Questions? Write Me at

Questions? Write me at fullcirclegardener @ cableone . net.

Dandelions Everywhere: Experiment's Tentative Results

Common Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

I have dandelions everywhere in my yard and this spring I started looking for a non-chemical control method that would be family friendly in hopes of ending the invasion.  I ended up using chemical on my front lawn and set up an experiment in my back lawn to try one common and one not-so-common weed control method.

I set up five plots in my yard.  One was a control and the other four I used hot water, boiling water, pull only or boiling water and pulling in combination to see if I could come up with an effective non-chemical control method.

Two weeks ago I pulled dandelions and boiled water all day.  Honestly, I almost gave up on the project shortly after I started it, but decided I would get some valuable information if I followed through with it (besides what would I tell you! Thanks for keeping me accountable!)  Now I have some tentative results to share with you.

Tentative Results:

Hot Water:  I abandoned this application before I started it.  I decided that while I expect the top to be killed, that there was no way that it would kill enough root to kill the whole plant and therefore was a waste of my time and energy.

Boiling Water
Boiling water:  I brought a large pot of water up to a rolling boil and then immediately carried it out and poured it onto the plants.  The plants turned a 'cooked vegetable' green and then a sickly brown/green.  After a week I noticed brown spots in my lawn.  I am still waiting to see if the dandelions will return from the root, but the boiling water definitely killed the grass and everything around it.

Pull Only
Pulling Only:  I used the dandelion puller that my husband had bought me a couple of years ago.  This tool is most effective when the soil is moist.  I have a pile of pulled dandelions from this and it's adjoining plot.  I am still waiting to see how much return I get from roots.

Pull and Boiling Water
Pull and Boiling Water:  I used my dandelion puller when the soil was moist and then brought water to a rolling and immediately poured it into the holes left by the dandelion puller.  Again about a week later, I noticed brown spots in the lawn where I'd pour the water.  I still killed the grass but I don't think it is quite as bad as just pouring boiling water onto the plant.  I am still waiting to see if I killed the dandelion roots as well... here's to hoping!

I will keep you updated on my final results, but I have come to two conclusions already.

1) If you do not want to kill all of the vegetation around the dandelion boiling water is not a good choice, but it is a good killer if you are looking to kill weeds in driveway or sidewalk cracks.  I plan to replace the use of Round-up with this application in many places.

2) All applications are too labor intensive and time consuming for an overwhelming 'infestation' of dandelions.  Unfortunately, I will be using chemical to get an upper hand on the dandelions before next winter.  Depending on the final results of this experiment I will use one or more of these methods for spot control following years.  No more neglecting the few in my yard!

Happy Gardening (and Experimenting)! :)

Other posts in this series can be found here:

Dandelions Everywhere!

Dandelions Everywhere and I'm Experimenting...

Dandelions Everywhere: Experiment's Tentative Results

Dandelions Everywhere: The Experiment One Year Later

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