When the weather is cool and rainy, most people don't think too much about weeding. In autumn, they figure weeds like dandelions will die over the winter and forget about the seeds being joyously sprayed throughout the garden, just waiting to grow in the springtime.
And in spring, they assume weeds won't take over until it really warms up, but weeds are lurking out there right now, reveling in the weather, growing happily in neglect.
I'm going to let you in on a little secret: spring and autumn are both perfect times for pulling weeds, especially dandelions.
The deep soaking rains and the cooler weather help immeasurably with the daunting task of getting those taproots out in one piece.
It's time to tackle those tenacious weeds and if you follow my three tips for dandelion pulling now and in the fall, you will be greeted with quite a few less golden orbs in your lawn and garden.
Tip 1: Weather is Key
Wait until the day after a nice, deep, soaking rain. You want the soil to be moist, but not soaking wet. The water in the soil loosens it, making it easier to remove the root system.
Tip 2: Use Tools to Your Advantage
If you don't already have the tool called a dandelion weeder or long-pronged weeder, consider adding one to your collection.
In the battle against dandelions this tool will be your greatest friend and ally.
The tool is used by plunging the long metal spike into the ground as close to the center of the dandelion as possible without breaking the main root. It may be necessary to lift the leaves up to get underneath.
If any of your dandelions have gone or are going to seed you should delicately remove the seed heads before this step as all the wiggling is certain to send those little white seeds flying.
Next wiggle the tool both left to right and front to back. The purpose of the tool is not to pull out the roots, but to loosen the soil around the taproot, making it easier to pull out by hand.
Tip 3: Take it Slow
Using too much force too quickly will cause the taproot to snap. Pull only with the force you can manage using only your fingers or wrist. Do not pull with your arm. If the root does not slide out of the soil easily, take the time to use your dandelion weeder more. Loosen the deeper soil and move it around, loosening the soil on all sides of the taproot.
If you follow these tips you should end up with a beautiful, dandelion-free lawn. Don't be discouraged if a few taproots do end up snapping off. Achieving a dandelion-free lawn is a multistep process, but one that is highly rewarding once complete.
You can throw your pulled dandelions in the yard waste or compost pile, but you also have another option: you can eat them! They are delicious and nutritious. Just be sure you haven't used any chemicals on the lawn or in the garden.