Many learned individuals including geochemical botanists, weed scientists and experienced growers often say that if one just takes a break from waging wars against garden weeds, he will realize that the weeds are actually trying to tell him something about the condition of his soil.
There are countless publications, articles and discussions about the role weeds play in pointing out the state of garden soils. In general they say that if you want to know whether your soil is acidic, lacking nitrogen, too wet or too dry, etc., observe what weeds are growing in your garden.
Soil Types According to Weeds
The following are common garden soil conditions and the weeds that could indicate them…
If your garden soil is rich in organic matter, you could find these in your garden:
Poor soil can rarely support anything except these weeds…
- Wild carrot (Queen Anne’s lace)
- Queen Anne’s lace
- Spotted spurge
The following weeds thrive in hard, heavily compacted garden soil…
- Bermuda grass
- Morning glory
- Mouse-ear chickweed
- Quack grass
Poorly drained soil
Wet and poorly drained soil is loved by these weeds…
- Ground ivy (creeping charlie)
- Spotted spurge
Overly dry soil is favored by these weeds…
- Mustard weed
- Russian thistle
There is no doubt that weeds can really tell us something about the soil just by growing where they do.
But the real concern lies with what to do with the information we get from weeds? Let us not forget to consider the fact that not all weeds are there because of the soil quality. It could be that weeds have come to be growing in that area due to other reason like a bird pooping.
Constantly managing overall soil health is still more important and just use the information on this article regarding weed-soil relationship as merely clues as to what actions should be taken to improve soil.