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Battling Bindweed in your garden?

Published: 15th June, 2016

How to control bindweedAlong with summer in an English garden comes weeds. And if there’s one weed that you don’t want in your garden, it’s Bindweed.

Bindweed actually has quite a pretty, white, trumpet-like flower but it is a brute of a plant. An invasive vine, once established it’s extremely difficult to get rid of. It out-competes your garden plants and reduces plant yield. It forms an extensive root system of creeping underground stems (rhizomes) that can go 5m or deeper into the soil.  The Bindweed stems creep along the surface of the soil, climbing fences, other plants and whatever else they encounter, forming dense, tangled mats.

Entwining its way around your prized plants, bindweed will eventually strangle them or can get so heavy that eventually it will drag the plants over.

So how do you get rid of, or at least control, this dreaded garden killer.

Non chemical control of Bindweed

If the area that is infested is open ground, eg an unplanted allotment, apply sheet mulch (cardboard and wood chips) and give it a few months for the underground stems to come up to the surface. Then using a fork loosen the soil and pull all the visible stems and roots out, starting at one end and working your way across systematically to be as thorough as possible. Once you’ve removed as much as possible then mulch thickly again. This process might have to be repeated again next growing season.

If the bindweed is present in garden beds and is entwined with other plants you first need to unwind it, but be careful as pulling and tugging can damage your good plants that you are trying to save. Unwind it as far to the base as you can and then loosen the soil around where you find the roots and remove as much as you can with a fork. Then BE PERSISTENT, keep pulling it out when you see it. DO NOT let it flower. Seeds can remain dormant in the soil for up to 20 years, but you can keep it under control if you keep removing it as you find it. If you can keep removing the foliage above ground, you’ll force the plant to use up its energy reservoirs in its roots. The roots will begin to starve which will eventually kill it. After 2-3 years of ruthless weeding you should be able to almost eradicate this plant

Continue to remove even the smallest of bindweeds before the roots have developed and do not put removed weeds in a compost heap, as they will regrow from even the smallest section of root.

Chemical Control of Bindweed

Glyphosate is the best chemical form of control. It’s a non-selective weedkiller applied to the foliage, where it is transported throughout the weed to the roots. (e.g. Westland Resolva and Doff Super Strength Glyphosate)

As the stems of bindweed typically weave their way round other plants, unfortunately it’s often difficult to apply spray weedkiller or you would kill off your plant. A spot weedkiller such as Round Up Gel can be used. Dab it onto as many leaves as you can then leave it to be taken down to the root system. Try and trace the leaves down to ground level just above the soil and coat those liberally with the gel – that way the chemicals will make their way down to the roots and kill the weed quicker.

If you have large areas of bindweed that are away from beds then you can spray indiscriminately. It is usually more effective when the weed has reached the flowering stage, but can be effective well into the autumn. Early spring applications are generally less successful. Spraying in the early evening is more effective than spraying during the day.

Controlling bindweed can be a long and difficult process, but it can be done if you are willing to take the time.

If you need help on choosing the right weedkiller for the job, staff at Henry Street Garden Centre will be able to advise you.

One thought on “Battling Bindweed in your garden?

  • Catherine Barker

    I rent a house and have just got into really looking after the garden. Bindweed is well and truly established in the garden !!!! I have been digging out the roots, WOW. I can not believe how many there is, every where I dig they are there. Normally you break a part of root it dies. Oh No not this it lives on and spruts new ones. Like it says above be persistent that’s what I’m going to do and hope for the best !!!!!

    Cheers

    From a BINDWEED HATER

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