“A weed is but an unloved flower.”
Ella Wheeler Wilcox
99.99% of the time, you don’t want weeds growing in your yard or garden. Or so you might think. While I’m not recommending you uproot your tomatoes or rose bushes to make room for dandelions, you may find that weeds provide benefits to your garden you’ll want to take advantage of in the future.
Garden Tip 1: Weeds Help Protect the Soil
The very quality that makes weeds a nightmare is the same one that makes them great at protecting the ground: overpopulation. Because of their fast growth, weeds can cover an area quickly and thoroughly. For your backyard garden, take advantage of this green blanket. The plants’ roots will hold soil together and prevent it from eroding in wind and rain.
Expert tip: If you notice areas in your yard and/or garden that attract large populations of weeds, you might want to consider adding another form of soil protection. Mulch is a nice, natural option. If you want to remove weeds altogether and need a more professional landscaped look, remove the grass and plants and replace with landscape fabric and river rock.
Garden Tip 2: Weeds Help Fertilize the Soil
A good number of weeds draw vital nutrients from the subsoil into their leaves. After the plants die, their leaves form a natural healing medicine — or fertilizer — for the topsoil. If you grow vegetables in your garden, you might want to think about rotating between tomatoes and dandelions. Vegetables strip the ground of nutrients, so to ensure quality produce for many more years to come, allow weeds to replenish the soil with the necessary nutrients.
Expert tip: If your yard and garden seem to be weed heaven, that is a pretty good indicator the soil is craving extra nutrition. While weeds are one option, you can enrich the ground through other means like compost or worm castings.
Garden Tip 3: Weeds Help Condition the Soil
Not only do the leaves nourish the soil, but the roots of weeds also provide lots of vital organic matter to the ground. Deep taproots especially serve as channels for air, water, worms, and other beneficial microbes to penetrate the soil. When you incorporate weeds into your gardening and/or landscaping, you can save yourself a lot of work in the long run and enjoy a much healthier yard.
Garden Tip 4: Weeds Help Attract Insects
Perhaps you’ve observed the life cycle of a dandelion. If so, you’ll know they are relatively short-lived plants. They sprout, bloom, and die within a few weeks. Because of this, dandelions — and other weeds — will flower frequently in order to produce seeds for the next round of plants. With almost constant blossoms, weeds are great at attracting insects looking for nectar or a safe place to rest. If you grow any other plants and/or vegetables, you’ll appreciate the influx of these beneficial bugs.
As you can see, the stereotype about weeds is not rock solid. These pesky plants hold amazing benefits for the ecosystem. Depending on the type of landscape and/or garden you want, using weeds may or may not be right for you. Hopefully, after reading this post, you can now make a more informed decision about these plants when it comes to your own yard. Happy planting!