What is the safest way to kill dandelions

Hello, My lawn is infested with dandelions. Last summer I used this removal tool, hoping that would remove the roots and get rid of them for good. Now this spring my lawn is covered in dandelions again!
Any ideas on what I can do. I live in a subdivsion close to city water so I'm looking for a safe way to kill them without using crazy pesticides.
Any ideas or tips would be appriciated. Thanks, Rob Sullivan
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Rob Sullivan wrote:

As far as "crazy" pesticides, our lazy cat is fairly good at taking out the chipmunks and voles. I don't know about "crazy" herbicides. I do spot-applications of Bonide Broadleaf weed killer. It takes a few years, but I probably had fewer than a dozen dandelions on an acre this year. The herbicide also works well on ground ivy, ajuga and a number of other weeds. As long as you don't broadcast it, there is no damage done.
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On Sun, 15 May 2005 13:53:36 +0000, Rob Sullivan wrote:

Good day Rob. The safest way to remove them in mechanical. The best way to do it is to remove them in the early spring or early fall. After you remove the dandelion, take a handful of grass seed and spread it in the empty area left from the weed. Refrain from mowing for a few weeks if you can so the seed can sprout.
The best way to keep the weeds out of the lawn is to have a higher mowing hight, 2 1/2 to 3 inches is best and a good fertilizer program. Fertilizing in the mid spring and again in the early fall and you should have nice looking turf.
Good luck.
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As you've found out, trying to get rid of them by digging them out isn't very effective, not to mention a pain to do. They can have roots a couple of feet deep and unless you get most of it, they come back. I'd go with spot treatment with a broadleaf weed killer, like weed b gone. Use a small tank sprayer which will allow you to deliver it right to the target, meaning you will use very little herbicide. Once you get rid of them, in a thick healthy lawn, you should only have a small amount in the future, which you can deal with the same way.
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I second the spot treatment with "weed d gone". This stuff is very reasonably safe. The extreme tree huggers here will tell you that you can have a green weed free yard using only "natural" herbicides and mechanical removal but it just ain't so. No where in nature will you find what you want to achieve - i.e. a mono crop of a single (or at least a few) desirable grass varieties. This just does not occur in nature and you will not get this result with so called "natural" control, unless you are prepared to expend an extreme amount of effort and walk your yard every day or two looking for and pulling undesirable species. You can get this result with a reasonable amount of physical labor and judicious use of man made herbicides. Spot treatment with an over the counter herbicide like "weed b gone" applied as per the label with a little common sense (i.e. washing up after applying it and waiting the proscribed time before letting anyone on the lawn) will harm neither you nor the environment.
An even more benign herbicide is a glyphosate like Roundup (or it's clones). Glyphosate is not some mysterious complicated chemical. It is about as toxic as table salt (which indeed will kill you if you drink enough salt water). It in fact kills plants in the same manner as pouring salt on them would. The glyphosate is absorbed by the green leafy part of the plant and is then transported to the root system. There it reverses the osmotic flow that normally carries water and nutrients into the root systems. The presence of ions that the glyphosate disassociates into causes this osmotic flow to run backwards which kills the plant mainly through the loss of water. Pouring salt on the plant would do exactly the same thing except the salt would persist in the soil and kill anything else that tried to grow there later whereas the glyphosate has no ground activity. Of course, this herbicide is a lot less selective and will kill any green actively growing plant that gets a sufficient dose. If you are very careful and get a fine spray right down on the weed and are careful not to get it on your grass you can spot treat dandelions without taking out your grass (or at least an acceptably small bit of it). I do this sometimes when I've got just a few handfull of weeds sprouting and I don't need to treat a whole area. It does take a little care and practice (and a windless day) so you wouldn't want to try to treat a couple of dozen weeds this way. This is what you do once you've gotten the bulk of your problems under control with a broadleaf herbicide like "weed b gone". BTW, if you live in a warm climate and have a lawn of a warm season grass like Bermuda, you can spray weeds fairly indiscriminatly while and only while the lawn is dormate, say in mid to late February. I used to live further south and had a Bermuda lawn and this was one of the benefits. Roundup only works on green, active plant. As long as the lawn is soundly dormant the Roundup won't touch it. Of course you had to be careful and not wait too late when things were starting to wake up.
snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

