Death To Dandelions May 17, 2016 By John Daniels, agronomist, Central Region

The most appropriate herbicide formulation for controlling dandelions depends on the time of year and the temperature.

A bright yellow dandelion flower is the poster child for turf weeds that affect the appearance and playability of golf courses and home lawns throughout the Midwest. In fact, dandelions often adorn the packaging of turf herbicides found at your local garden center. Dandelions produce the most flowers during spring, so the bumper crop this year is hard to miss.

Any herbicide that contains 2,4-D will effectively control dandelions. Although research has demonstrated that fall is the best time to control dandelions and many other turf weeds, many turf managers find it necessary to treat for dandelions during spring when roughs can look more yellow than green.

Knowing which herbicide formulation to use can spell the difference between success and disappointment. There are two major formulations of common broadleaf herbicides: amine salts and alcohol-based esters. During the cooler spring months, amine salt formulations of 2,4-D have shown to be less effective than the ester formulations of 2,4-D which are able to more easily penetrate leaf cuticles. However, ester formulations are volatile and more likely to drift during periods of warm weather. When temperatures reach 85 degrees Fahrenheit, use amine salts to achieve a high level of weed control with less chance of drift that could affect sensitive landscape plants. 


Central Region Agronomists:

Bob Vavrek, regional director –

John Daniels, agronomist –

Zach Nicoludis, agronomist –

Information on the USGA’s Course Consulting Service 

Contact the Green Section Staff

PDF Version