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Learning to read weeds

 
Chris Dean
Posts: 108
Location: South New Mexico Mountains
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I've heard about the ability to see what soil needs from the weeds that come from it, but only in brief segments and paragraphs. I've never come across anything in-depth about it so I'm starting to look for some more info.

Most people on this forum have probably heard something along these lines. The idea is a "weed" will pull up nutrients from below the soil level and bring it to the top so that it can feed the soil. There are other components of this, but that's one of the basic things I've heard.

Does anyone know of any books that are useful for this kind of identifying?
 
Leila Rich
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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Hi Chris,
Aside from being nutrient accumulators, it's really useful knowing what weeds like what conditions. For example, dock and ranunculus thrive in acidic, waterlogged, compacted, anaerobic soil. My place is alkaline, dry and sandy and the only way those plants have arrived is in horse manure.
Further up bthe valley, where the soil turns to clay, they're everywhere.
Here's a thread on the Australian Permaculture Institute (PRI) forum that might help:
http://forums.permaculture.org.au/showthread.php?8241-What-weeds-tell-us
 
osker brown
Posts: 146
Location: Southern Appalachia
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Weeds as Soil Indicators - Straightforward table of weed indications
Dynamic Accumulators list - Table of various nutrient accumulators
Weeds Guardians of the Soil - Haven't read all of this, seems a little rambley
Plant choices - Phytochemeco database - Put in a plant name and get a list of all chemical constituents
High-low Chemical query - Put in a chemical and get an ordered list of plants by ppms
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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osker thanks for the great links..

one thing to remember is if you are bringing in products from off site, you may get plants growing that aren't really indicators of YOUR property, but the property you are bringing your products from..such as mulch, manure, hay, etc..
 
Ben Stallings
Posts: 151
Location: Emporia, KS
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If your grass turns blue, it could be a warning of an impending Silurian invasion: http://tardis.wikia.com/wiki/Blue_grass Sorry, couldn't resist. Still, folks in Kentucky should take heed and stop removing mountaintops.

Thank you for the links, Leila and Osker. Hm, so according to the "Weeds as Soil Indicators" table, if my garden has both henbit and lamb's quarters, it has both low and high fertility. Interesting!
 
Morgan Morrigan
Posts: 1400
Location: Verde Valley, AZ.
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Great graphs on this in the edible landscaping book by Kourkis .

Very straightforward book, not rambly. a little older, but a good read for us sciencey types. lots of fruit tree tables too. Works well with the HP Books for Fruit trees of the West, and HP book on Trellises and Espeliers. More i look at espeliers, the more i like. Good food, and takes up so much less space, while putting shade where you want it.
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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