dandelion flower in lawn

How To Get Rid of Dandelions (What You Need to Know)

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Written By: Mark Marino

a Massachusetts Core Applicator License holder and owner/operator of Lawn Phix,

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Nothing screams “spring has arrived” like seeing dandelions in their yellow flower bloom! In Massachusetts, this is generally around Kentucky Derby day in May. These broadleaf weeds grow from a single taproot that can be dug up or sprayed with a selective herbicide. End Run with Trimec is my standard go-to broadleaf herbicide, but any 3- or 4-way weed killer with 2,4-D and Dicamba like Speedzone will do.

  • Spray dandelions two weeks apart with a broadleaf weed herbicide.
  • To avoid secondary crops of dandelions, be sure to spray before the flowers have gone to seed.
    • The white puff balls are when the dandelions have gone to seed and will aggressively spread at this point.
  • NOTE: Dandelions attract honeybees and pollinators. To help save the bees, cut off the yellow flowers 1-2 days before spraying.

It’s a common sight in the spring and fall months: dandelions. These weeds are characterized by their yellow flowers as they grow and white puffballs after they bloom. Without proper lawn care, dandelions have the potential to eventually fill in the entire lawn, creating an unsightly yellow blanket of sorts.

The good news is you can enact lawn maintenance to kill visible dandelions and take steps to prevent them from growing and taking over your lawn.

In this post, we’ll cover what you need to know and how to get rid of and kill dandelions. Here’s a closer look:

How Do I Know if Dandelions Are Growing?

Dandelions are easy to identify and distinguish from other weeds, whether it’s the occasional dandelion or your lawn is infested with them.

Simply put: If you’re not intending to grow yellow flowers and you spot broadleaf weeds with yellow flowers and basal leaves – especially in the early spring months – then you’ve likely got dandelions on your hands. That’s right, dandelion flowers are yellow in color and an easy giveaway to the type of weed that’s growing within the surrounding grass.

The good news is that if there are visible dandelions in your lawn, there are ways to eradicate them. In the forthcoming sections, we’ll discuss how to get rid of dandelions and share other lawn care tips to prevent them from coming back in the future.

Dandelion Removal and Elimination

Killing and eliminating dandelions is a bit more difficult than it may seem on the surface. This is due to the taproot of the dandelion greens.

In order to prevent dandelions from coming back, the entire taproot must be removed. In a thick lawn, the taproot of dandelion plants can exist up to 8 inches below the ground surface. Yes, taproot survives deep in the lawn.

Another problem with existing weeds is dandelion seeds. It’s estimated that about 15,000 weed seeds are produced per dandelion plant – and these seed heads can be blown throughout the yard by the wind, resulting in new weeds.

So how do you go about killing dandelions without damaging other plants and keeping the rest of your lawn healthy? Here’s a look:

Gently pull dandelions out

But no, you can’t just yank at the unwanted sprout and expect that to be enough to remove dandelions. We suggest investing in a dandelion puller. Dandelion pullers are special tools that should permit you to reach the taproot and effectively remove dandelions when they’re used correctly. Just be sure you’re using it in moist soil.

Chemical control with natural herbicides

Using a weed and feed product can help attack dandelions and other broadleaf weeds while promoting a strong and healthy lawn. These chemical weed killers work to attack the entire plant, including dandelion taproots.

Dump boiling water on them

If you’re looking to spot-treat dandelions, dumping boiling water on the whole plant can do the trick. The water will immediately damage the leaves and then soak into the soil and burn the dandelion root. However, you’ll ruin your good grass, so this method would be most practical in a garden or landscaped area away from grass and ornamentals.

Dandelion Control and Prevention

While it’s possible to eliminate dandelions via the steps we outlined above completely, a better strategy is preventing dandelions from growing in the first place.

By enacting the following prevention techniques, you can avoid dandelion weeds in the lawn. Here’s a look at how to do it:

Bag grass clippings

When dandelions bloom, they seed – and this is when they can disperse seeds throughout your lawn. To prevent seeds from being distributed across your lawn, mow your lawn often – regardless of grass type – and bag the clippings to contain the weed and maintain the lawn’s health.

Use a pre-emergent herbicide

Dandelions tend to bloom in the spring, but broadleaf herbicide is best applied in the fall. This is the time of year when dandelions are establishing their roots.

Know your lawn soil

Dandelions like soil that’s higher in alkaline. They also like to grow in a soil temperature ranging from 50 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Know your lawn soil and make amendments if necessary.

Apply grass seed in bare spots

A good lawn care tip is to seed in bare areas. This can help establish a lush lawn and prevent broadleaf perennial weeds from forming. It’s best to grow grass seed in the early spring or fall when the nights are cooler.

Dandelion FAQs

What will kill dandelions but not grass?

When killing dandelions, it’s always best to prevent damage to surrounding plants or your grass. Many toxic chemicals have the potential to damage everything, so it’s always best to check the label before applying them to your lawn.
Ideally, you’ll want to use a herbicide that’s safe for use on the lawn to get rid of dandelions. Removing them by hand is effective and safe as well.

Is the dandelion a noxious weed?

A noxious weed is one that has been determined to present an ecological threat.
While dandelions are unsightly and invasive, they are not considered “noxious.”

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Author's Note: this piece has been updated for accuracy since its first publication on
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Author: Mark Marino
My name is Mark Marino, and I am the founder, owner, and operator of Lawn Phix. With a passion for lawn care and turf nutrition for over a decade, I've dedicated countless hours to correcting soil and perfecting lawns. Today, my expertise, backed by formal courses at UMass Extension Pesticide Education, allows me to offer top-tier lawn care services and advice. I am a fully licensed and insured lawn care applicator in Massachusetts, specializing in comprehensive turf nutrition, weed control, and lawn pest control. My license number is AL-0053865. Contact me at [email protected] or +1 (508) 500-8402.

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