New FertilCrop Technical Note: Weeds as soil bioindicators: How to sample and use data


This technical note shows how weed species can be used as indicators of soil conditions that are either linked to soil characteristics (such as soil pH or texture) or to soil management (such as water logging, lack or excess of nutrients, compaction). It also includes a table on how to interprets the findings and a bioindicator species table.

It should be stressed that (i) this kind of analysis does not always provide consistent results, because the relationship between weed species and soil conditionsis not always clear cut and that (ii) the suggested sampling methodology requires some basic botanical skills for weed identification.

The technical note can be downloaded from Organic Eprints.

Further information


About FertilCrop

Fertility Building Management Measures in Organic Crop-ping Systems – FertilCrop is a project funded CORE Organic Plus Funding Bodies, being partners of the FP7 ERA-Net project CORE Organic Plus. The overall aim of FertilCrop is to develop efficient and sustainable management techniques aimed at increasing crop productivity in organic farming systems. More information about FertilCrop is available at

Download Weeds as soil bioindicators: How to sample and use data.


Carlesi, Stefano and Barberi, Paolo (2017) Weeds as soil bioindicators: How to sample and use data. Technical Note. Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), CH-Frick and Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna (SSSA), IT-Pisa.

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