Dandelions are a widely recognized invasive weed in the home garden. Since dandelions spread easily, understanding what to look for and how to control this weed is a significant aspect of keeping a healthy landscape. Familiarize yourself with how to recognize dandelions, as well as which herbicide control is the most effective.
Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) are perennial weeds with speared, flat green leaves that remain close to the ground, according to University of Minnesota Extension. The dandelion's roots grow as deep as 2 feet into soil. The tall, single stalks are topped with single fluffy white, globe-shaped seed heads that form from flowers that display a vivid yellow hue, according to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Horticulture.
The seed head of the dandelion weed is formed to disperse seeds via wind. Dandelions are most likely to grow and thrive in areas with full-sun exposure in home lawns, according to the University of Minnesota Extension. The use of herbicides to remove dandelions is essential to home garden health; dandelions can ruin the aesthetic appeal of your lawn, clog lawnmower parts and compete with garden plants, according to the University of California's Integrated Pest Management Program.
Herbicides for Grass
For dandelions in grass, the postemergent herbicide 2,4-D is the most effective control method for killing mature weeds as well as managing seedlings, according to the University of California IPM. If there is only a small dandelion problem, apply the herbicide to each weed. For a more widespread problem, cover turf grass; however, realize that 2,4-D will kill other plants on contact, according to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Horticulture.
Herbicides for Ornamental Plants
For ornamental plantings infested with dandelions, preventive herbicide application is imperative. This is a little more complicated for the home gardener than dealing with turf grass as the herbicides are not suitable for home application. Contact a professional for the spray of isoxaben or oxyfluorfen before germination of dandelion seeds, according to the University of California IPM.
Spring is the most effective time for application of dandelion herbicides, preferably during May, as desirable plants in the line of spray drift will be sturdier and more likely to survive, according to the University of Minnesota Extension. In autumn, these plants will display new growth that is more vulnerable to herbicidal damage. Apply herbicides in non-windy, rain-free conditions with a temperature range from 60 to 79 degrees F.