Q: My friend wants to get rid of the dandelions on her front lawn. I tried to get her to love the dandelions and make wine, but she is having nothing to do with that.
With a very thin topsoil layer (less than 2 inches in places...er..."5 centimeters" hehe), we couldn't sustain the grass-only turf without bi-weekly watering and twice-yearly fertilizer. Even at that, the grass was thin enough to allow weeds to reach the soil/thatch and germinate.
To launch our recovery plan, we topdressed with triple mix to a depth of 2" to give the topsoil layer a boost..then overseeded with standard grass and white clover (one clover seed every 10 cm or so). The clover dug into the clay subsoil and really thrived for the first year, then the grass came back strong once the clover started helping fix nitrogen in the soil.
Go to Calvin's blog to see a video on how to do this. Today, we still pull out the occasional dandelion (not because we hate them, but I respect that other people don't want them.
We are trying to be a showcase for zero emissions turf, so we currently go all out). I spend about 30 minutes a week pulling dandelions for 5000 square feet of lawn....most of that in areas where the clover is just getting established. Once the clover & grass are really thriving, it's hard to find the dandelions until the yellow flowers give away their position!
I'm looking forward to some environmentally-friendly suggestions to reduce the dandelions (so I hope some folks add their ideas here too!).
Devin (Calvin's Dad)
(Note from David Suzuki Foundation: notice that this is a method, not a product. The key learning: it's not what to kill, it's what to encourage! Great post Devin and Calvin....Take a look at Sherry and Terry's blog as well.)