While many of us may have loved the look of bright yellow dandelions as children, anyone who’s tended to a yard knows that these perennial weeds are notoriously difficult to remove.
With long, sturdy taproots and fast-spreading seeds, dandelions can quickly take over your garden and stay year after year, preventing your plants from getting the space and nutrients they need.
With so many products out there, it’s hard to know which is suitable for your yard. That’s why I personally tested eight of the top-rated and best dandelion killers to help you find the best way to remove dandelions once and for all.
Broadleaf Herbicide for Dandelions
Broadleaf weeds, especially dandelions, are easy to identify. They are also notoriously difficult to get rid of. Their roots spread deeply and quickly into the soil and their release of seeds means their numbers can increase year on year if not successfully removed.
Thankfully, broadleaf pre- and post-emergent herbicides are two options that can be successfully used to keep your garden dandelion-free and looking its best.
Post-emergent herbicide is a common method of controlling unwanted weeds in your garden. These herbicides work by targeting weeds that have already taken over your lawn and are actively growing.
Many people prefer using post-emergent herbicides because they are sprayed or sprinkled on existing weeds and this takes the guesswork out of knowing where weeds are going to pop up.
In order to work their active ingredients need to become absorbed by the weed — usually via the leaves and stems — and then systematically being carried through the entire weed plant until it reaches the root. Weather conditions such as wind and rain can affect the outcome and effectiveness of this method of killing dandelions.
While post-emergent herbicides are made to kill weeds already grown, pre-emergent herbicides work by preventing weeds from growing in the first place. They need to be applied before the seeds of the dandelion weed have germinated and so timing is crucial with this method of application. It also involves a degree of guesswork since it relies on having an understanding of where the dandelions have previously spread their seeds and where they sprouted in previous years.
Perennial weeds such as dandelions have thick roots that make them challenging to remove once established, so pre-emergent herbicides are a great way to prevent them from growing in the first place. According to the University of California, herbicides containing dithiopyr or isoxaben are generally effective for preventing dandelions.
Types of Dandelion Killer
With so many different varieties and uses for weed killers available on the market, it can quickly become overwhelming to find one that will work for you when you’re shopping around. Here is my guide to help you know what to look for when searching for the best dandelion killers.
Selective vs. Non-Selective
Both selective and non-selective herbicides are great for getting rid of dandelions but they suit different needs and preferences.
If you want to kill dandelions without harming any of the grass or plants around them, then a selective herbicide is what you need. Selective herbicides target broadleaf weeds, such as dandelions, without killing many other species of plants. Just be sure to read the label of the selective herbicide you buy before using it to double-check the list of plants that it targets!
Non-selective herbicides are generally more potent but they damage any grass or plants that they touch. This is an excellent option if you’re removing dandelions from walkways, drives, or paths or where whole entire areas need clearing. Take extra care when using, especially if you have plants that you want to keep.
Organic Weed Killers
Organic herbicides only use natural ingredients to kill unwanted and invasive weeds. There is a vast range of organic weed killers to choose from, many of which are designed to remove dandelions effectively and safely. They are also intended to be kinder to the environment as well as people and pets but, to avoid any uncertainty or potential accidents and hazards, always read the label first.
Organic weed killers tend to include ingredients such as vinegar, salt, soaps, and other natural ingredients that stop the growth of undesired weeds.
Pet-Safe Weed Killer
Another primary concern surrounding herbicides is the risk and potential impact of pets coming into contact with the inclusion of dangerous chemicals in some brands.
While most herbicides recommend keeping pets away from treated areas for up to a couple of days, pet owners know that this isn’t always a feasible option.
Luckily, there are plenty of organic weed killer options that are entirely safe for use around pets and people. If you have animals, choosing an organic, pet-friendly weed killer is the perfect way to keep them safe while preventing the spread of dandelions.
Dandelion Spray vs. Granules
When shopping for weed killer, you’re likely to come across two options — liquid dandelion spray and dry lawn granules. So let’s have a look at the difference between these two options in a little more detail.
Liquid dandelion spray effectively removes weeds and offers numerous benefits, including easy storage and convenient application.
Sprays are designed to be applied directly onto the leaves and stems of dandelions and because they offer uniform coverage, this is an ideal way of removing large areas of weeds. The best way to apply weed killer to larger areas is with the use of a handheld or backpack sprayer.
Bear in mind when using a sprayer that firstly, you’ll need to measure and dilute the product with water and some people find this messy. Secondly, you’ll need to pick a still day with little or no wind. This is because spray particles can easily get carried by even a slight wind and could potentially land on areas that you don’t want to spray.
Lawn granules are another effective way to prevent the spread or cease the growth of dandelions. These small pellets are simple to administer across areas you wish to target and can be scattered by hand or with a spreader.
