Scientific Name: Taraxacum officinale
Dandelion is a winter perennial. The dandelion has a thick fleshy taproot which often branches. New plants come from the root and root segments. Leaves form in a rosette, are deeply lobed, with the lobes pointing toward the base. Both the leaves and flower stems contain a white milky fluid. The flowers are yellow and are individual stems. The seeds are brown with the tip containing white hairs. The yellow flower will turn to a white globular puffball. The seeds are disseminated by wind. Dandelions spread by both seed and stems from the root. Dandelion is found throughout the United States.
Dandelions can be physically removed, but it is very important to remove the taproot, in its entirety if possible, as new plants can sprout from root sections. Do not try to remove dandelions by hand; use the appropriate digging tool which is designed to penetrate deep with minimum damage to surrounding turfgrass plants. Good insect and disease control and a sound fertility program will help to prevent the open spaces that allow dandelion seeds to take root.
Since dandelions are winter perennials which germinate in the fall, post-emergence herbicide applications will be most effective at this time. Use a selective post-emergence application timed after germination when plants are young and actively growing.
Weed Photos: Courtesy of Dr. Lambert McCartey. Clemson University. Clemson, SC.