The Q&A Archives: Lawns

Question: We have a dog, and as a result I do not use a chemical weed and feed in our backyard where he spends most of his time. Now I have an enormous amount of dandelions. Can you offer and alternative in avoiding this situation in the future?

Answer: Dandelions are perennial weeds that can be difficult to control. The least toxic approach is to dig them out by hand, root and all, using a digging prong. Mowing off the flowers to prevent them from spreading seed is also helpful. And, keeping a healthy turf tends to crowd them out over time. Mowing high and mowing often enough that you never remove more than one third the grass height at a time helps develop thick strong turf that can shade out weeds as well. Finally, you may find that your soil needs to be limed to adjust the pH so it is less acid, dandelions seem to thrive while grass slows in acidic soil. You could run some basic soil tests to check the fertility and pH and adjust as needed based on the test results. Your local extension service has information about soil testing and also lawn maintenance at their web site.

Good luck with the lawn this summer!

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