In order to be effective as a post-emergent product, granules need to stick to the vegetation to absorb the herbicide. It’s essential to make sure the grass is damp before application for the best results.
Best Dandelion Weed Killers Reviewed
I’ve been on a mission to find the best dandelion killers available for general consumer use. My goal was to find a range of products both in the pre- and post-emergent markets so that all user bases have been covered.
As well as my own extensive product testing and experience of using these products, I have taken into consideration customer reviews across the major online retail platforms as well as home and garden forums.
1. Espoma Organic Weed Preventer Plus Lawn Food
Espoma Organic Weed Killer is one of the best all-natural ways to prevent dandelions, crabgrass, and other common weeds from becoming a problem in your lawn. Not only is this weed killer effective at stopping many common weeds from growing but the slow-release nitrogen also helps to fertilize your lawn and ensures the growth of healthy, green grass.
This pre-emergent is made from 100% corn gluten meal and works by preventing dandelion root development. And because it contains no toxic chemicals and all-natural ingredients, it’s completely safe for pets and children to play in the yard, even directly after an application. Click here for Espoma Organic Weed Preventer for Lawns prices.
While it’s designed only to be used on established lawns, this weed preventer and lawn food is a practical, all-natural way to stop weeds from taking over your garden while creating long-lasting, healthy green grass throughout your yard.
How To Use: For effective dandelion prevention, granular pellets should be applied to your yard twice a year in early spring and fall. One 25 pound bag will cover up to 1,250 square feet of lawn.
- Versatile for use on all lawns
- Safe for use around pets and people
- Not suitable for use on new or over seeded lawns
2. Scotts Turf Builder Triple Action Kills Dandelions
Scotts Turf Builder boasts three significant benefits: killing weeds, preventing future weeds, and strengthening your lawn. When applied to your lawn, this product’s triple-action formula effectively kills several pervasive broadleaf weeds, including dandelions, crabgrass, and clover.
This is both a pre- and post-emergent weed killer but works best when it is applied to wet grass in the spring when dandelions are actively growing and is effective at preventing the growth of new weeds for up to 4 months. It also does a great job of enhancing overall health and encouraging new growth in your lawn.
This product may not be organic but it is one of the most effective ways to prevent the bloom of dandelions while also keeping your lawn looking healthy and green. However, it’s important to keep any pets or kids away from the treated area until all visible signs of the product have been absorbed into your lawn. View Scotts Turf Builder Triple Action from Amamzon.com here.
How to Use: Measure out the quantity required (depending on the size of your lawn) and use a spreader to apply evenly over your lawn. Temperatures need to be between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit and grass needs to be sufficiently wet — either from morning dew or from a downpour — in order for the product to be absorbed effectively.
- Can be used as a pre- and post-emergent dandelion killer
- Effective for use for many common broadleaf weeds and grasses
- Weather conditions may affect performance of this product
3. Scotts Turf Builder WinterGuard Fall Weed and Feed
Another top quality product from Scotts next and this time it’s their Turf Builder Winterguard. This enhanced post-emergent weed killer formula is two times more effective at stopping the growth of weeds in your lawn compared to Scotts’ previous formulas.
This weed killer and lawn food combo should be applied in the fall for best results and it works in two ways. First, it kills weeds such as clover and dandelions right down to the root and helps to prevent more from appearing in your lawn the following spring.
Second, it repairs damage from the summer heat and provides your lawn with nutrients so it’s ready to thrive come springtime. Along with fertilizing grass, the 100% nutrition in every granule is designed to improve the growth rate of your lawn and its capacity to absorb water and nutrients. That means less room for weeds to grow. Click here for Scotts Turf Builder Winterguard from Amazom.com
How To Use: Apply to wet grass in the fall. For best results use a lawn spreader and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on how much product to use depending on the model of spreader you have. Measure out the required quantity, pour it into a lawn spreader, and apply it evenly all over your lawn. Scotts WinterGuard Weed and Feed come in a 14-pound bag, covering up to 5,000 square feet, or a 43-pound bag, covering 15,000 square feet.
This product boasts Scotts’ unique WeedGrip technology and users agree that it was effective at clearing even the most persistent dandelions and other weeds that had previously proved tough to kill. Bear in mind, this contains powerful chemicals and you will need to prevent people and pets from getting on any treated areas until all traces of the product have been absorbed.
- Effective at killing stubborn and persistent weeds
- Fall fertilizing encourages healthy grass growth for the following springtime
- Potentially harmful to people and pets
4. Preen Extended Dandelion Control Weed Preventer
Preen Dandelion Control Weed Preventer is designed to stop any dandelions or other undesired weeds from growing in your garden. This product can stop broadleaf weeds such as dandelions from sprouting for up to six months by building an invisible barrier that prevents weeds from growing beneath the surface.