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It's not so much tree huggers as it is people who look for information from more than product labels, or the first 2 pages of the newspaper, John. An interesting example (which proves nothing, and disproves nothing): A recent story on NPR talked about prostate cancer, and how researchers had modified the theory that Japanese men in Japan (as opposed to here) had an extremely low rate of the disease. Initial assumption were that diet or genetics were the reason. But, they ruled out genetics by finding Japanese men who'd spent their lives here, and discovering that their cancer rate was pretty much identical to the rest of the American male population. The researcher who was interviewed cautioned against any conclusions because he said they had not yet tabulating results based on other factors - which of the men ate (here) the way they would if they lived in Japan. He went on to say that if, by some magic, they could rule out diet as a significant factor, it would be a mixed blessing because they would be left with the unknowable: What kinds of crap was the survey population exposed to simply by living here.
Here (Rochester NY), we hear the same thing when scientists talk about whatever Kodak spews out of its chimneys. If you lived right next door to a manufacturer who was known to be releasing a specific chemical, and you knew that chemical was, beyond a shadow of a doubt to be toxic, it would be easy to say that this was the chemical making neighbors sick. But, that's rarely the situation. Now, it's next to impossible to isolate any single chemical as the cause of a cancer cluster because people are exposed to so many things, most of which are difficult to pin down.
So, why add to the mix? To support a crop that is unrealistic, such as grass, and force it to grow in ways it's not designed to?
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I swear - I'll look further into the term and actually use it correctly in a sentence at the next opportunity. For better or worse, I was unable to schedule a statistics class in college due to scheduling conflicts with a course I needed for my major.
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Slight correction to my previous post, written before 2nd up of coffee. Researchers modified their theory about WHY, not WHETHER Japanese men in Japan had lower rates of prostate cancer.
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"Slight correction to my previous post, written before 2nd up of coffee. Researchers modified their theory about WHY, not WHETHER Japanese men in Japan had lower rates of prostate cancer. "
Maybe they'll wind up modifying both. Just a couple of weeks ago, the CDC came out with a big revelation. After telling everyone for the last couple of decades that being even a little over ideal body weight was unhealthy, they now say those that are only modestly over the ideal BMI actually live LONGER! And where just last year they were estimating 400K people in the US die prematurely from obesity, now the CDC says it's only like 25K. Now this is data which should be very easy to obtain and get right, and yet it was all wrong. Then they expect us to believe what they say when they try to extract second or third order data, like the effects of second hand smoke! What a joke!
And finally, I don't know what any of this has to do with chemicals, nor is any of it new. It's been well known that most disease rates differ among populations living in different countries. And when they immigrate, many of the disease rates start shifting to come more into line with those experienced in the new country. That says nothing about it being do to chemicals. It could very well be driven by the compostion of the diet itself or other factors. Stomach cancer is a classic. Japan has a high incidence of this disease, while Japanes that immigrate here have a lower rate. Doesn't mean chemicals had anything to do with it though.
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Maybe if you're a little overweight, it's because you have someone you enjoy eating with regularly, and if you're happy, you live longer. Or something. Happiness is subjective, and difficult to measure. Weight vs years on the other hand - easy to measure, but hard to interpret.

Some years ago, Nova did a show about an area in China where a kim chee-sort of pickled dish was very popular. When they made the stuff in big barrels, this foam formed as the product aged, and the foam was considered a delicacy, like a condiment. Unfortunately, it contained an outrageous amount of nitrates (or nitrites - don't recall which), which they compared with what we'd get if we ate bacon, hot dogs and ham 6 times a day for a few years. The result was that the rate of esophagus cancer was beyond anything these Western doctors had ever seen. The residents were given a heads-up about the foam, stopped eating it, and the cancer rate dropped to a more normal level.
(Just mentioned that as a point of interest)
You're right about stomach cancer - it could easily have to do with the wrong combination of natural ingredients, like the pickled thing in China. Or, it could be that lately, the country is known for expecting people to work many more hours than we (usually) do. Maybe the result is stress-related stomach problems, which we know can lead to ulcers, and stomach cancer, if they go too far.
The problem here is that we're exposed to so many chemicals all at once that it makes tracking their effects difficult. Example: Seedless grapes require an immense amount of chemical assistance to get them from farm to grocery store unblemished. Worse is the fact that a lot of grapes come from South America, where we don't have any control over the spraying procedures. The USDA is unable to spot check more than the occasional shipment for excess residue. Domestic grapes are better, but still, the sprays are designed to stick. Whattya gonna do? Wash each grape with a little sponge? So, we just eat them.
They're a favorite snack for little kids, along with strawberries and carrots, which are also heavily treated. Good luck dealing with that. And, one of the worst is Burbank (?) potatoes, widely grown here because they're the only kind McDonald's will buy. The treatment they receive is nightmarish because they have to be blemish-free, or McDonald's won't take them. Read a great book called "The Botany of Desire" - you might enjoy it because it's not really about chemicals. Anyway, in one section, the author visits one of the bigger farms in Idaho whose existence depends on selling to McDonald's. When the farmer's wife needs spuds to serve the family, she goes down the road to an organic farm to buy them. They're also blemish free, but for different (and obvious) reasons. She finds it spooky that at her own farm, the ground is pretty much barren of life except for the potatoes, and it's not weed killer that's causing the condition. It's the fact that the various things they spray and fumigate with kill pretty much everything else.
Anyway....good book: (Amazon.com product link shortened)16343970/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/103-6629691-5274245
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On 16 May 2005 08:50:41 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

I'd also suggest testing the ph factor. You likely need to lay down some lime which will also benefit the grass while making it more difficult for the weeds.
Thunder
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Great advice for acidic weeds like oxalis.
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The higher you cut the grass the fewer grass plants you will have per square foot. Long term this may not help to reduce weeds as a thicker lawn will do a better job of preventing infestation.
Also the potassium in fertilizer will overstimulate the production of dandelions. My rule of thumb is that you shouldn't fertilize if you're not gonna' spray the weeds.
I would suggest that you spot-spray the pesky little guys with a premixed sol'n. Don't use weed'n'feed as it ends up everywhere.
Peter H
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On Mon, 16 May 2005 20:05:24 -0400, Peter H wrote:

This statement maybe true...if one was to mow a 12 inches 80P If a person was to keep the grass length to 2 to 4 inches, mowed regularly (weekly) and fertilize twice a year, many of the more common lawn issues will be gone. This by no means implies that the lawn will be a weed free haven but it's a situation that can be managed with acceptable results (for most people).
Other issues to be aware of is the fact that grass tends to do better if the soil is a bit acidic. Grass tends to do best with a ph around 6.5 to 7.0 . The more the ph ranges above 7, more broadleaf plants will survive and the turf tends to be thinner. Dandylions _love high ph soil btw.
If ones finds that the weeds have overtaken the lawn more than their willing to accept, then one can de-thatch the lawn and re-seed. This is one way to reduce the weed infestations that one may experience.
Better luck.
--
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http://www.ywgc.com
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The explanation given by our local cooperative extension is logical: If you hack the average lawn down to putting green level, you're removing a significant amount of leaf area, without which the grass cannot photosynthesize enough. Sort of like hacking 75% of the leaves off your dogwood every 10 days.
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