Dandelions may add some brilliant color to your lawn, but they can be as stubborn as crabgrass or any other weed. Their deep tap roots make them pretty difficult to get rid of. However, they are not too difficult for pre-emergents to handle.
Pre-emergent herbicides have proven to be a lifesaver on numerous occasions. They can literally stop dandelions, and they are also very effective in the control of various types of weeds. In this article, I’ll be showing you how to use pre-emergents to rid your lawn of every form of dandelion. Are you ready?
What Are Dandelions
Dandelion is a class of herb with European origin. The most common species is Taraxacum officinale. It is a plant with pretty bright yellow flowers. Although it has European origin, it grows in most parts of the world.
I know you probably want to get rid of the dandelion in your lawn, but you’ve got to know that not everyone considers it to be a weed. Dandelions are very medicinal. As a matter of fact, a lot of folks use their leaves and flowers for various healing needs.
Nonetheless, I didn’t write this article to convince you to keep dandelions scattered around your lawn. They can be pretty annoying; at least, I’ve experienced their doggedness first hand. They’ve got very potent taproots than can grow even if you cut off the plant at the stem.
The seeds are just as potent. One dandelion is capable of giving rise to hundreds of others. That’s why you’ve got to handle them well if you indeed want to get rid of them.
How Does Pre-emergent Herbicide Works
In order to know the best time and procedure of applying pre-emergents to your lawn, let’s take a look at how it works.
#1. Pre-emergent is for ungerminated weeds
Just as the name suggests, pre-emergents are herbicides suited for weeds that are yet to appear on the surface of the soil. It means they are ineffective on existing or germinated weeds. Pre-emergent has growth inhibitors that form a barrier against the further growth of the weeds. Likewise, it prevents the weed from taking further roots into the soil.
#2. Pre-emergents can affect your turf
Turfs are not immune to pre-emergents. A lot of folks have complained about their lawn being dormant after they applied pre-emergents. This side effect is the core reason you shouldn’t seed while applying pre-emergents.
This is because the pre-emergents can treat your turf like a weed. For best results, you can seed your lawn about six weeks before you apply the pre-emergents. Alternatively, you can seed after three months after you’ve applied the pre-emergents.
#3. Pre-emergents acts only in areas it’s applied
You shouldn’t expect your pre-emergents to work 100% if it’s not applied correctly. The goal should be to cover as many surface areas as possible.
Suppose you apply your spray in your entire lawn, leaving a fraction unattended to, you’ll still have dandelions to deal with in the ignored area.
How To Apply Pre-Emergents
After all said, let’s take a look at how to apply the pre-emergents on your lawn.
#1. Clear The Lawn Of Debris
Debris can be strong opposition to the good work you seek to accomplish in your lawn. If the re-emerged falls on the debris, it obviously won’t touch the soil.
And when you eventually take them out, pre-emergent granules may go with them. So it’s advisable you tend your lawn, raking out every unwanted stuff before the main herbicide application begins.
#2. Choose The Type Of Granules
The primary ways pre-emergents can be applied are as granules or liquid formulations. Both of them are pretty effective. The granules are water-soluble and will decompose when it comes in contact with moisture.
The water formulations, on the other hand, start to work almost immediately it is applied. But ensure you mix it in the right proportion to avoid an uneven application of the key elements.
#3. Don’t Apply It On Hard Surfaces
Irrespective of the type of pre-emergent that best suits you, ensure you don’t spray it on hard surfaces where water can easily wash it away unto unwanted areas.
Such surfaces include roads, pavements, or walkways. Just ensure you channel the energy towards the lawn. A lot of folks prefer granules because anyone that falls on the wrong surface can be picked up or swept easily.
#4. Water The Lawn
Pre-emergents are water-activated. The water mixes with the herbicide to form pre-emergent barriers a few inches below the surface level.
For best results, water the lawn, within 21 days after applying the herbicide. You can do this just a few days before the rainfall, or you can use any artificial watering or irrigation technique to supply water to the lawn.
When To Apply Pre-Emergent Herbicides
The best time to apply pre-emergents is in early Spring or Fall. During this time, the dandelions are beginning to sprout. That means the herbicide can kill them before they sprout. Spring herbicide is pretty effective because it will prevent the weeds that often rise in Summer.
You can apply the pre-emergents when the Spring temperature is still dancing between 36 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit. But an optimum temperature of 55 degrees is best. This should be around March/April, about two weeks before the dandelion seeds germinate.
Nonetheless, pre-emergents herbicides can be applied at any time in the year as long as it’s not during overseeding. Just as I mentioned earlier, if you want to carry out overseeding in your lawn, apply the pre-emergents about three months after your overseeding operation. Another way around it is to seed now and apply the pre-emergents in about six weeks later.
Natural Way Of Removing Dandelion
If you don’t like the idea of using chemicals of any sort on your lawn, then a natural dandelion removal plan should work. Forget the fancy word, “natural,” what I mean is hand-digging the lawn for dandelions.
This is really not a very cool method. It’s pretty stressful and difficult, especially if you’ve got a very large lawn. Nonetheless, it is the most effective way of getting rid of stubborn weeds. With hand-digging, you can remove the plant with its taproots.
I’ll emphasize it again. You’ve got to remove the entire taproot of the dandelion. This is because a few inches of the taproot is enough to give rise to another dandelion in the space where you remove its parent one.
For best results, this should be carried out in spring, just before the first set of dandelion begin to poke their heads out of the ground. The truth is, you may not be able to plug out all of them in a day.
So you’ve got to be on the look. Once you see another dandelion rising, you resume your hand-digging duty.
Pre-emergents are very effective on dandelions. A lot of folks love this weed for its numerous health benefits, but that shouldn’t blackmail you into keeping them if they deface your lawn. Just ensure you observe proper timing for the application, so you don’t end up killing your turf in the process of application.