It’s OK, NJ: Here’s why leaving weeds in your lawn or garden is actually a good thing
As the weather warms up, we start to think about our lawns and gardens. Even while the weather is still cool, there are some early seasonal favorites that like to go in the garden sooner rather than later. And for the lawn, northern grasses also tend to like the cooler days of the growing season.
Lawns for the most part handle any sudden cold swings the weather might bring us. But generally speaking, Mother's Day is usually that magical point to start your garden in New Jersey. That's when we're usually past the last frost or freeze in the Garden State and is considered generally safe to plant most of those warm-weather flowers and vegetables.
But of course, there is one constant that most likely wants to take over your garden space right now, or pop up throughout the lawn. And that culprit is none other than weeds.
So you may be thinking, why would I want weeds to grow in my garden? Why would I want weeds on my lawn? Shouldn't I just pull them up now and prepare for the warmer weather ahead? Not so fast, as there can be added benefits to having them in place this time of year.
1) Weeds hold the soil together
This benefit is more for the garden when not much is growing quite yet. Runoff through a garden can cause a lot of headaches, especially if your garden is on a slope. If your garden area is bare, a lot of that soil can wash away.
Another added problem? Unwanted rocks, stones, or sand washing into your garden, thus making it more difficult to prepare the ground for your plants.
Weeds provide a way to hold your soil in place, and can also serve as a natural barrier to stop unwanted sand or stone from mixing in due to heavy rains.
2) Their roots systems pull up nutrients
The benefits primarily fall within how the root systems work. Weeds can help keep the surface of your garden moist by drawing up groundwater and nutrients deep down in the soil. And those nutrients also aren't a bad thing for the lawn.
So when that time comes to remove them, weeds would've provided a very beneficial service to your garden. Another reason is to leave them in place until the danger of frost has passed.
3) Natural weeds can attract pollinators
Did you know that flowers on weeds can also attract pollinators? It's true. For example, if you see dandelions pop up on your lawn, you might notice bees are attracted to them, which is good news for everyone.
So with that in mind, do yourself a favor and leave a few of those weeds on your lawn or in your garden that produce flowers. It's a great way to naturally attract pollinators such as bees, which in turn, will help your garden thrive. And yes, those flowers on the lawn will also help those pollinators find their way toward your garden.
I'll be honest, I didn't even think about keeping weeds in place until I read many of the garden books we own. What's so great about gardening is that you're constantly learning new techniques that are beneficial to whatever you're trying to grow.
So let them be. Those dandelions will take care of everything else that's yet to come.