Are Dandelions Weeds? How To Get Rid Of Them Once And For All

Rajnandini Roychoudhury
Jan 18, 2023 By Rajnandini Roychoudhury
Originally Published on Oct 26, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Closed Bud of a dandelion.

One of our most cherished childhood memories is to visit lawns filled with dandelions just to blow on the flowers.

Dandelion or Taraxacum is actually a large genus of flowering plants, and there are about 2000 microspecies of this plant. It's believed that the flowers first emerged in Eurasia and were commonly used by the Chinese as a part of their medicine.

The current name of these flowers comes from the French name 'dent de lion', which means lion's teeth, referring to the jagged tooth-like crevices found on the leaves of these plants. Interestingly, dandelions are called by several different names throughout the world, including swine's snout, witch's gowan, Irish daisy, and more.

Many people might not know it, but every part of this flowering plant, including the dandelion root and the leaves, is edible.

And, even though we mainly know the dandelion in its white state, these plants actually produce bright yellow flowers, which look great.

In North America, the Native Americans have been known to cook and eat dandelion plants. As many people aren't aware of these flowers, we thought of coming up with this guide, so keep reading to know interesting things about these plants.

If you enjoy this article, why not also read about are bay leaves edible and are beans a vegetable here on Kidadl?

Are dandelions considered weeds?

You may have heard people say that the beautiful yellow dandelion flower is a common weed that grows in gardens and lawns. But, that isn't really the truth, as dandelions are treated as medicinal and edible plants throughout the world and even in North America.

The yellow dandelion or common dandelion is a flowering plant rather than being a weed. As the flower grows exponentially, especially during the summer season, the dandelions have been wrongly placed among the weed species and are labeled as weeds by many people.

When you look at the USDA's Federal Noxious Weed List, dandelions aren't present in it, as the flower isn't as invasive as it was thought to be in the past. People often hate dandelion root as it can be quite long.

But, this feature of dandelions can actually be great for your lawn or yard as it can loosen up the soil to let in more nutrients which make the soil healthy for the other plants.

And, you may not be aware of it, but early common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) blooms in the spring actually act as a food source to more than a hundred insect species. Even birds and chipmunks feed on the nutrient-rich leaves of this plant.

Does dandelion kill other plants?

Contrary to popular beliefs, common dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) don't kill other plants. Yes, the dandelion roots do grow deep into the soil, but rather than harming other plants, it actually helps to make the soil healthier.

Now, you may have seen a lawn or garden during the spring or summer months, when the dandelion plants tend to grow at an alarming rate.

For people who create a manicured lawn, this is a bit annoying as they may feel that the deep roots eat through all the nutrients and leave nothing for the other plants.

But, the root of a dandelion plant can actually free up the soil and add air to it so that the other plants may get its food. So, this wild plant will give your other plants enough space to grow and breathe.

These plants aren't native to the US, but with time it has naturalized with the environment, so it isn't considered to be an invasive species.

And, data tells keeping dandelion plants in your grass or flower beds can actually encourage pollinators like birds, needs, and other insects to visit your garden in search of food.

Benefits Of Dandelion

If you have been thinking about getting rid of dandelion flowers from your lawn, we can help to add value to this commonly found species.

In the US, as well as in other parts of the world, dandelion was used as a medicinal herb to treat everything related to your body.

One of the known benefits of dandelion was to treat stomach cramps or any other body pain. And, the best part of these flowers is that it is edible and is more nutritious than other food products you will find in the grocery store.

Dandelion is also able to grow from seeds without the need for any fertilizer, which makes it a completely organic food source.

If you are fond of drinking coffee, visit a grocery store and ask them for a substitute that tastes similar to coffee, and they will most likely give you a tisane or herbal tea made of dandelion roots.

Years ago, it was also drunk as a medicinal tea for its detoxifying properties and anti-inflammatory properties. You could still get tea made out of dandelions, as it's turning out to be an otherwise popular drink for people who suffer from diabetes and cholesterol.

