the weed from hell-dandelion

peasy(Ireland)September 27, 2004

Despite what seems to me like exhaustive effort this summer to rid my small garden of dandelions, they seem to be growning even more.

I found one huge one that had clusters of thick stems attached to a root that was about an inch and a half in diameter. I dug and dug and couldn't reach the bottom of the root.I'd swear it reached down to the depths of the earth.

I ended up breaking at a point in the root when it became much slenderer but still couldn't dig it out. So I gave up and just squirted some Roundup on the root itself. Will this work?

Any idea why my weeding efforts don't seem to be working?

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annaneaves(Canada (NS))

dandelions can grow back very quickly from a very small portion of that thick root (the tap root) You have to get it all out (or at least most of it) I suspect you haven't been getting the tap root on the other dandelions you've been pulling. There are two tools for dandelions reccomended on this forum... The first is the weedhound (I have one, it's great!) It works very well, but not perfectly, but it does give you a better chance of getting that awful tap root!! The second is a small hand-held tool with a small "V" at the end of it. (I don't have this one but it is recommended a lot) You slide the tool down next to the dandelion, then pop it right out of the ground. This also works well the get the tap root out.

Once you get most of the dandelions gone, a pre-emergent in spring can be helpfull to prevent new dandelions seeds from taking hold.

The key with dandelions is to get that tap root!

    Bookmark   September 28, 2004 at 7:13AM
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Corn gluten meal works great. It might take a few months to notice, but in my yard it did go down to almost none. I was able to stop using it, so now grass seed will sprout. When I do pull the few that come back, I go around with a spade and a can of grass seed. I get the spade way under the dandelion and lever it til I hear a pop. Then I can hand-pull it out root and all. Don't pull out any dirt with your shovel. Just leaves a slit in the turf and you can throw grass seed right into it. Dandelions are awesome for compost because the root is full of minerals.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2004 at 3:54AM
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the huge one probably isn't dandelion. Not sure what it is but i had a few in the spring and they looked like dandelions on steroids without the yellow flower.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2004 at 2:22PM
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aka_peggy(Central Md 6b)

Also, RU only works when sprayed on leaves, not roots.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2004 at 8:40AM
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gardeners_hands(8, coastal WA)

I have had great success killing dandelions (and a few other tender-leafed weeds) with plain white vinegar. I just put it in an old window-cleaner bottle and spray them on a sunny day, I carry a piece of cardboard to 'shield' my perennials. This won't work on all weeds but it's really reduced the number I had to pull as I won't use herbicides.
The dandelions we had in California Central Valley were pretty but had awful prickers for bare feet, so I killed 'em. Now - in Washington the dandelions are small tender plants that throw up a long-stemed bright yellow flower, not as luxurious as the CA dandy but they don't seem to overrun the place and I leave them alone.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2004 at 8:34AM
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I've had a problem with them over the years, but I find the main thing is to never let them seed. They don't create new plants by dividing, they simply seed new ones, thus if you keep pulling off the flowers every couple of days you can deal with the existing weeds in your own time, either by pulling them or chemicals. I've also discovered that there's a quick and handy way to deal with those pretty, but troublesome seed heads that allways scatter when you disturb them. Just use a cigarette lighter on them and they fizzle away instantly.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2004 at 9:07PM
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vetivert8(NI-NZ zone 9a)

They're a lot like docks: they like heavy soil, usually, and are useful for breaking up clay.

If you live near fields which are badly managed, or have been closed for haying, you could be getting 'fairies' coming in on the wind and settling on any bare ground.

They're not too good at coping with a lumpy mulch such as autumn leaves. Any that do get through are easily pulled.

With the older ones, you'll need to choose your time, when the soil is easy to work. Late summer is good, after a spot of rain; the ground is warm and your big digging fork can get in deep, to the full depth of the tines. Don't waste time cutting the tap root with a gardening knife. They just sprout again, and have forked roots.

Until then keep the flowers swiped off. They send up new ones daily.

On the plus side, the young leaves can be added to salads in moderation, and are healthful. If you keep hens, then the leaves are good for them, too.

