Although we often think of flowers as being attractive, this is typically not when they are sprouting from your lawn. Dandelions can be quite annoying to have in your turf, but there are ways to remove them and get rid of weeds like these for good. In our guide on how to get rid of dandelions, we will provide:

  • How to remove dandelions manually
  • Tips for getting rid of dandelions for good
  • Why you have dandelions in your yard, to begin with

About Dandelions

Dandelions are perennial weeds that spread very easily both from seed and roots. That means that any existing plants will grow and spread each year, with new plants sprouting left, right, and down the block!

Dandelions bloom in the spring and fall, with yellow flowers turning into white seed heads that release their airborne seeds in the slightest breeze. With airborne seeds capable of traveling for miles, it’s impossible to eliminate dandelions altogether, especially if your neighbors’ lawns are infested. However, the good news is that you can easily target and remove individual dandelion plants in your yard before they spread further.

When trying to rid your lawn of dandelions, the most important thing to remember is the taproot. Dandelion plants send a strong root straight down, up to 6”- 8” deep. To get rid of the dandelion, you have to remove this entire root, or it will simply sprout again from the remaining root.

Hand weeding tool.
Use a dandelion weeding knife or weed grubber to remove the entire root.

How To Control Dandelions

Dig early: The best way to control dandelions is to catch them in the spring before they spread. As soon as you see a dandelion, grub out the entire plant, including the taproot (at least 6” deep). Broken pieces of dandelion root will sprout new plants! Go out when the soil is soft from rain or watering, and use a dandelion knife or weed grubber to get the entire root system.

Mow and Bag: When dandelions are blooming, mow your lawn often to prevent the blooms from going to seed. If you do have dandelion seed heads, use a bag attachment to collect clippings and reduce seed spreading, or hand-cut the seed heads straight into a plastic bag.

Keep Lawn Thick: The healthier your lawn, the harder it will be for dandelion seeds to germinate and grow. Keep your mower blade set at the maximum mowing height for your lawn type, to allow the grass to smother out any dandelion seedlings.

Test Soil: Dandelions grow best in slightly alkaline soil (pH over 7), whereas lawn grasses like neutral-to-slightly-acidic soil (pH 6.5). Conduct a soil test to find out the pH of the soil in your yard, and add amendments as needed.

Herbicides: Standard broadleaf herbicides will usually control dandelions, particularly if applied during the fall when the plants are storing up nutrients in their roots. General herbicides and weed control methods such as post-emergent herbicides like Roundup, burning with a propane torch, and dousing with boiling water also work, but they’ll kill the grass, too. Spraying dandelions with vinegar may kill only the foliage, leaving the roots to sprout again. Pre-emergent herbicides (that stop the germination of seeds) haven’t shown much clinical effectiveness with dandelions, but some gardeners report success with corn gluten meal.

Yellow dandelion, seen growing on a green grassy lawn.
Dandelions bloom in both the spring and fall with yellow flowers. (©Elena Odareeva, Adobe Stock Photos)

Manually Removing Dandelions: How To Steps

There are several ways to get rid of dandelion plants, but one of those is to remove them by hand. It would be great if you could just walk over and pull these yellow flowers out of the ground, but removing these dandelion plants may take a little more prep and effort.

Materials and Tools Required

You will need a small weed remover and a little spray bottle of water. When the plant and the area surrounding it is wet, the weed becomes much easier to remove. Once you have your supplies, you can follow these steps to remove the dandelion.

Steps for Easy Dandelion Removal

  • Wet the soil around the plant so that it is moist and easy to dig
  • Insert your weed remover tool down below the dandelion roots
  • At the same time that you pull up on the stem and flower of the plant, put up with the weed remover tool
  • As you do this, you should feel the entire plant become loose, and you will help prevent more dandelion seeds from germinating by removing the whole plant
  • Ensure that the entire taproot is out and if you have any doubts, apply a herbicide in the area where the hand pulling took place

Spot Spray Treatment: How To Steps

Although manual removal is an effective way to remove dandelion plans, there are sometimes issues with not getting all of the seed heads or the fact that these broadleaf weeds may have taken over a large portion of your lawn. If that is the case, you can spray your lawn with a herbicide that will kill the dandelions.

Materials and Tools Required

To spot spray your lawn for dandelions, you will not need a post-emergent herbicide. Although it is always best to treat with a pre-emergent herbicide, if these quick-growing lawn weeds are already apparent, chances are you will need the post-emergent.

