Is it worth your time removing weeds on your garden this winter? Actually, not that much. During autumn and winter, these little annoyances (well, for some) are helpful in “reviving” soil.
When we remove weeds, we often tend to completely eradicate them off to the point that soil is exposed bare. Unfortunately, leaving soil like that is bad for its health.
Bare soil is wounded soil. Why is it considered wounded? Think of soil as human skin. When it gets too exposed in sunlight, it gets damaged and dried fast. Also, getting soil exposed to too much sunlight can disrupt the lives of helpful creatures that make soil rich and healthy. One of those creatures are earthworms.
Too much sunlight discourages earthworms to resurface. The heat and sunlight make them want to just stay underground. Aside from earthworms, exposed soil makes it difficult for microscopic soil organisms to thrive.
To protect soil against harsh conditions, resilient weeds are needed. Unfortunately, many people have this ‘feeling’ that they need to wipeout every signs of weed that appear on their lawn or property. And that should be stopped, or at least controlled.
Removing weeds should only be done when it is needed. Ideally, weeds should be only pulled out when you need to let your garden plants monopolize the nutrients in your soil or if the weeds have already overgrown your lawn.
You need to let them stay for a while for them to act as sunscreen for your soil. They provide shelter for garden helpers and they set the right soil temperature for microorganisms to flourish. You do not need to worry about the nutrients that these weeds will consume. They do not hog a lot of it.
Aside from acting as a sunscreen, weeds help improve the fertility of the soil. Their roots pack the soil together, which improves the soil’s structure. Weeds with longer roots push the nutrients located deep into the soil up, which will make these nutrients easier to absorb for other plants.
The stems of these weeds, on the other hand, traps organic matter and dead leaves. And because of that, the soil and earthworms will have an easier time breaking them down. Lastly, when these weeds die out, they return to soil as nutrients.