Weeds as Soil Indicators

The types of weeds growing in your garden are not always completely bad. Weeds act as soil indicators, letting you know what type of soil you have when they grow in your garden.

| July/August 1987

  • 106-071-01.jpg
    Goldenrod prefers to grow in wet soil.
    PHOTO: SUSAN SIDES

  • 106-071-01.jpg

Weeds usually cause problems when gardening, but did you know weeds can also act as soil indicators, informing you of what type of soil you have in the garden? 

Weeds as Soil Indicators

Acid soil: Ox-eye daisy (Chrysanthemum leucanthemum), curly dock (Rumex crispus), sheep sorrel (Rumex acetosella), sow thistle (Sonchus species), prostrate knotweed (Poly-gonum aviculare), lady's-thumb (Polygonum persicaria), wild strawberries (Fragaria species), plantain (Plantago major), rough cinquefoil (Potentilla monspeliensis), silvery cinquefoil (Potentilla argentea), hawkweeds (Hieracium aurantiacum and pratense), knapweeds (Centaurea species). 

Alkaline soil: Field peppergrass (Lepidium virginicum), goosefoot (Chenopodium species), gromwell (Lithospermum officinale), true chamomile (Anthemis nobilis), bladder campion (Silene latifolia). 

Wet soil: Cattail (Typha latifolia), horsetail (Equisetum arvense), bull sedge (Carex lasiocarpa), lady's-thumb (Polygonum persicaria), joe-pye weed (Eupatorium purpureum), silvery cinquefoil (Potentilla argentea), curly dock (Rumex crispus), mosses, Pennsylvania smartweed (Polygonum pensylvanicum), tall buttercup (Ranunculus acris), creeping buttercup (Ranunculus repens). May apple (Podophyllum peltatum), sheep sorrel (Rumex acetosella), thyme-leafed speedwell (Veronica serpyllifolia), Canada goldenrod (Solidago canadensis), lance-leaved goldenrod (Solidago graminifolia), meadow pink (Lychnis floscuculi), jewelweed (Impatiens pallida), coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara), marsh mallow (Althaea officinalis), sweet flag (Acorus calamus), ground nut (Apios americana). 



Dry soil: Virginia pepperweed (Lepidium virginicum), rough cinquefoil (Potentilla monspeliensis), potato vine (Ipomoea pandurata). 

Sandy soil: Sandbur (Cenchrus species), dog fennel (Eupatorium capillifolium), cornflower (Centaurea cyanus), yellow toadflax (Linaria vulgaris), small nettle (Urtica urens), arrow-leafed wild lettuce (Lactuca pulchella), maltese thistle (Centaurea melitensis). 

Frank J Norman
5/29/2018 7:24:49 PM

Love the concept here and love that weeds may be indicators. But this list of plants is too broad in its application--not true for all regions and just plain innaccurate.


trailrider
5/29/2018 7:24:18 PM

A neighbour farmer told me that if there's moss growing, your soil needs nitrogen.







Mother Earth News Fair Schedule 2019

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Next: February, 16-17 2019
Belton, TX

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!

LEARN MORE








Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

Money-Saving Tips in Every Issue!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).


Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard
Free Product Information Classifieds

}