Control pesky dandelion weeds

Your lawn will be ‘coming up roses’ with these seven helpful hints

Each spring, lawns and greenspaces turn from green to yellow as dandelions flower. Dandelions usually flower for only a few shorts weeks in May and June. To protect the environment, the City of Vaughan put the Pesticide By-law into effect to regulate the use of herbicides to control weeds — such as dandelions — on public and private property.

Grass in parks, sports fields and on boulevards is cut frequently during May and June in an effort to keep dandelions to a minimum. But even with frequent cuts, areas may appear unkempt as this wild plant tends to grow faster than grass. The City also uses a number of natural practices to prevent weeds.

These seven useful tips will help to control dandelions on your property:

1. Raise your lawnmower blades to three to four inches (about 7.5 to 10 centimetres). Taller grass will shade out weed seeds and prevent them from germinating.

2. Overseed and topdress with compost. Overseeding (planting grass seed directly into grass without tearing it up) ensures weeds do not have room to take root, and topdressing (applying without working into your lawn) with compost adds nutrients and structure to the soil. Grasscycling is also a natural process that helps return nutrients back into the soil, reducing the need for fertilizers and lawn watering.

3. Aerating your lawn involves piercing the soil with small holes to allow air, water and nutrients to penetrate the grass roots. Aerate your lawn in early spring as this will loosen soil to allow water and air penetration to keep roots healthy.

4. Add white clover to seed mix. White clover is a low-growing hardy plant that adds nitrogen to the soil.

5. Fertilize your lawn in spring and fall. Healthy lawns are thicker and can shade out weeds.

6. Water deeply, but only when needed. Don’t forget to reference the City’s Outdoor Water Use By-law for times and days when you can water your lawns.

  • Grass requires about one inch (2.5 centimetres) of water per week (during dry periods)
  • Water during the early mornings or evenings
  • Use sprinklers or soaker hoses that keep water low to the ground
  • Long, slow soakings get water lower into the soil, encouraging deep rooting and a more drought-resistant lawn

7. Consider some lawn alternatives where possible. Groundcovers are low-growing, spreading plants that help to stop weeds from growing. Groundcovers like periwinkle and thyme require less fertilizer and water.

Visit the City of Vaughan’s website at


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