (deeply once or twice a week, not for shorter periods every day), and mow high.

#3. Bag Them Up

Last but not least, cut the dandelion heads into plastic bags before they spread seeds all over your yard. It takes a little time, but it will make a difference.

Follow these tips for dandelion weed control, and you'll be feeling bright and sunny looking out over your dandelion-free yard before the season is through.

About the Author
Dawn West B.A. holds a B.A. in English from Harvard University and teaches writing at Oregon State University.

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