What It Really Means When You Have Dandelions In Your Yard

Dandelions are beautiful and useful plants that signal the arrival of summer with the sudden appearance of their bright yellow heads. These flowers can grow in pretty much any type of soil and climate and are among the most resilient flowers (or weeds) around. However, if you've never had dandelions in your yard before and you suddenly have many of these tough little weeds growing throughout your lawn, you may be wondering what it means. As it turns out, there are a few possible reasons why you may sometimes have more dandelions.

The first reason is that you are cutting your grass too short. If your grass is cut too short it will have trouble getting all the sunlight and nutrients it needs and your turf will become thinner and sparser. This causes more space for opportunistic weeds like dandelions to grow and thrive. If you think this is the case with your yard, you can solve the problem by allowing your lawn to grow a little taller so that your grass gets more sun and can block any sunlight from reaching unwanted weeds. You can also reseed areas of your yard where the grass is thinner and leave grass clippings on the ground after mowing to help smother any young weeds before they are able to really grow and take off.

What dandelions say about your soil

If you are cutting your lawn to the standard height of around three inches but still have a lot of dandelions, then they could be telling you something about your soil. Dandelions prefer slightly acidic soil, so an abundance of these yellow flowers may be evidence that your soil is a little too acidic for your grass.

Dandelions also prefer to grow in soil that is deficient in calcium. As calcium is responsible for ensuring your grass is healthy and that your soil's pH is balanced, having a lawn that is struggling to grow and is full of dandelions may signal that you need to add more calcium-based fertilizer to stimulate growth. However, if this is the case, you may want to allow your dandelions to keep growing because one of the functions of these hearty flowers is to use their deep root system to pull nutrients — like calcium — up to the surface where they are made available to other plants.

Lastly, an abundance of dandelions may signal that your soil is too compact as these weeds prefer to grow in tightly packed soil. However, the long taproots of a dandelion plant can also help with this problem. Over time, as dandelion roots dig down into the soil, they start to loosen it up and make it more suitable for other plants.

How to get rid of dandelions

Some people prefer to keep dandelions in their yards because these flowers are not only edible but also prized for their medicinal properties. However, whether or not you want to keep these yellow flowers in your yard is completely up to you. If you don't like the look of dandelions and want to get rid of them, you can do a soil test and start treating the root cause of your dandelion growth, whether that's low pH, calcium deficiency, or compacted soil. As this solution requires soil amendment, it will take some time to see the results.

If you want a quicker solution, you will have to turn to your trusty weeding shovel or herbicide. Pulling dandelions is not a recommended way to remove these stubborn flowers because they grow from a taproot, which can regenerate the entire plant if there is any segment of the root left in the soil. Therefore, digging out the entire root or treating the weed with a dandelion-specific herbicide is the best way to go.