Along with effectively controlling the growth of broadleaf weeds, Preen Weed Preventer is also safe to use around more than 600 garden plants, shrubs, trees, and perennials. Do check the list that is provided on the label before using it to make sure your precious plants are covered just to be on the safe side. View Preen Dandelion Control Weed Preventer here.
How To Use: The flip-top applicator makes Preen Weed Preventer simple to use — you just sprinkle the granules over mulch when the area is dry and use water to activate the pellets. You can buy this in bags that can cover from 805 square feet to up to 3,500 square feet. For best results, apply in early spring after mulching and before weed seeds have germinated. Can also be applied even when weeds are actively growing.
Preen offers an overall simple and effective way to prevent strong broadleaf weeds from growing beneath the surface and taking over your lawn due to the inclusion of its primary active ingredient 2,4-D. Always exercise caution when using as this chemical can be harmful, and people and animals should avoid contact with the treated areas after application.
- Effective at preventing weeds before they appear and safe to use around over 600 plants
- Easy to use and mess-free flip top lid
- Hazardous to people and pets if direct contact is made after application
5. Roundup For Lawns Ready to Use Dandelion Killer
This Roundup formula is designed to kill over 250 common weeds, including dandelion, crabgrass, yellow nutsedge, and clover. It removes weeds without causing any harm to your grass, and it works down to the root to not only kill dandelions but prevent them from coming back.
Roundup Ready to Use Weed Killer offers exceptional power and potency that makes it an effective choice in killing even the most difficult to remove weeds. It also acts fast, starts working immediately on contact, and even becomes rainproof in three hours.
The main active ingredient, MCPA, is commonly used as a selective herbicide to target broadleaf weeds without harming surrounding vegetation. This means that you can use Roundup Dandelion Killer on various Northern grasses without damaging your yard. However, you should avoid contact with the chemicals until the treated area is dry. See Roundup For Lawns Ready to Use prices here.
This product comes with an extended wand for easy application. It can spray continuously and reach up to two feet, making this a perfect choice for spot-treatment of lawns and walkways. If you continuously find yourself exhausted and sore from trying to clear large amounts of weeds, the wand lets you reach everything you need to without bending over.
How To Use: Apply Roundup to your yard when dandelions are actively growing in spring and early summer for best results. Along with the ready-to-use 1.3-gallon container, which can treat up to 1,330 square feet, you can also purchase a liquid concentrate and ready-to-spray option.
- Ready-to-use formula complete with attachment and sprayer means no messy measuring and mixing
- Effective post emergent for use on over 250 weeds
- Price point is higher than some other selective herbicides
6. Southern Ag Amine 2,4-D WEED KILLER
Southern AG Amine Weed Killer can be used in a huge range of environments, including lawns, parks, pastures, and golf courses and it has been proven effective on some of the toughest-known weeds including dandelion, clover, hawkweed, and crabgrass.
The active ingredient, 2,4-D, is designed to remove tough broadleaf weeds without harming any of the grass around them so that you can maintain a green and healthy lawn. For best results, it should be applied in the summertime when dandelions are actively growing. Use for large areas or as a spot treatment and after just a few days, the dandelions will start to wilt. Within two weeks, you should be able to enjoy a weed-free yard. Click here for Southern Ag 2,4-D Weed Killer
How to Use: Decant the required amount into a low-pressure handheld or backpack spray and dilute with water. Two to three tablespoons of the solution mixed with three to five gallons of water can cover up to 1,000 square feet, making it the perfect economical solution to persistent weeds.
- Ideal for southern lawns
- Kills woody plants and broadleaf weeds indefinitely
- Usage directions on the packaging are limited
7. Ortho Weed B Gon Weed and Dandelion Killer
Ortho Weed B Gon is a lawn-friendly weed killer with the strength and potency to kill broadleaf weeds such as dandelions and crabgrass. And because this product targets weeds down to their roots, it kills the weeds and prevents them from returning.
This ready-to-use spray is made from the chemical 2,4-D, which allows it to quickly and effectively kill common weeds without causing any damage to your grass or other surrounding vegetation. Check prices for Ortho Weed B Gon from Amazom.com
You’ll see the most effective results if you spray during spring or summer when dandelions grow aggressively. Once sprayed directly onto dandelions, Ortho Weed B Gon starts working immediately to kill the weed, with visible results within just hours of use. It also dries quickly and becomes rainproof within an hour of treatment.
Along with the one-gallon ready-to-use container, which comes with a wand for comfortable and convenient spot-treatment, you can purchase concentrate or ready-to-spray containers of Weed B Gon that cover up to 5,000 square feet.
Like other chemical herbicides, it’s recommended to keep kids and pets away from the area directly after treatment. However, with fantastic results after only two applications a year, this is a great way to kill existing dandelions and keep them away from your garden in the future.
