Broadleaf weeds, which include dandelions, are some of the most pervasive and difficult to control lawn weeds. Dandelions are also one of the leading sources of homeowner complaints. This is particularly true in the spring. Dandelions always seem to poke their yellow heads out of the ground at the most inopportune time. Here are a few things you should consider when planning for dandelion and general broadleaf weed control.
Granular vs spray herbicides
Most dandelion (broadleaf) herbicides are absorbed more by foliage than by roots. For this reason the most efficient way to get these materials into the weeds is with a foliar spray application. While there are a number of good products on the market, liquids come with a few drawbacks. Proper mixing is essential to get good results and avoid damaging your lawn. It is also very important to have the appropriate safety gear on hand and use it properly when handling concentrates. Spray equipment must be properly maintained and calibrated. Finally, you must be very careful with sprays on windy days, as a spray is much more likely to end up off target when it’s windy.
Granular applications are very effective when done properly and far more convenient for the homeowner. Some fertilizers with weed control like GreenView Fairway Formula Spring Fertilizer Weed & Feed and Crabgrass Preventer provides excellent control even when applied to dry weeds. However, for best results most granular products benefit from being applied when there is some dew or moisture on the foliage. This helps the granule stick and transfers more herbicide to the leaf surface. Choosing a granule with a small light particle can also help improve control. Granular products like those offered by GreenView, not only save labor, they will also improve the color, thickness and health of your turf and help your lawn be more resistant to weed pressure. Granular applications are also easier to control on windy days and require a spreader for application.
When to apply dandelion (broadleaf) weed control/ herbicide products
Dandelion (broadleaf) post-emergent herbicides are growth regulators that mimic hormones in the plant. To work they must be absorbed and moved to the site of activity, usually a growing point in the root or leaf. For this reason the best time to apply these materials is when the dandelions and broadleaf weeds are actively growing, hence the term “post-emergent”. The more active the growth the better these materials will work. Because larger weeds generally tolerate more herbicide than small ones it is also best to try to control dandelions and broadleaf weeds before they become fully-grown.
Healthy turf is very tolerant of broadleaf herbicides so there is a considerable safety margin. However, stress factors such as drought or heat can predispose turf to damage. Don’t apply fertilizers or herbicides under drought conditions or when temperatures exceed 80°F. In general newly seeded areas should be mowed two to three times before you apply a broadleaf herbicide.
Broadleaf weed control products and links
To keep your lawn weed free, follow an annual fertilization program developed by agronomy experts. Check out the GreenView Annual Lawn Plan.
GreenView Fairway Formula Spring Fertilizer with Weed & Feed and Crabgrass Preventer is a formulation (24-0-6) for use on residential lawns and controls over 200 difficult weeds such as dandelions and crabgrass. This product does not contain any phosphates and should be applied to wet foliage for best results.