The most crucial factor here is choosing a herbicide that will not impact your lawn. Natural herbicides are non-selective and will kill any grass in the area. However, for typical dandelion control, you should be able to use a post-emergent broadleaf herbicide that is selective.

You will also need a sprayer or spreader to apply the weed killer as well as a watering source to ensure this process is completed properly.

Steps to Spot Spray for Dandelion Flowers

Here are the basic steps to apply weed killer to your grass and spot spray for dandelions. However, to maintain a healthy lawn, it’s an excellent idea to read the packaging of the weed killer you purchased.

  • Purchase a broadleaf weed control that specifically states it is suitable for dandelions and will also handle other perennial weeds like crabgrass
  • Ensure this is not a non-selective herbicide that will also kill your turfgrass
  • Follow the package directions for application rates and instructions
  • Most of the time, broadleaf perennials are impacted after just a few days of being exposed to the weed killer
  • Take a look at the weeds that have died and make sure the dandelion taproots are dead as well
  • Be very careful as to the timing of application; it can be considered poor lawn care to apply herbicides during certain times of the year (mostly mid-summer when it is very hot)

What Kills Dandelions?

Dandelions are killed by quite a few things; however, some of these things are also going to kill nearby plants and grass. When choosing a dandelion killer, make sure that you are carefully considering the impact that it has on the surrounding area. Here are the most common dandelion killers:

  • Corn Gluten
  • White Vinegar
  • Boiling Water
  • Acetic acid
  • Roundup
  • Broadleaf Herbicides
  • A Manual dandelion puller

The Best Time to Spray Dandelions

Typically speaking, it’s best to handle these bright yellow flowers in the fall so that by the early spring, your grass can be dandelion free. However, sometimes this window of opportunity is missed, and a dandelion will make it through the cold season and take over in the spring.

Make sure that the outdoor temperature is above 60 degrees. Also, take a look at the weather and ensure that the conditions are not going to bring a large storm in the next day. Applying spray just before a storm will be a waste of your chemical.


One of the great things to know about dandelions is that if you properly maintain your lawn and surrounding flower beds, the chance of these weed seeds popping up and spreading over your lawn is quite slim. Here are some additional tips to ensure that the next new plant in your yard is not an invasive one.

How to Kill Dandelions Naturally

One of the best ways to kill dandelions naturally is to use boiling water or vinegar to kill the plants. If a weeder and weeding knife sound like a nightmare to you, these natural weed-killing methods can help. The only problem with this is that any nearby grass seed or grass shoots will also die, so you have to be precise when applying any of the natural herbicides.

How to Kill Dandelions Without Killing Grass

There are only two ways to kill dandelions without killing grass. The first is to use a selective herbicide or broadleaf weed killer. The second is to pull them by hand. Remember, when removing them by hand, you can’t just pull the fluffy seed head out of the ground; the entire tap root needs to come along.

Know Your Grass Type

When using a herbicide, you will need to know the type of grass you have. If you choose the wrong herbicide, your grass will die along with the dandelions, and this is detrimental.

How to Permanently Get Rid of and Prevent Dandelions

Getting rid of dandelions permanently is going to take some good preventative measures. Here are some steps to take to ensure you are not dealing with this problem season after season.

  • Mow your grass by taking just 1/3 off the top, do not wait for it to get incredibly long as it will stress the current grass and make it difficult for it to recover, and dandelion seeds will sprout.
  • Treat your lawn with a pre-emergent herbicide to ensure there are no issues with dandelions even coming up.
  • Water for long periods but less frequently
  • Leave clippings in the turf as a form of mulch; the organic matter can be good for the soil
  • Do a soil test and ensure that it is adequately prepared for any season
  • Fertilize your lawn on a regular schedule to maintain its overall health

Hire a Professional

If dandelions have genuinely taken over your property and you feel there is no other way to treat the issue, hiring a professional is always possible. A professional will come in and assess the damage and come up with a plan that will work for your specific property.

The best professional service for dandelion removal is TruGreen. TruGreen has spent more than 15 years in the industry, and they can handle everything from mowing and trimming to fertilization and weed control.

Get a Lawn Quote in 30 Seconds

Editorial Contributors
Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio,, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

Learn More

Lora Novak

Senior Editor

Lora Novak meticulously proofreads and edits all commercial content for Today’s Homeowner to guarantee that it contains the most up-to-date information. Lora brings over 12 years of writing, editing, and digital marketing expertise. She’s worked on thousands of articles related to heating, air conditioning, ventilation, roofing, plumbing, lawn/garden, pest control, insurance, and other general homeownership topics.

Learn More

Comments are closed.