Weeds tell the story

Element - - Planet -

Agro-ecol­o­gist Ni­cole Masters ex­plains that the ap­pear­ance of cer­tain weeds in­di­cate mi­cro­bial dis­tur­bances in soil. For in­stance, rag­wort can in­di­cate that there is a phos­pho­rus and cop­per de­fi­ciency – bi­o­log­i­cal farm­ing is a way to re­dress those im­bal­ances and man­age the prob­lem rather than try­ing to erad­i­cate it. But Masters adds that there isn’t an overnight fix. “With chem­i­cal spraying, weeds are re­moved quickly, but spraying se­lects for soil or­gan­isms which pro­mote more weed growth in the long term. So you have to con­tinue to spray and it be­comes a vi­cious cy­cle.”

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