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Bindweed Unbound

By LarryR
August 14, 2013

I just spent the better part of an afternoon extricating the perennials in one of my flower beds from the death grip of field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis). Weeds don’t come much nastier than this thug. It’s considered one of the most noxious weeds in the world.

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Aug 13, 2013 7:09 PM CST
Name: Lynn
Oregon City, OR (Zone 8b)
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I was hoping for a bit of a magic bullet when I read the title to your article. Sigh, not so.
But the information is encouraging. I have been fighting it for quite a few years in my raised beds. It used to be a solid mass at the end of winter. Now it is a quick job of weeding every week or two. The population of bindweed has greatly diminished.

Thanks for the article Larry.
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Aug 13, 2013 11:39 PM CST
Name: Connie
Willamette Valley OR (Zone 8a)
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My front lawn is full of bindweed. The lawns on each side of my yard are full of bindweed. My lily garden off my patio is full of bindweed. My vegetable gardens (2) are full of bindweed. My raised lily bed (between the two vegetable gardens are full of bindweed. It is hard to work on all of this and see any progress. Add to that wild garlic and Arum italicum that I would love to see GONE Angry .

Lately I have been working on the front lawn, pulling the bindweed where ever I see a bloom or greenery (easy to see in our summer drought as I and everyone else quit watering and the lawns are all brown).

The concept of starving the underground elements makes sense and that is what I focus on. I suspected that the roots ran deep as this stuff looks so green when the lawn is dead looking. Guess I will just keep pulling (read: break off).

Thanks for the info, Larry.
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Aug 14, 2013 5:31 AM CST
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
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Thanks for the encouragement on bindweed.
I am battling an infestation in one part of my yard.
Last summer, I tried spraying it,but it is back again.
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Aug 14, 2013 6:30 AM CST
Surprisingly GREEN Pittsburgh (Zone 6a)
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Good to know.
I have practiced the vigilance part by pulling the vines out back to their emergent place, but although I knew the vine was breaking off and I wasn't getting the whole root, I never knew there was a rhizome under there.
And, sadly, I am one of the gardeners who thought my new house in a part of the country I had never lived simply came with this lovely "wildflower" until I realized what a brute it is. SO I probably have a decade to go before I'm rid of it. I haven't let a seed form for 3-4 years now, but I have never dug a single rhizome.
Crying



edited for spelling
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Last edited by crittergarden Aug 14, 2013 6:38 AM Icon for preview
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Aug 14, 2013 6:57 AM CST
Name: Renée
Northern KY
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Thanks for putting into words everyone's sentiment about this awful plant, Larry. I also keep pulling out what I can in hopes that the root gives up one day. The image of you stomping them into the cement is a fun one!
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Aug 14, 2013 7:50 AM CST
Surprisingly GREEN Pittsburgh (Zone 6a)
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I like the burning idea.
Just cremate the s.o.b.!
Glare
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Aug 14, 2013 8:44 AM CST
Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
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I have been having a small battle with Bindweed myself. Luckily I knew long ago what a thug it is and so I've been vigilant to remove any sign of it as soon as I see it. But some grows just out of reach on the other side of my neighbor's fence. So I'm sure I will battle this thug forever.

But I am persistent. I have experience with thugs. When I moved to this property two years ago I discovered two other foes. The front bed was thick with Chameleon plant. No amount of spraying would get rid of it. Last summer I resorted to digging up the whole large bed, two feet down, and sifting all the dirt to remove every last bit of rhizome I could. Then I left the bed empty for the season so I could monitor any returns. Those I hit with a strong dose of round up. The bed is planted this year but I still find tiny babies of Chameleon plant here and there. These must be from left behind seed. They are easy to pull out and are not connected to any "mother". I suspect I will forever have to closely monitor the area and stay vigilant.

My second nemisis is Horsetail weed. I cried and cried when I found this all over at our new place, not only in the flower beds but also in the lawn. My grandmother has long battled this weed and I learned from her that if you try to dig it all out it makes it worse. I know that not only is there the part that comes up from the soil, but the mother deep in the earth. For this reason Roundup does not work because it does not go deep enough to kill the mother. It thrives in moist, lean, acidic soil with low oxygen. The first thing I did was remove all the wood mulch in the beds, since it thrives with moisture. Then, EVERY SINGLE DAY, I went around with a plastic bag and plucked every piece I could find. I was especially vigilant to find the spore bearing stems before they matured! I plucked A LOT! I was careful not to leave any broken pieces behind. (Some sources say not to pluck the stems because a new plant just forms. I plucked and improved the soil) Then as I planted the bed I made sure to enrich the soil with as much compost as I could. My beds have a great deal of clay so I also used perlite to help aerate the soil. I wanted to add peat but did not want to raise the acidity, so this year I added ProMix to the soil since it does have lime to balance the peat. The one thing I did not do was actively raise the pH because I had a mix of plants I was planting and wanted to keep the soil as neutral as possible. However, I am told that applying lime does help over time. That was last year. This year the problem is much more under control. There is only a bit coming up here and there. Again, any I see I just pluck and I continue to work to break down the clay and improve the soil. I found this article helpful http://www.maine.gov/agricultu...