- Ready-to-spray formula and built-in nozzle attachment makes it an easy to use product
- Rainproof in 1 hour
- Require more application rounds to get better results
8. Natural Elements Weed Killer Children and Pet Safe
With no harmful chemicals or herbicides, Natural Elements Weed Killer is an ideal choice for anyone with kids and pets that often play in the yard. Along with being completely kid and animal safe, this is a highly effective, ready-to-use solution that kills most varieties of broadleaf weeds.
Made from highly concentrated vinegar and saltwater, the high acidity of this weed killer causes dandelions and other weeds to quickly wither up and turn brown only a couple of hours after application.
The one-gallon solution comes pre-mixed and diluted, so all you’ll need to do is spray the weeds and wait a couple of hours for them to start wilting. You’ll see the fastest results during the summer when temperatures reach a high of 80 degrees Fahrenheit. See Natural Elements Weed Killer here.
One significant disadvantage of using products made from vinegar is that it’s non-selective and can quickly kill grass and other non-invasive plants it comes into contact with. While Natural Elements offers a powerful natural solution to killing dandelions, make sure to apply the solution only to the weeds to avoid killing your grass as well.
- One of the only weed killers available that does not contain harmful chemicals
- Ready to use formula gets to work quickly
- This non-selective weed killer contains vinegar so you will need to protect plants you wish to keep
How To Use Dandelion Killer
Here’s everything you need to know about how to use lawn granules to kill pre-emergent or existing dandelions:
- Gather your tools. This includes your selected brand of granular weed killer, a lawn spreader, and protective gardening gear such as gloves, boots, and closed-toed shoes.
- Check the weather. For pre-emergent weed killer, you should make sure there’s no rain in the forecast for the next two days. If you’re using lawn granules to kill existing weeds, it should be applied when there’s morning dew or rain on the ground to help the weeds absorb the herbicide.
- Pour the weed killer into a lawn spreader and apply evenly over the area you’re treating.
- With pre-emergent lawn granules, water the area to ensure the herbicide is thoroughly dissolved into the soil.
- Keep people and animals away from the treated area until dry or for the length designated on the packaging.
If you decide to use a spray or liquid herbicide, you’ll use a different process to prevent and control the spread of weeds:
- Gather your tools: This will depend on the brand of dandelion spray but will generally include a spray bottle or included comfort wand, your choice of weed killer, and protective gear and clothing.
- Check the forecast to make sure you’re avoiding any wind or rain that may disperse the spray on other areas of your garden.
- If using a liquid concentrate, mix the solution with the recommended amount of water.
- Spray evenly on weeds or mulch. Make sure to check the instructions on the package for exact specifications on selectivity, amount of spray, and where to apply on the weeds or soil.
- Keep people and animals away from the treated area until dry or for the length designated on the packaging.
- Avoid watering the area for up to two days to allow the plants and soil to absorb the herbicide.
While this is a general guide for applying dandelion killer, be sure to check the recommendations and instructions for your specific brand to achieve the most efficient results possible.
When to Apply Herbicide To Dandelions
If you’re using a pre-emergent dandelion killer, it’s crucial to apply it to your garden before dandelions can germinate and sprout. This usually means it works best when applied in early spring when the soil temperature reaches 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
Post-emergent dandelion killers work best in the summertime when dandelions are actively and aggressively growing in your yard.
How Often to Apply Dandelion Killer
While herbicide products differ in how often they should be applied, most require one to two applications even spaced throughout the growing season to be most effective.
Some weed killers that double as fertilizer can be used more frequently and during any season to help maintain your yard and prevent weeds in the long run.
Verdict: Best Dandelion Killers
Finding the perfect dandelion killer will depend on your individual garden needs and preferences, and your method of application. For a granular weed killer that will enhance the appearance of your lawn, Espoma Organic Weed Preventer Plus Lawn Food is one of the best weed killers you can find on the market. Along with being 100% safe and natural, it effectively prevents a huge range of tough, pervasive weeds from growing while creating a healthy, long-lasting green yard that you and your family will be able to enjoy weed-free.
My second choice goes to Scotts Turf Builder Triple Action. This one will fertilize your lawn and can also be used as both a pre and post-emergent weed killer for dandelions and other troublesome common weeds.
For post-emergent spraying when dandelions have already taken up residence in your lawn, my top pick is the RoundUp For Lawns. Users found RoundUp was relatively easy to use, highly efficient, and reliable. Its mess-free and ready-to-use formula provided measurable results within just a few hours.
This is closely followed up by Southern AG, one of the best value weed killers in the market. This cost-effective post-emergent means you only use one to four pints of the product per acre and the results will kill a variety of weeds indefinitely.