We are all taught that weeds are something to remove and destroy from our yards because they are useless or somehow taking from our soil. What if I were to tell you that weeds are so beneficial for your soil in more than a few? Weeds are wonderful!
Yup! Things like dandelion, cleavers and clover are far more valuable to the overall health of our soil than St. Augustine ever will be. Let’s go for the roots.
Root Systems for Soil Health
Root systems in a common weed like dandelion have tap roots that go sometimes a foot below the surface. It kind of resembles a carrot or turnip. We call these mining roots and they bring minerals found deep, up to the top-soil through the leaves and flowers of so-called weeds. Chop and drop these AFTER they have bloomed (don’t forget the bees) and all those delicious minerals get to feed right back into the soil.
In a weed like Cleaver (Sticky Weed), the root system is not deep however it cleans the air and soil of any heavy metals lurking around its grow space. The leaves of this plant when cut down are fiberous and serve as a great living mulch for those frosty spring mornings.
For clover, the root systems spread far and wide making them the perfect plant pal for exchanging nutrients and water. These “weeds” are super nitrogen fixers! That means that they give nitrogen to others and even back into the soil once cut down to feed future plants. What a champ!
Not only are these plants great for restoring soil health, but they are also medicinal. Dandelions are a great green to eat fresh but also to help cleanse the liver and as digestive aid. Cleavers do the same for us as they do for their own space: Filter heavy metals and toxins from the body. Clovers are a stellar source of vitamin C and their beautiful flower is a perfect tea for women cycles.
These three are just a few examples of the many, many beneficial plants actually growing in your yard. Learn what you have going on in your spot because I guarantee there is a party happening out there and it’s way cooler than any boring Bermuda Grass Gathering.
Weeds are Wonderful- Let them Grow
So if nothing else, let the weeds grow and feed your yard, let them go wild and feed the bees, or chop and drop (like with a mulching lawnmower for the yard or a rice cutter in the garden). Just don’t uproot these valuable plants! Remember grass that is not native to an area ultimately will deplete the soil and need more water than we need to be giving during those dog days of summer.