Dandelion leaves (Lynn Sosnoskie, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org)
Dandelion seeds (Chris Evans, University of Illinois, Bugwood.org)
- low-growing plant with deep taproot
- leaves are long (2 – 12 inches) and a quarter as wide and radiate away from a central point; leaf margins are lobed and wavy
- flower stalks are hollow and bear a flower head with yellow petals; flowers mature to produce a delicate, globe-shaped seed head comprised of many seeds
- each brown, oblong seed is attached to a tuft of white fluff
- commonly grows in lawn areas and planting beds
- perennial with seedling germination throughout growing season
- flower production begins in mid-spring and continues throughout the growing season, although peak flowering occurs at temperatures between 60-70°F
- seed heads develop within 2 weeks of flowering and seeds are immediately viable
- new plants grow from taproot sections as short as 1 inch
- Effective control must target both aboveground and underground plant structures.
- Hand-pull plants in planting beds prior to seed maturation and manually remove underground structures to prevent re-sprouting.
- Apply a mulch layer 3 inches deep on planting beds to reduce seed germination.
- Apply an appropriate post-emergent herbicide directly to target weeds.