Why It's Not A Bad Thing If There Is Lambs Quarter In Your Lawn

Lambs quarter has a reputation for being hard to remove once it's found on your lawn. It produces tons of seeds that germinate once the soil is disturbed, causing a nuisance in many gardens. Even though lambs quarter is persistent, it's not technically invasive. Though it may be bad news when it readily multiplies in your yard, there are some compelling reasons to keep the weed around – It provides fertilizer to the soil and invites wildlife into your garden.

These pesky weeds are an important part of the ecosystem — including the one in your backyard. They're an indicator of soil health and can give you some clues about what's going right or wrong in the garden. They also feed many mammals you might find skittering through your yard. If you don't like the idea of lambs quarter being on your lawn, you can allow it to grow in a specific area and mow the plants when they're young to prevent them from spreading.

Lambs quarter tells you about soil health

Until recently, lambs quarter was believed to be native to Europe, but archaeological studies show that Native Americans stored lambs quarter seeds well before Europeans arrived in North America. You'll find this plant in one of two places — healthy soil with other plants or sub-par soil where plants were recently removed. If you have lambs quarter all over your lawn, it means you either have a healthy lawn, or it's high in potassium and low in phosphorus. 

So, how can you tell? Take a look at what else is on your lawn — wild buckwheat, onyx daisies, and redroot pigweed can also be found growing in similar conditions. If you fertilize your lawn appropriately and keep it consistently moist, lambs quarter is most likely sticking around because the soil is ideal. You can use lambs quarter to your advantage. Mow over young seedlings before they develop seeds, till them into the soil, and they'll work as green manure providing nitrogen to your plants. You can fertilize your lawn or save the clippings for your garden or compost pile.

It provides food for you and local wildlife

If you like to eat homegrown food or care about the wildlife around you, lambs quarter will also produce enough food to go around. It can be cooked as a vegetable and is a popular ingredient in the winter in India. The plant is related to amaranth and quinoa and can be prepared and eaten similarly to both.

Lambs quarter is also commonly fed to livestock, which could be why it's called lambs quarter, pigweed, white goosefoot, bacon-weed, or fat-hen! It's also appreciated by many mammals you might find in your yard, like rodents, deer, and birds. If you like to attract animals to your property, lambs quarter should help, however, it's not a good way to attract pollinators. Lambs quarter is pollinated by itself or the wind, so it doesn't have the kind of pollen attractive to insects, so keep it for the larger mammals instead.