Oh, so sweet…your five-year-old just picked you a large, beautiful bouquet…of dandelions! It’s time to eliminate them for good.
When dandelions are blooming, mow them often to prevent the yellow blossoms from maturing into seeds. Prefer more manual labor? Dig them out! A “dandelion digger” is a specialized yard tool that removes a wide variety of weeds, including their roots, with little soil disturbance. Getting rid of the root and all is definitely one way to eliminate them for good.
There are some other non-conventional, methods worth trying, too. To control dandelions in much smaller, concentrated areas, try pouring boiling water over them. You can also smother them with a variety of objects including black plastic (weighted down), grass clippings, compost, or bark mulch for a nicer look. Lastly, a 5% concentration of vinegar (similar to household vinegar), is an effective weed killer against annual and perennial weeds such as dandelions, foxtail, velvetleaf, smooth pigweed and thistle. (And it won’t pollute the soil.)
Probably the most effective organic weed and feed is corn gluten meal. (This is a by-product of milling corn, primarily used in farm animal feeds and dog food.) This yellow, powdery substance can also be used as a “pre-emergent” weed control for lawns. For dandelion prevention, it should be applied to your lawn about 4 – 6 weeks before weeds germinate. If you’ve missed this window of opportunity; don’t worry. Not all weeds sprout at the same time, so try applying the corn gluten meal a few times during the growing season.