The Wonders of Weeds

1:07 PM, Jul 26, 2013   |    comments
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The wonders of weeds...

Stop letting weeds drive you crazy, they can teach us a lot

What are your weeds telling you? 

Several weeds growing together can give you clues about the type of soil they are growing in

What to do with this information?

                Plant plants that will do well in the conditions you have


Soil Type?



Dock, foxtails, horsetail,  goldenrod, poison hemlock, rushes, sedges


willow, dogwood, Japanese iris, Siberian iris, yellow flag, ligularia, cardinal flower, turtlehead

plants that like wet feet

Chicory and bindweed

compacted soil

Lupines, sweet clover

have strong roots or plant a cover crop

Quack grass or mustard

crusted surface

broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower


Dandelions, mullein, sorrel, stinging nettle

"sour" acidic soil

Hydrangeas, blueberries, rhododendrons, azaleas  rhubarb, potatoes, watermelon

pH below 7.0

Campion, field peppergrass

"sweet" alkaline soil

Lilacs, dianthus, baby's breath, lavender, creeping phlox, asparagus, broccoli, beets, muskmelons, lettuce, onions, spinach

pH higher than 7.0

Common mullein, daisies, wild carrot, plantain

poor fertility

asclepias, coreopsis, gaillardia, salvia, beans beets, carrots, parsnips, peas, radishes, sage,  thyme

flower better when food in the soil is limited

chickweed, henbit,  lamb's-quarter, purslane, red clover

Fertile soil

corn, broccoli, lettuce, melons, squash, tomatoes,  peppers

plant heavy feeders

garlic mustard, nightshade, poison ivy


Astilbe, hosta, ferns



What are weeds good for?

Weeds can be managed to not spread, consider leaving them

Look to see what weeds you have and which might be useful

Seeds provide food for wildlife

Host plants for butterflies and other beneficial insects

Food source for bees

Weeds with shallow roots can help prevent erosion

Shade provided by weeds helps keep soil from crusting over

Long tap roots aerate the soil (dock, burdock)

 Pulling leaves a path for water, nutrients, and air to enter

              What are the best ways to remove weeds?

                Pull after a nice soaking rain

Under dry conditions, slice weeds off just below the soil line an old steak knife works well

Tilling tends to bring more weed seeds to the surface = germination - only when/where needed

Mulching deprives weeds of light

Chop off their heads before they seed

Spot water - deprive the weeds


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