Bob Vila Radio: Dandelions

Before you cover your lawn in chemicals that could harm the environment, consider these tips for friendlier dandelion removal.

Kids love them, but landscapers hate them. I’m talking about dandelions, whose cheerful yellow flowers can make you want to tear your hair out when they pop up again and again on your lawn.

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Listen to BOB VILA ON DANDELIONS or read the text below:

Dandelions

Photo: mnn.com

If you want to erase dandelions without using chemicals that could harm the environment, be prepared to use a little elbow grease. The single best way to keep the weed from taking over is to dig out individual plants before they get well established, and before that pretty yellow flower morphs into the dandelion’s distinctive puffy seed head. Use a long, skinny weeding tool to remove as much of the taproot as you can. Dig deep—if you don’t get the whole root, the dandelion will be back.

Mow your lawn frequently and set the blade high, since cutting too low weakens your grass (and a weak lawn is an open invitation to all kinds of weeds). Have your soil tested to see if you need to add calcium, which makes your lawn less inviting to dandelions. And finally, resign yourself to ongoing digging—those puffy little balls that kids love to blow on can carry seeds for very long distances. So even if you and all your neighbors practice dandelion control, it’s a good bet that you’ve got new seeds blowing your way right now.

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 75 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.