I recently bought a house in the country. My lawns are chock full of dandelions. There is wild grass and dry arid soil. Many small rocks as well as we are located on the side of a small mountain. How do I get rid of the dandelions which virtually cover the entire lawn, without destroying the grass. What little there is.
Truman from Sooke, BC, Canada
Dandelions have deep roots and they're probably holding your dry arid soil together. You should consider keeping them. I don't know why so many people hate dandelions, they look so cheerful. Wish I had more!
Thank you for all your responses. I will try some of them for sure. I have little or no experience with lawns especially lawns that grow on the side of a mountain. Very rocky ground in places. There is some grass but it looks like wild grass. In other words not planted by a landscaper when the house was built in the '90s.
How about if you contact a local nursery and ask about a self sowing ground cover that doesn't need mowing? Since it's on the side of a small mountain, you wouldn't want to mow it anyway. Too exhausting and dangerous. Might take a few years to fight off the dandelions, but at least it will cover the bare spots.
A lot of farmers keep sheep just to mow/eat the grass. You may not want to be this involved in animal husbandry, but is there a neighbor whose flock might need a new pasture from time to time?
I'd say keep 'em. It is healthier than spraying toxic weed killers on them making those in your house and your neighbors ill.
Additionally, I have recently heard via homeopaths that an overabundance of dandelions usually means lack of health of the people in the area. I am not exactly sure how true this rings, but it is something to consider.
If you or your neighbors do not spray, you could be raking in some extra cash for healthy organic dandelion greens. But make sure NO ONE sprays in your locale.
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Hardiness Zone: 8a
You can dig out the dandelions one by one. You can kill them with weed 'n feed, be sure to borrow your neighbor's spreader to avoid green streaks. Be sure to water the lawn every 2-3 days, and the best tip I can give you is this: don't mow it so short! If the grass is 4 inches tall, then the roots go 4 inches deep. If the grass is repeatedly cut to an inch or two, then it will draw life from the roots trying to put up more leaf, and have short roots, and go dead when there's less than daily water! A 4" deep lawn looks green and trim and nice, nobody comes over with a ruler to see if you mowed it shorter or not. That way all the seeds that you don't see that are brought in by the wind will have half as much luck getting started. Most of them will sprout while they are above ground and then die properly, avoiding giving you lots of trouble. Good luck!
Everything I know about lawns I learned from managing dairy heifers on pasture with New Zealand methods of rotation. Oh, forgot to mention, I use steer manure from the store (better from a nearby dairy that does composting) and rake an inch of it into the lawn in winter, where it adds the life, the living things that make the soil feed the grass plants. Even if you put commercial fertilizer on your grass, with or without weedkiller, it won't get utilized evenly without the living things in the soil, hence streakiness.
Weedkiller by the way survives and runs down the street into the storm drain, where it hurts the fish in the lakes and so on. I wouldn't use it unless you were desperate. You can hire a kid to dig out the dandelions, this time of year they are all hungry for work fresh out of school. Good luck! (06/06/2007)
By Kim Ch
Dig up the dandelions and eat them. They will soon disappear...then plant lawn seed.. (06/07/2007)
Also 8A. Our lawn has looked like that, too, after a particularly harsh winter.
We make a point of keeping it watered (check with your city's drought policy), barely mowing it so that it's always tall (second notch down on the mower), putting on weed killer several times a year (Jan., March or April depending on the weeds, Oct).
I'm not happy about the weed killer stuff, but spouse loves it.
Try going organic and spread corn gluten meal WHEN THERE ARE FEW WEEDS - because it'll make everything grow. It's a pre-emergent for weeds, but you have to make sure the situation hasn't gotten so bad you decided to put it out - because by then you have too many weeds to use it because it's also a great fertilizer.
After a rain, it's easier to pull weeds. The dallis grass is mostly shallow rooted (looks like Bermuda but are tall weeds sticking up).
Frankly, I've been wanting to try the buffalo grass - heard nice things about it and haven't found where to buy it. In the shade you'll want St. Augustine, so don't try to grow bermuda.
We've actually replaced the lawn here several times - and am not going to do that any more. Too expensive and too much work. Easier and cheaper to take care of what you've got.
The spray anti-weed won't work until the nights are warm, so don't waste your time.
If you are planning on chemically wiping out the whole lawn, do it when it's not going to rain.
Frustrating, isn't it? (06/07/2007)
USE HOMEMADE WEED KILLER, IT'S VINEGAR, DISH DETERGENT AND HOT WATER. SPRAY EACH PLANT IF YOU CAN WHEN IT'S A HOT DAY. AND BELIEVE IT OR NOT SPRAY YOUR LAWN WITH BEER. EPSOM SALTS ARE REAL GOOD FOR LAWNS. GONNA TAKE WORK AND DILIGENCE BUT IT CAN BE DONE. (06/07/2007)