Weeds: Can You Hear Them Now?

Lisa Spears

Did you hear that? Shhh… listen carefully. Your weeds are trying to tell you something. The types of weeds popping up will tell you the overall condition of the soil in your garden. They can signal compacted soils, pH imbalance and, in some cases, balanced soil.

The types of weeds popping up will tell you the overall condition of the soil in your garden. They can signal compacted soils, pH imbalance and, in some cases, balanced soil.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common weeds found in our area and what they indicate.

Crabgrass

In a word, crabgrass means your soil is low in calcium. The good news is it’s an easy fix. If you prefer organic methods, the obvious choice is to add egg shells. A not-so-obvious soil amendment is ground-up raspberry leaves. Raspberry leaves are loaded with organic matter. Another option is compost plus seaweed.

Crabgrass

Chickweed

The upside to chickweed is its shallow root system so you can just pull it out. But beware, the reason it’s so invasive is one little piece left behind can sprout another plant. The presence of chickweed indicates a lack of potassium and manganese in your soil. Both of these are released into the soil as this plant decomposes, and that’s a good thing. Additionally, this plant is edible and loaded with vitamins c and b. So after you remove it from your garden, toss it into a salad! All kidding aside, this weed also boosts your compost pile with manganese and potassium.

Henbit or lamb’s quarter

Lamium amplexicaule Kaldari 01

Indicates rich soil, while reindeer dandelions and stinging nettle mean soil pH is below 7.0. Mugwort and wild carrot (this year in particular) signify worn out soils. You do have several choices to remedy worn out soil. Opt for salvias, coreopsis, or santolina asclepias.

Most weeds arrive with spring and the seeds are airborne. You can avoid some of them by simply holding off on watering in early spring.

Still, if you have a garden, at some point you can expect to have some weeds. And when they do show up, pay attention — those weeds are talking to you.

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