You can make tea from the roots of dandelions by digging up plants and sun-drying before turning it into a powder or chunks.

And, rather than just being a Ray Bradbury novel, dandelion wine is actually a reality and is made by using flowers of dandelions, along with lemon and orange juice. The process of making the wine is pretty simple as it's like any other homemade wine. To get the best taste, it's better to let it sit for a year.

Rather than just having it as a tea, the greens of dandelions can also be a great food source, especially when added to a salad. The greens of dandelions are rich in potassium, calcium, and other vitamins making the green salad great for your body.

Dandelions have also been known for being a great component of weight loss. Adding the green to your food could improve insulin levels which gives a boost to the body's ability of carbohydrate metabolism.

And, if you suffer from constipation or digestive issues, dandelions can help to ease the problem along with giving a boost to your immune system.

Having said that, you should also remember to practice moderation while eating the greens of dandelions or even when taking dandelion supplements. Even though dandelions are edible in nature, having too much of the plant can irritate your digestive tract.

Moreover, some people might be allergic to dandelions. So, if you're aware of any other food allergies, make sure to check with your doctor before including dandelions in the everyday diet.

How To Get Rid Of Dandelions

Even though dandelion isn't technically a weed, it's extremely hard to get rid of it from your garden, yard, or lawns. Moreover, as the seeds spread every year, you might see the flower popping up. The best way to get rid of dandelion plants is if you can dig them up right from the root.

To make sure that you have got rid of the roots, first, you will need to water your garden or yard. Wait for a bit to let the soil seep in the water, and then use a weeding knife to free the roots and then pull on the plant to take it out.

Make sure to do it gently, as a strong pull may end up ripping the leaves and stalk.

Then, you can use an organic herbicide on the yard or garden to kill the plants and to stop them from growing next year. If you want the grass to survive, ensure to put the herbicide only in the holes created after pulling up the roots.

Also, think about using a pre-emergent herbicide like Preen or corn gluten mill in spring or during fall to kill off the dandelion seeds that might have spread across your ground.

And, it's always better to attack the young plants, as the older and mature dandelion plant grows a tough barrier against herbicides. Once you have gotten rid of all the root and weed, think about going for a well-maintained turfgrass lawn.

When you water these lawns and gardens regularly, it's pretty easy to control all kinds of weed plants, including dandelions.

On the other hand, after checking out the benefits of dandelions, you might be interested in including these flowers in your garden! If the plants already grow in your area, collect the seed from mature flowers and sow them in the early spring days to see the plants bloom.

Alternatively, you can also buy seed packs from a garden store to sow in the appropriate season.

It's best to sow dandelion seeds from March to July, and before doing that, it's highly recommended to make a separate bed for the flowers if you don't want to get it all over your garden.

Just make 1 in (2.5 cm) holes into the soil at a distance of 6-8 in (15-20 cm) and drop two to three seeds into the holes.

Cover it up with soil, and dampen it with water.

Make sure to keep the soil damp so that the seeds can germinate. Once the seeds sprout, try to maintain one plant per hole to ease out the competition.

One of the best things about dandelions is that the plant doesn't require any special care or fertilizers.

To make the leaves less bitter, you can also blanch the dandelions by covering the plants with a plastic sheet to minimize exposure to light. It's best to harvest dandelions during the spring season, and you can wait for a year to get the most nutritious leaves.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for our dandelions weeds then why not take a look at are birds warm-blooded, or are black diamonds real facts pages?

We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You

See All

Written by Rajnandini Roychoudhury

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English, Master of Arts specializing in English

Rajnandini Roychoudhury picture

Rajnandini RoychoudhuryBachelor of Arts specializing in English, Master of Arts specializing in English

With a Master of Arts in English, Rajnandini has pursued her passion for the arts and has become an experienced content writer. She has worked with companies such as Writer's Zone and has had her writing skills recognized by publications such as The Telegraph. Rajnandini is also trilingual and enjoys various hobbies such as music, movies, travel, philanthropy, writing her blog, and reading classic British literature. 

Read full bio >