There are dozens of models of dandelion weeding tools, all of which can, in fact, pull out any weeds, not just dandelions.
The highly sophisticated models with clasps, releases, rachets, etc., often called dandelion diggers or simply weeders, are very interesting in theory, but in practice often prove difficult to manipulate. They do work, some of them quite well, but in the time it takes to install them correctly, you would have already pulled three or four dandelions with an ordinary dandelion weeder.
The classic dandelion weeder is a hand tool that looks a lot like a screwdriver, but with an extra-long rod and a V-shaped notch in the tip. The tip is pushed into the ground just at the base of the plant you want to pull out, then you press down on the handle and up the weed comes, like magic. There are no moving parts to twist or break and a good model will probably outlast its owner. This type of simple dandelion weeder works reasonably well, but there is better one.
In my opinion, the best dandelion weeder is one with a fulcrum, a sort of bulge on the underside of the tool. So, when you insert the tip into the ground at the base of the plant, the fulcrum settles on the ground and, when you push down, it provides additional leverage. Weeds literally fly into the air with this little wonder! I’ve had mine for over 35 years now and it still works perfectly.
The Art of Pulling Dandelions
Pulling dandelions remains a skill you need to develop. If you place the head of the weeder at the base of the plant and apply just the right amount of force, the entire root will come out of the ground and the plant won’t grow back. If you get just the top of the plant, leaving most of the root in the soil, it will grow back and you’ll need to try again later, when it regenerates.
Even if the root does snap as you’re weeding, though, all is not necessarily lost: as long as you have about the top 2 inches (5 cm), its attempts to resprout from the little bit that is left will fail.
So practice a bit and you’ll see. It’s like learning to ride a bicycle: you may fail at first, but you can quickly become an efficient dandelion weeder if you just pay attention!
A Second Use for a Great Tool