We all have memories of blowing those seed balls into the wind. Dandelions are a part of our lives wherever we go. You can hardly walk down the block without noticing at least a few. They grow in our gardens. They somehow survive between cracks in the sidewalk. And for some reason, dandelions disregard weather—as you can see them all year round.
And yes, dandelions can become a pest. It’s considered a weed by most. But as Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “A weed is just a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.”
So let’s get to know the humble dandelion and find out how you can remove them—to the wastebasket, or perhaps elsewhere.
The most noticeable characteristic of the dandelion is its deep yellow flower. These little weeds grow quickly, and aren’t fussy about their environment. Within a couple of weeks after sprouting a dandelion will flower into a pretty yellow display.
There are a few different varieties of dandelion, but the yellow variety we all see everyday is the most common.
They are everywhere.
Let’s find out why.
Within a few days the flower will die and leave in its place a round ball of soft, light seeds. Everyone loves blowing these seeds without a second thought to how effectively they are perpetuating future generations of this weed.
Each little seed that finds its way to moderately adequate soil will take root and grow into a new dandelion. And from there the cycle continues. So it’s easy to see why there are so many!
But should we simply regard the dandelion as a weed just because it grows so wildly across America? Well, that’s up for debate.
What I will tell you is that there are some surprising benefits to dandelions—ones that we HAVE discovered.
So if you plan on removing your dandelions, decide first whether you will throw them away or use them somewhere else.
Before you decide whether you want to kill your dandelions permanently or whether you want to pull them and use them – you should read about some of these great options as to what you can do with them!
As a child I was taught that dandelions are poisonous. So when I played with them, I was very careful not to put my hands into mouth or give that dandelion milk a quick taste.
But recently I discovered that dandelions have a few useful properties. You just have to know where to look.
Dandelion greens are incredibly bitter. And bitterness has its place in cooking. The first time I realized this was during an episode of Chopped—the televised cooking contest on Food Network. Contestants were given dandelion greens as one of their ingredients, which helps offset saltiness, sourness and sweetness in food.
Even Martha Stewart has created some dandelion based recipes!
Not only that, but it’s considered a superfood among health fanatics who cook it with garlic and salt
the same way you or I would cook a plate of spinach. You can eat dandelion greens raw in salads, or cook the leaves in a pan. It’s best served well cooked and combined with other strong flavors.
There are a lot of available food products with dandelion even things like beverages. This Dandy Blend Herbal Beverage is said to taste like coffee but is caffeine free. It is a big hit with the healthy eating crowd!
So if you have a lot of them in your garden grub’s up!
One of the reasons gardeners have such trouble with dandelions is because of how deep their roots run. These roots are strong and determined, which may explain why they are so good for your health. Yes, you can use dandelion roots to make your very own medicine.
The properties in dandelion root have a powerful detoxifying effect on your liver, bladder, kidneys and urinary tract. It’s also been known to relieve joint pain and aid in digestion.
Simply dry out the roots in an oven and use it to make tea. Drink it on days where you feel run down or fragile. Drinking it once or twice a week will certainly prevent various ailments caused by excessive sugar or alcohol consumption.
The entire dandelion plant (flower included) can also be used to make tea. It tastes a bit better than the root tea, and has a different set of benefits. You can dry out dandelion plants and convert it to tea; which is great for your skin, your digestion and inflammation. If you’re trying to lose weight, dandelion tea is an excellent accelerator.
I’m not a huge fan of chemicals when it comes to gardening. So here are 4 organic/ natural methods for removing dandelions from your garden.
Dandelions will keep spreading to your garden. But you can reduce the chances of this happening by picking them before they seed.
When manually removing a dandelion, make sure you dig deep into your soil to extract the entire root. There are even dandelion specific tools to remove them with ease and be able to get them from the root. The Flexrake is a dandelion weeder that has made a lot of lives much easier!
Dandelions deposit healthy nutrients into your soil, which is why they grow so well in poor soil. But they actually don’t grow so well in soil that is already rich.
Add phosphorus and nitrogen to your soil, or simply dumb a bag of rich compost where dandelions are growing. This won’t kill the dandelions immediately, but it will prevent more from sprouting.
The acid in vinegar acts as a herbicide against dandelions. Put vinegar in a spray bottle and spray your weeds with it. It won’t be long before they wither away and die.
Boil your kettle. Now grab it and pour a healthy dose of boiling hot water on the dandelions in your garden. Within two days the plant will simply drop dead—and it won’t have the capacity to seed during that time either.
Your should test the boiling water and vinegar methods on a small portion fo your grass because in some areas these can kill more than just your dandelions!
My method of choice for removing dandelions is definitely the more natural way. But that’s just because I’m super curious about using this plant to make herbal tea and a few dishes that need a touch of bitterness. If you don’t have time for this—or if your dandelion infestation is too severe—then killing them is easily done with an herbicidal option.
Let us know if any of these tricks worked for you. And if you actually tried eating a dandelion or two, I’d love to hear about that too!
Maybe the above options are not enough for tackling your tough issues with dandelions taking over your yard and you are looking for something stronger. Herbicides are the other option as opposed to the more natural options above.
There are basically 2 types of herbicides available to you when deciding what the best dandelion killer is for your yard.
Herbicides of course are chemicals and come with their own other issues such as side-effects and potential sicknesses from breathing it in or touching it. If you are going to use a herbicide we highly recommend gloves and a mask during the application process and be sure to allow plenty of time for drying before letting your family and pets enjoy your yard! Or you can select an organic herbicide option like Nature's Avenger Organic Weed Killer.
We have taken a bit of time to research what people are saying about dandelions around the web and came up with a few highly recommended products. Below are 3 top picks for you to consider to get rid of the dandelions around your home.
Of course not all of these options will work for everyone - there are so many variables from the type of weed to your local weather that can play a part in the success of your dandelion removal. Most importantly is the proper testing and dilution - so make sure you test small areas and use the manufacturer guide to get the right calibration of the mixture.
2,4-D Amine Weed Killer from Southern AG is one of the top options for completely killing dandelions in your yard. It is able to be applied to most lawns without killing the lawn - but just the weeds that exist. 2,4-D is considered a selective herbicide so it works hard at only tackling what you do not want in your yard and keeping the good stuff safe and healthy.
Most customers find this to be a great solution post-emergence herbicide for their dandelion killing needs when it is diluted properly. Some reports have noted it can take a while for the dandelions to actually die, but they do and that is what matters!
Avenger is an organic weed killer and non-selective herbicide that kills dandelions quickly. The ingredient that makes the magic happen is called D-limonene which is a citrus oil. It works by stripping away the waxy cuticle of the plant causing it to die from dehydration. Environmentally safe, this is an option that is non-toxic and is safe to use around children, pets and wildlife.
Overall the sentiment on this product has been good - especially for dandelions with many saying the dandelions were dead within the hour of spraying. It is a post-emergence herbicide so works very well on those dandelions that are already showing through the soil.
Ortho Weed B Gon is a popular option as a dandelion killer and overall gets great results for most users. It focuses on killing the dandelions and over 250+ other weeds as well without harming your lawn. They guarantee this as long as you use it as directed!
We hope this article helped you not only understand dandelions a little bit better but also figure out some options for you to remove them - and maybe use them!
Do you have experience with removing dandelions from your yard? Have tips or feedback you can share? We would love to hear from you!