Laidback Gardener Tip of the Day

The Ultimate Dandelion Weeder?

There are dozens of models of dandelion weeding tools, all of which can, in fact, pull out any weeds, not just dandelions.

20150824AThe 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.

20150824BThe 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.

20150824CIn 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

As long as you get at least 2 inches (5 cm) of root, the dandelion won’t grow back.

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

20150824DA dandelion weeder (either the simple model or one with a fulcrum) is also the ideal tool for harvesting asparagus. Try it and see: it cuts asparagus shoots at exactly the right place!

Garden writer and blogger, author of 65 gardening books, lecturer and communicator, the Laidback Gardener, Larry Hodgson, passed away in October 2022. Known for his great generosity, his thoroughness and his sense of humor, he reached several generations of amateur and professional gardeners over his 40-year career. Thanks to his son, Mathieu Hodgson, and a team of contributors, will continue its mission of demystifying gardening and making it more accessible to all.

6 comments on “The Ultimate Dandelion Weeder?

  1. Pingback: Best Tool For Removing Dandelions

  2. Pingback: Top 10+ How To Use A Weeder Tool

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  4. Janet Lewis

    Good morning. I’ve just borrowed the type of puller shown at the top of your article and used it yesterday. I visited your site to look for tips on what to do with the ground once the pesky weed has been pulled. I also visited other sites but I like yours best.
    Strangely only one of the sites suggested replacing the divot with soil. And none suggest pulling the little critters after a good rain or in depth watering. Well dampened soil yields easily to whatever tool you might be using.
    Also, I love this upscale puller because my back, my crouchers and my kneelers don’t work very well these days. ?
    Keep up the good work.

  5. Pingback: The Best Time to Weed… – Laidback Gardener

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