I love weeds, truly! They are the most amazing indicator of soil conditions, they can offer you far more information than any soil test.

The secret to weeds is to observe them in their natural state: does this weed like soils which are wet, exposed, tight, stock camps, old fire sites or highly fertilised? What was happening with management previously? – pugged, overstocked, understocked? Weeds are often plants that are actively working to build and balance soils by mining nutrients and feeding microbes.

One weed that doesn’t tickle my fancy in summer is Onehunga weed; and where do our bare feet onehunga-weed-1-la-600x396commonly encounter it? Often in high traffic areas (extra frustrating), where you park your car or on your way to the beach. What does this say about a soil? These soils are often highly compacted, low in available nutrients and low in humus/carbon.

Therefore the prescription is to reduce the disturbance –  you could put down paving stones in a high traffic area or park somewhere else. Then the next step is to repair or build the soil by applying nutrients, especially calcium, with some foods for biology (e.g. fish, humic acid, seaweed, vermicast) to open up the soils, help to build humus and make the soil more attractive to other softer grass species.

Autumn is the perfect time to start working on your soils so you can roll around on your lawn next summer.

If you have a query about weeds, please don’t hesitate to contact me 🙂