Your Weeds Tell a Soil Story

This is reprinted with a thank you to http://www.sundialseed.com. I love this information…

Your weeds are here because of what’s going on in the soil.Every wild weed that sprouts in and around your garden is growing there in response to the current conditions in your soil.

If your soil is rich in nitrogen, you might see Chicory showing up on the scene. If your soil is low in fertility you might see yarrow popping its head out to condition the soil.

You can use this information from the weeds as you would a soil test to help you work with your soil.

The weeds themselves are processing these soil imbalances in an attempt to amend and balance the profile of the soil towards a climax ecosystem. We can read these weed signs and help the natural process on its way in our gardening.

We compiled this table of Weed plants and their associated soil conditions that might be at play.

Weed Plant Indicates possible Soil Condition
Amaranth Rich soil, high in nitrogen
Bindweed Compacted soil
Chicory Rich, sweet soil high Nitrogen
Chickweed Rich, sweet soil high Nitrogen
Groundsel Rich soil
Crabgrass Soil depleted of nutrients and low in calcium
Dandelions Poor soil, low in calcium & high in potassium
Dock Wet, poorly drained soil
Goldenrod Wet, poorly drained soil
Henbit High nitrogen
Knapweed Rich soil high in potassium
Knotweed Compact ground
Lamb’s quarters Rich soil, high in nitrogen
Little blue-stem Dry sandy soil depleted of nutrients
Moss Soggy acidic soil low in nutrients
Common mullein Low fertility & possibly soil too acidic
Mustard Dry sandy soil high in phosphorus
Common wood sorrel Low Calcium
Oxalis (Wood Sorrel) Low calcium and high magnesium
Ox-eye daisy Low fertility in acidic, possibly soggy, soil with poor fertility
Pearly everlasting Acidic soil low in nutrients
Peppergrass Sweet soil
Plantain Compacted sour soil with low fertility and often indicates heavy clay or garden path areas
Purslane Rich soil, high phosphorus
Quack grass Heavy clay or compacted soil
Queen Anne’s lace Poor dry sweet soil
Ragweed Low fertility
Sensitive fern Poorly drained soil low in nutrients
Sweet fern Sandy acidic soil
Stinging nettle Rich acidic soil
Sheep sorrel Acidic soil low in nitrogen, dry sour sandy soil, low in calcium
Yarrow Poor dry sandy soil with poor fertility, low in potassium