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Dandelions and bull thistle own my backyard. It's their turf now. (I'm a game developer, not a gardener.) I've tried a couple of things to kill them. I think I've decided to go with some uprooting tool.

Anyway, there are some particularly large plants (one of each at least), like a dandelion with maybe six or seven stems that are flowering. Would it be possible to kill them by depriving them of sunlight?

Some people recommend (as a last, extreme measure) blanketing your whole backyard with some sort of plastic or something that won't let light through, to kill everything. I'm just looking to take out the worst of the bunch, maybe with something heavy and light-proof like an upside-down pot.

Will this work? Do I need to cover all the leaves of the plant for it to work? How long will I have to wait, or how will I know that it worked or didn't work?

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You can kill some weeds by depriving them of sunlight but it takes a while. Why not let modern technology make your job easier? Something like this water powered weeder works well for good soil and weeds with deep tap roots. There are many other innovative solutions for dandelions out there that work immediately. If you try the "heart of darkness" approach you could have pieces of old carpet on your lawn all summer!

Edit: I have tried it and it works in good soil. If you have heavy clay close to the surface or lots of little rocks it doesn't work so well.

  • Have you actually tried this tool? What else is available that's not quite so pricey? – ashes999 Apr 30 '12 at 14:09
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    I bought the water-powered weeder last week because of this post. It works as described and often you pull dandelions out with a foot-long root (!), though you will also often not release the root and it will snap (I found this especially with dandelions on my driveway's edge -- the roots run under the driveway and are difficult to pull out straight). I anticipate having the make a few passes this season to get them. – shufler May 8 '12 at 20:19
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Probably, but it takes forever. Honest. Just uproot them, it's easier.

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