Dandelions are prolific indicators of the arrival of Spring, and you want them Dead.    First – and very important – understand the difference between selective herbicide (weed killer) and non-selective herbicide (grass, weed and everything else growing killer)  To kill weeds and not the grass you need selective herbicide formulated to TARGET THE WEEDS you want to kill, but NOT KILL YOUR GRASS.

   Read the label carefully before purchasing.  You want the selective herbicide that targets your WEEDS but not your GRASS.  So you will need to know what kind of weeds you have and what kind of grass you have.   Read the label carefully, there are conditions that can harm or kill your lawn when using herbicides incorrectly.  Air temperature limitations must be adhered to.  Limitations for use prior to seeding.  Limitations for use on newly established lawns.  Great caution must be used when applying around flowers, shrubs, bushes, ornamentals, trees, gardens etc.  The slightest amount of 2-4-D drifting onto a tomato plant will ruin the plant and all its fruit even without killing the plant.  Many other plants are sensitive to broadleaf herbicides.  So be careful is an understated precaution.  Did I say to read the directions?

The best time to kill weeds is (1) in the Fall and (2) in the Spring, when they are most actively growing.  There are several methods of application for herbicides.  

  • Ready to use liquid weed killer, available in gallon containers with small hose and pistol grip sprayer.  Ideal for spot treating a small lawn or small number of weeds.  No additional equipment needed.
  • Ready to use liquid concentrate sold in disposable hose end sprayer applicators.  Suitable for larger areas of heavily infested weeds.  Only a garden hose is needed for application
  • Liquid concentrate for the consumer to use a few ounces mixed with water in a one, two, or three gallon pump-up sprayer.  Ideal for spot treating weeds without drenching the lawn and soil with chemical herbicide.  Pump up sprayer is needed.
  • Same liquid concentrate may be used in a dial calibrated hose end sprayer.  Suitable for large areas of concentrated weeds.  Garden hose and hose end sprayer would be needed.
  • Granular weed n feed product.  Least effective and least recommended.  Very popular because of simplicity of use and extensive marketing.  Should be applied when the lawn is wet to get the herbicide to stick to the weeds and should not be watered in.  

2-4-D, the cheapest chemical weed killer, is very effective in controlling dandelions and many other broad leaf weeds found in the summer lawn.  Most weed killers contain 2-4-D and additional chemical herbicides to be effective on a long list of weeds.  

Linked here is the Ortho Weed-be-Gone Max concentrate label listing the weeds affected by it as well as precautions and mixing instructions.  Walmart and all the big home center stores sell this and generic brands of the same stuff at reduced prices.  Keeping your lawn properly watered, fertilized and cut long (3 inch minimum) is the best strategy to keep dandelions  and other weeds at bay.

Please use caution with this and all lawn chemicals.  Protect the environment.  Do not over-apply.   Use the smallest amount possible to get the job done.  Read the directions twice – Apply once.  

Also useful:    Ground Ivy Control       -      Spring Cleanup  

We encourage you to register and post your questions and comments in our forums.   We want you to feel welcome here.

Bill Hill