The dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is probably the most common broadleaf weed seen in cool season turf. It is most easily identified by round bright yellow flowers (about one inch in diameter) on leafless hollow stems. It has other identifiable features:
- Long jagged-tooth leaves in the form of a rosette
- “Puff-ball” seed carrier
- Exudes latex (milky white liquid) when broken or damaged
- Thick taproot (often several inches in length)
It is a perennial – the leaves may die off above the ground surface but they will grow back from the taproot. While the flowers can be seen in spring and fall, they are most prevalent in April and grow most quickly in higher moisture conditions.
Dandelions are both fast growing and incredibly hardy. It can spread both by seeds and by new shoots from roots or root segments. The seeds are easily blown around by wind and will quickly spread into adjoining downwind areas.
Maintaining a healthy, dense vigorous yard is the best way to discourage dandelion growth. Adequate fertilization, proper mowing and irrigation practices, the right varieties of turf and appropriate insect and disease control all help to minimize dandelion occurrence. Mowing the turfgrass area as soon as dandelion flower heads become visible will minimize development and spreading of seeds. Avoid low nitrogen fertility where possible, as it can result in higher dandelion populations due to less competition from the more desirable turfgrass species.
Proper application of fertilizer + post-emergent weed control products is critical to obtain the desired control of dandelions. The lawn should be mowed 2-3 days before application. During application, if the turf leaves are wet from dew or light irrigation, this will enhance the particles sticking to the leaf surfaces, which will in turn improve efficacy. Minimize traffic on the lawn for 24 hours after application for best results. The lawn should not be mowed again until 2-3 days after application. The products can be applied in the spring or in the fall. The dandelions will begin to die more quickly if actively growing. Depending on the product chosen, these products will also control many other types of broadleaf weeds. Read and follow all label directions when using these products.
Products offered as granules by Lebanon Turf for dandelion control include LockUp®, Confront® and Trimec®.
Some recommended options for controlling Dandelions and other broadleaf weeds are:
ProScape 19-0-6 33% MESA Confront3 + .145 Dimension - This is a fertilizer with both pre-emergent and post-emergent herbicides.
Other options can be found in our weed control product section.
LockUp and Confront are registered trademarks of Corteva AgriScience. Trimec is a registered trademark of PBI/Gordon Corporation.