You pull into your driveway one day after work to see your lawn has been invaded by yellow flowers. You may think a few things. Why do I have yellow flowers in my lawn? What must the neighbors think? How did this happen? Will it go away or get worse? Am I on the TV Show Carbanaro Effect because these things just magically appeared since I left for work? The yellow flower in your lawn is a broadleaf weed called Dandelions. Don’t worry. Below is a game plan how to take control of this yellow flower in your lawn.
You are not on a TV show. Your neighbors probably have noticed and are worried about the dandelions spreading into their lawns. It happened because that is Mother Nature. Dandelions invade where they can. Usually bare/thin spots in lawns. Will it go away? It will if you follow these tips:
1) Have a professional lawn service spot spray the yellow flower with a postmergent selective herbicide. If the dandelions cover the entire lawn, you may need the lawn treatment company to spray the entire lawn the first time. If you would like to do it yourself – Purchase a product like Ortho Weed B Gon and spot spray the dandelions. Make sure to follow the label and keep children/pets off for at least 4 hours. Make sure the product says weed killer and NOT grass and weed killer. If you spray something like Round Up (non-selective herbicide) your lawn will have spots of dead grass all over within a week or two. Your neighbors will definitely notice that. It happens quite often this time of the year.
2) Set up a plan with the lawn service to stay on top of spot spraying them periodically. The best times to hit dandelions in Cincinnati and Dayton is in the Spring and Fall. In the Fall, everything is going down to the root system so the dandelions absorb the herbicide very efficiently.
3) Mowing High- Cutting the grass at 3-4 inches after it has been mowed is a great natural dandelion control. It helps the grass “crowd out” the dandelions and also does beneficial things such as promoting deep roots and reducing stress from fungus, insects, and drought. Do it this year. I bet you see a huge difference. You will have less weeds, need to water less, and also have a darker green lawn. Who doesn’t want that?
4) Collect Weed Seeds – Normally we suggest mulching your grass clippings back into your lawn. It adds organic matter and recycles nutrients from the fertilizer applied. If you have a sea of puff balls (dandelions have went to seed) – Then bag the clippings. This will reduce the amount of dandelions that will pop up next year at that time.
5) Put Grass Seed Down in Bare/Thin Areas – Dandelions can be indicating different things. Sometimes low calcium. Sometimes it is just saying I enjoy how thin and bare this lawn is. Thank you for allowing a perfect environment for me to thrive. All weeds, not just dandelions will invade spots like this. Stop this by putting down grass seed in these spots. The ideal time for this in Cincinnati and Dayton is in the Fall (Sept-Early Oct), but if it is a big spot, wait a week or two after you spot treated the weeds and put down seed in those spots. Use turf type tall fescue grass seed and work the soil with a Garden Weasel or metal rake. Need to get grass to germinate quick? Use perennial ryegrass mix (not annual ryegrass). This grass germinates in 3 days instead of 14-21 days. After you seeded the spots, do not let the soil dry out for 2-3 weeks and you will reduce the chances of more dandelions popping up in that spot.
6) Last tip would be to relax. Dandelions are not the worst thing that can happen. To many it is a flower and not a pest or weed. It can be used to produce tea, food, wine and beer. So go drink a sweet glass of dandelion tea or a cold glass of dandelion beer as you admire your sea of yellow dandelions. Better yet, call Purelawn and let us take care of it for you so you can spend your leisure time doing something you enjoy.