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I've started unearthing those dandelions (why do I bother? What exactly do they do to my lawn). The root is notoriously long and brittle.

How do I know if I got the whole thing out? It always looks broken to me on the bottom. Even if I dig further, I can't tell if I got it or not.

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What exactly do they do to my lawn? » Personally, I don't see what the fuss is. I just let 'em be. They look nice along the edge of my driveway -- a big splash of color at this time of year. And hey, edible weed. Dandelion wine, anyone? –  bstpierre May 6 '12 at 22:09
    
@bstpierre great comment. –  J. Musser May 7 '12 at 1:39
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Chances are, you didn't get the whole thing out. But you probably got enough of it out so that when/if it does re-grow, it will be a much smaller plant.

The only way to make sure the entire thing is dead is to spray it with something that will get absorbed into the plant and kill it. But that's not nearly as satisfying as ripping them out.

Edit: One suggestion is to spray a bit of weed killer or vinegar into the hole created by most weed removal tools, which will kill the entire plant without affecting the surrounding grass.

If you do leave them in, the leaves will eventually kill grass under them.

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I'm anti-chemical because I have young kids who play out there. Plus they just passed laws about that kind of stuff where I live. –  ashes999 May 7 '12 at 2:50
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