Ground temperatures warming up
Dandelions and other broad leaf weeds are in full bloom this spring. When we see these colorful yellow weeds all over the place, we know summer is just around the corner. Ground temperatures are warming up and there is enough moisture in the ground for broad leaf weeds to start growing. Dandelions are found all around the world and like full sun to partial shade and moist conditions. The best way to keep them out of your lawn is through good spring cultural practices of water, fertilization, aeration and mowing. A thick healthy lawn will crowd them out due to too much competition. Never fear, dandelions are easy to control!
Where do they come from
Broad leaf weed seed comes from all over the place. Weed seeds can be transported several miles by wind, water, birds, etc… Broad leaf weed seed can also lay dormant in the soil for 30 years or more and take advantage of a thin lawn when conditions are favorable or if they are brought to the surface by traffic, pets or digging. Cheap grass seed is another source of weed seed. Always check the seed label to see what you are really getting. Dandelions, which have a flowerhead made up of many small flowers, spread their seeds with tiny parachutes that can travel many, many miles. So if a few Dandelions sprout up in your yard, don’t panic.
How to control Dandelions
Dandelions and other broad leaf weeds can be controlled by pulling or digging them up or by spraying them with herbicides. If you want to remove them the old fashion way or are concerned about using herbicides, simply pull them or use a weed digger and try to get as much of the root as possible. Even if you do not get the entire root, this will set the dandelion back and your grass can take over and crowd it out. Spot spraying with a broad leaf herbicide is the easiest way to get dandelions out of your yard. Products like Weed-Be-Gone, Trimec and Speedzone do a great job killing dandelions and other broad leaf weeds. I suggest spot spraying just the weeds and not the entire yard. The turf herbicides listed above only kill weeds that are growing so if you see it, spray it. The best time to spray is in the morning when there is no rain in the forecast for 24 hours and no wind. At this time of day, the plant is open and can absorb the weed killers better than when it’s hot during the middle of the day. Follow the directions on the bottle and do not over spray. If you do not kill the weeds the first time, spray again in 5 to 7 days and they will die off.
If your yard has a history of a lot of weeds or crabgrass, this is a sign you need to thicken up your yard. Water, fertilizer, aerate and mow. You may also want to use a preemergence or a crabgrass preventer to keep weeds and grassy weeds from moving in. Keep you yard healthy and dandelions and other broad leaf weeds will come and go quickly.