Dandelions and I don’t get along. When we were living in Brampton, they had just implemented a ‘no herbicide’ policy on city parks and properties. I get that. It’s better for the environment, which I do feel very strongly about, and our four legged friends don’t have to walk on the stuff, absorbing the chemicals through their paws and tracking it back to the house. But they sure make it hard to keep a healthy lawn! Worse yet, the homeowner behind us did NOTHING to maintain his yard so his THOUSANDS of weed seeds would inevitably blow through the fence and land on our property 😥 I had no previous experience with weeds. Or lawns and gardens for that matter: my parents always did that part of the yard work growing up–I was just left to water the lawn, and even then I was pretty bad at it! Now I’ve had some practice, I think I’ve found the most effective way to pull out dandelions by the roots, while minimizing the damage to the surrounding plant life. I’ve tried mowing over them, but the lawn mower just pushes them down, only to have them pop right back up a day later. I’ve tried those weed remover tools, but 90% of the time you only pull up the top part, along with the grass around it, plus leaving big holes in the soil (they say they don’t, but they do! 😦 ) and the roots are still left in the ground.
Here’s the Reenie-Approved Dandelion Removal Method (super official :-D)
- A day after a good rain (you want the soil to be nice and soft), take a shovel and position the blade about 2 or 3 inches away from the centre of the dandelion.
- Push the shovel into the soil as perpendicular as you can. Dandelion roots tend to grow deep and straight down. You want to avoid cutting through the root, but instead loosen the ground around it.
- Pull down on the handle of the shovel. This will lift the ground and the dandelion up a little.
- Leaving the shovel in the ground, bend down and push the surrounding ground away from the dandelion. Grasp ALL the leaves (thread out the grass if you can, you don’t want to pull out the grass) from the base of the plant and wiggle firmly in a wide circular motion until it lifts from the ground. Most of the time you should be able to lift at least 3 or 4 inches of root, but often you can even get out all 10 or 12 inches of root, which is very satisfying 😀 .
- Remove the shovel and flatten the lifted ground back to its original position with your foot, like replacing a divot on a golf course. There will be a little hole where the dandelion root was, which you can then refill with fresh soil and new grass seed.
One more thing: on those days you don’t have the time to deal with pulling them all out, quickly go over and detach all the flowers from the dandelions. At least you can prevent them from going to seed and spreading their DNA to your lawn and your neighbours’ lawns! There you have it! Good luck!