Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale). Photo: Betty Marose

Updated: March 2, 2023

Life cycle

Perennial; rosette of leaves 3- to 10-inches long with a high degree
of leaf variability ranging from deeply cut to almost entire. Milky sap when broken.
Yellow ray flowers borne on leafless, hollow stalks.


Reproduces by wind-blown seed; up to 15,000 seeds per plant; fleshy taproot survives cold weather to grow in spring.

puffy dandelion seed head
Dandelion seed head
Photo: Rachel Rhodes, UME

Conditions that favor growth

Mowing the lawn too short.

Management in lawns

Lawn care practices

Maintain healthy, dense turf that can compete and prevent weed establishment.

Lawn Care

Mechanical management

Using an appropriate weeding tool that digs deep into the soil to remove the taproot is the primary means of mechanical weed. This is a viable option at the beginning of an infestation and on young weeds. Hand pulling when the soil is moist makes the task easier. Mow to remove the flowers before they mature and form seeds.

Manage Weeds Without Chemicals

Chemical treatment in lawns

If you choose this option, spot treat weeds with a liquid, selective, postemergent, broadleaf weed killer applied when weeds are actively growing. Look for a product with one or more of the following active ingredients: 2, 4-D, MCPP (mecoprop), Dicamba*, or Triclopyr.

*Do not spray herbicides containing dicamba over the root zone of trees and shrubs. Roots can absorb the product possibly causing plant damage. Refer to the product label for precautions.

Lawn Herbicides for Weed Management