The catsears, hawkbits and hawkbeards are much easier to get rid of. Ox tongue (Helminthotheca echioides) is a prickly customer, worst when it's dry. They all have similar flowers but a different growth habit.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2004 at 8:29AM
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GaelicGardener(z6 RI)

.... going out for a gallon jug of white vinegar and a blow torch!
I've tried chemical herbicides on the dandelions and they don't work. I can hear the dandelions laughing at me when I point the trigger sprayers at them. I even doused some that had come up from cracks in my patio with lighter fluid and torched them. (I know, I need help.)
I don't want to eat them, I don't want to ferment and drink them, I want them out of my garden!

    Bookmark   May 28, 2005 at 3:49PM
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mdk3000(z6 WestchstrNY)

I know there is a gardening version of vinegar that is something like 30% acetic acid and that cooking vinegar is about 5% acid. Does the regular cooking vinegar work? Because I can tell you for a fact that 30 % acetic acid is hard to handle and can burn you seriously if you acidentally get any on you. It's a real acid and as dangerous. Thanks

    Bookmark   May 29, 2005 at 4:25AM
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GaelicGardener(z6 RI)

OK -- I sprayed the little b@$#@%&$, and now my garden smells like dandelion vinegrette. How long until I can dance on their graves with glee? Bry84 -- thanks for the frying tip -- it was very fun and extremely therapeutic -- mwah ha ha ha ha!

    Bookmark   May 29, 2005 at 8:30AM
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GaelicGardener(z6 RI)

I am very happy to report that most of the weeds I doused with regular-old 89 cents a bottle white vinegar are dead. Dead, dead, dead, dead! They looked like someone deep-fried 'em. I've written "Dandelion Death" on my spray bottle with a skull and crossbones, and I'm going out for more vinegar. My neighbors think I'm nuts because I've been setting fire to all the puffballs I can find and I mutter to myself as I'm spraying, but I don't care -- it works!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2005 at 8:17AM
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krazy_karma(z8a WA)

I read that vinegar will NOT kill the root, so the dandelions will come right back. Last year, I did the boiling water thing. Labor intensive, but it does work. The trick is to get that boiling water all the way down the taproot. This is difficult for me because our soil is so incredibly rocky. It's a constant battle.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2006 at 1:51PM
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We just moved out into the country and our yard is filled with dandelions! What is the best and fastest way to get rid of them? Am desperate as our neighbors have green clean cut lawns-it's embarrassing!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2007 at 12:22PM
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Way too many people are way too obsessed with this plant and as a consequence we are poisoning our world trying, without success, to eliminate it. Dandelion blossoms provide bees, which are dying off at alarming numbers, with an early spring food source as well as giving little children a flower they can pick without getting into much trouble. Dandelion greens provide a nutrient rich addition to your salads, they are very good for you. Dandelions can be crowded out of your lawn by proper lawn maintenance techniques which include not following the recommendation of the major lawn fertilizer companies that are more interested in selling you something (is it unAmerican to not buy stuff that is advertised?) whether you really need it or not. Mow your grass high, as high as your mower will permit, feed your lawn as needed including recycling the clippings right back into the lawn they came from, as indicated by a soil test not a direction from a company that wants to sell you something. When you have a good, healthy lawn you will have fewer "weeds" to worry about.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2007 at 8:07AM
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I had about 200 dandelions in my lawn last year (moved in to new house). This year I had about 5.

How did I win?

First- Last spring/summer, I plucked every single yellow flower before it turned into the deadly white puffball. Took hours over the course of time, but it depletes the dandelion of its food source through the flower.

Second- In the early fall, when they are actively pulling nutrients into their roots for the winter, I sprayed each & every single one on my 5000 sq. foot lawn, individually, with a glyphosate-based product, I think "Basic Solutions Grass & Weed killer". Roundup is too expensive for me. I also sprayed each & every single plantain on my lawn as well.

Third- I aerated in the fall, limed the lawn, and planted tons of turf-type tall fescue everywhere.

No plantains. No dandelions. Now I have bittercress, mouse ear cress, and a few others that I need to attack this season. I will attack them the same way.


    Bookmark   May 1, 2007 at 10:38AM
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why dont you just cut off all your hair and go buy a hat?

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 11:10PM
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