This was in the flower beds. The lawn was a different story. I was impossible to clear it out. This year I tried an Ortho product that you spray on the lawn and it kills the weeds and not the lawn, can't remember the name but I was specifically looking for 2,4d. I did not expect it to work because it said it was for broadleaf weeds and horsetail is definitley not broadleaf. But to my surprise it worked like a charm. Horsetail disappeared. But I am no fool. I know the mother is still there and it will come back. Since I do not have the money to remove the lawn, change the soil, and replace the lawn I will do what I can. I will aerate and continue to use this weed killer again in the spring.
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Aug 14, 2013 8:49 AM CST
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Name: Kent Pfeiffer
Southeast Nebraska (Zone 5b)
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CarolineScott said:Thanks for the encouragement on bindweed.
I am battling an infestation in one part of my yard.
Last summer, I tried spraying it,but it is back again.


Most herbicides, including Roundup, are ineffective against bindweed. At most, they cause browning of the leaves, but don't kill the rhizomes and roots. Tordon (picloram) is perhaps the only herbicide that actually kills bindweed. But, the decision to use Tordon shouldn't be made lightly. It is both highly persistent (typically takes YEARS to break down) and mobile in soil, two rather undesirable characteristics in any pesticide.
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Aug 14, 2013 9:24 AM CST
Surprisingly GREEN Pittsburgh (Zone 6a)
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I have not tried this myself but I have it from a reliable source (a local expert named Doug Oster) that IRON will kill weeds in a lawn and the grass doesn't mind it. Look it up.
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Aug 14, 2013 9:51 AM CST
Name: Paul
Utah (Zone 5b)
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I also am battling bind weed. A few years ago I completely redid a bed in the fall which I intended to use for iris seedlings in the spring. It was empty except for weeds including lots of bind weed. In October I sprayed it with a strong mix of concentrated round-up mixed with some 2-4-D. 3 weeks later I sprayed it again. Spring came and it did not come back. In the fall bindweed is pulling energy down into the roots and pulls the Round-up down killing the roots. Used in the summer it just burns off the top and doesn't kills the roots. I've also had it in some Junipers in a parking strip. I have pulled it several times each summer and each year there has been less.; Persistent pulling will eventually get it but it takes forever. A few years ago the city did a beautification project down town and took out a water fountain. It lay on the side of the road for several days and so I brought it home and put it in the garden with a bird bath bowl on top. I took the bowl off to wash it and found the bowl of the fountain full of white bind weed that had grown up the center of the fountain. It is persistent.
Paul Smith Pleasant Grove, Utah
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Aug 14, 2013 10:18 AM CST
Name: Larry Rettig
South Amana, IA (Zone 5a)
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Thanks, all, for your great comments, suggestions, thumbs up and acorns! Thumbs up When battling stubborn weeds, it's always nice to know you're not alone. Smiling
Gardener was the label imprinted on me when the souls were handed out and so be it. --Margaret Roach (Thank you, Sharon!) Notes from the Garden: Articles of interest on all aspects of gardening
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Aug 14, 2013 10:29 AM CST
Surprisingly GREEN Pittsburgh (Zone 6a)
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Amen.
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Aug 14, 2013 12:57 PM CST
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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I have heard that same thing about using Roundup in the fall for bindweed. Reading this article reminds me that I am so very thankful that, among the weeds that I DO have to battle here, bindweed is not one of them! Fought that stuff every year where we lived in Oregon. And our goats just loved the stuff, so they were so very kind as to help spread it everywhere!
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
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Aug 14, 2013 1:10 PM CST
Surprisingly GREEN Pittsburgh (Zone 6a)
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They SPREAD it rather than devouring it???
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Aug 14, 2013 1:17 PM CST
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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If they eat the seeds....... Big Grin
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
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Aug 14, 2013 1:56 PM CST
Name: Neil
London\Kent Border
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Dear Larry, another great article! We get a lot of bindweed in the UK. Normally they use glyphosate mixed with washing up liquid to deal with it.
Although technically you should not use washing up liquids you can use to washing up liquid that is environmentally friendly. The same stuff you wash your dinner plates in. This sticks the glyphosate to the leaves of this terrible plant. Then to get rid of the seeds they flamethrower it, with gas flamethrowers. This of course makes the top seed bank inert!
You can do it by hoe or by putting boundaries in, much better our way.
Please see this as we have several species of bindweed in the UK. http://apps.rhs.org.uk/advices...
Regards from England.
Neil/
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Aug 14, 2013 4:12 PM CST
Surprisingly GREEN Pittsburgh (Zone 6a)
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Woof -
*Blush* Duh!!!!
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Aug 14, 2013 9:44 PM CST
Name: Larry Rettig
South Amana, IA (Zone 5a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Foliage Fan Cottage Gardener Tip Photographer Composter
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Thanks for the comments, Neil. Good to hear from you!
Gardener was the label imprinted on me when the souls were handed out and so be it. --Margaret Roach (Thank you, Sharon!) Notes from the Garden: Articles of interest on all aspects of gardening
Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens: Come on in and take the tour! Check out the photos!
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Aug 17, 2013 2:54 PM CST
Name: Charlie
Aurora, Ontario (Zone 5b)
Maintenance of Perennial Beds.
Great warning, Larry.

Don't use herbicides/pesticides myself, so do it all manually.
Avoiding the problem and also identifying it and acting quickly are a real help.
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Aug 19, 2013 10:08 AM CST
Name: Larry Rettig
South Amana, IA (Zone 5a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Foliage Fan Cottage Gardener Tip Photographer Composter
Organic Gardener Charter ATP Member Garden Photography Houseplants Hybridizer Cat Lover
Thanks much, Charlie. Sounds like you've managed the infestation quite well. Thumbs up
Gardener was the label imprinted on me when the souls were handed out and so be it. --Margaret Roach (Thank you, Sharon!) Notes from the Garden: Articles of interest on all aspects of gardening
Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens: Come on in and take the tour! Check out the photos!

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