dandelions weeds
Photo: David Cavagnaro
Believe it or not, there really is a way to pull out even stubborn dandelions so they don't come back.
Weed-free lawns are the stuff of dreams and championship golf courses. In fact, when you consider the tenacity of weeds, it's a wonder any of us win the pitched battles we wage with these pesky invaders. Just one dandelion plant makes up to 15,000 seeds, each of which can survive six years in the soil—creating 15,000 more seeds when it sprouts and matures.

Synthetic herbicides are the usual response to chronic weed problems. But used unwisely, these chemical weed killers can be dangerous to people, pets and turf. And unless you get at the underlying problems that weaken lawns and favor weeds, you might have to apply herbicides frequently.

The best way to control dandelions and other weeds in your yard is to grow a thick, vigorous lawn. Dense grass crowds out weeds and blocks the sunlight their seeds need to germinate. If only a few weeds dot your lawn, changing your maintenance tactics might be all it takes to get rid of them. And if your efforts at hand-to-hand combat haven't worked, take heart. There really is a way to pull out even stubborn dandelions so they don't come back.

PLAN YOUR APPROACH
No single herbicide, weeding technique or lawn care tactic works against all weeds. How you attack the weeds in your lawn depends on which you have. Lawn weeds fall under three broad categories: unwanted grasses; grasslike plants called sedges; and broadleaf plants. Most are annuals or perennials. Annuals complete their life cycle in one season and reproduce from seeds. Perennials live several years and spread underground as well as by seed, making them harder to control.

The following guide shows examples of the different types of weeds that plague lawns throughout the country. If you're still stumped about whether yellow nutsedge or yellow woodsorrel has invaded your turf, call the extension service in your area for help from experts.
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