Bindweed Control

Bindweed after being sprayed – note the stick it has been trained to grow up makes it easier to spray”. Bindweed will grow up living plants and throttle them if left unchecked.

My first garden in Oxford had been neglected for 10 or 20 years. Bindweed had run rampant throughout the garden, there was no alternative but to spend many hours and many years before I was able to bring it under control.

This is the strategy I used for bringing a bindweed garden under control.

Bringing Bindweed under Control

1. Dig up Roots. If bindweed is well established, it will have developed an extensive system of roots which will make it resistant to the odd spray. I suggest starting by having a thorough dig taking a section of the garden one at a time. Don’t try to dig the whole garden as you will be depressed at the scale of the job. Start with a manageable section and dig deep to get as much of the white root as possible.

If the soil is dry it is easier to separate the roots from the soil. It actually becomes quite satisfying job, seeing how much of the white roots you can dig up. You will want to go at least as deep as a full spade blade. Lift up the soil and shake of the soil surrounding the roots. Be relatively gentle as the roots are quite brittle and new weeds will grow from even small bits of root. When the ground is dug over, you can start planting as you won’t have to dig it again.

This digging is unlikely to eradicate bindweed, because some small bits of root are likely to survive. However, any shoots that come up will be much weaker and spraying these shoots will be much more effective.

2. Spraying Bindweed

Growing bindweed up roots. If bindweed starts growing amidst bedding plants. Put a twig or cane in the ground. It will soon start to climb up this and then it is much easier to spary or paint weed killer onto without damaging the other plants.

A day after spraying, the bindweed will already be dying back and the weedkiller will have gone back into the roots. You can then dig up the dying plant trying to get the roots as well.

You may need several sprays but, ultimately you will be able to defeat bindweed.

Eradicating Bindweed

Is it possible to eradicate bindweed?

I would say yes, after a few years, the bindweed in the garden had mostly disappeared. In my new garden, it occassionally pops up so I deal with it quickly to prevent it spreading – you definitely don’t want to let it run to seed (even if it’s white flowers are actually quite attractive)

Bindweed is certainly easier to eradicate than a perennial pain like horsetail.

Weed Killers for Bindweed

Book Cover at Amazon.co.uk

Weedkillers at Amazon.co.uk

Organic Bindweed Removal & Control
Trying to avoid chemicals in my soft fruit garden I have grown some Bindweed or Convolvulus. Some plants have come through a hedge from another area and some are growing at the foot of a wall. All are growing in inconvenient places but when did weeds ever conform.

  • Removing Bindweed takes persistence. Any portion of root broken off during the digging process will mean a new Bindweed plant in the spring!
  • Dig out as much of the white roots as possible with a fork
  • Gently pull the weeds out every week and starve the roots to death. Pull gently and you will bring some of the root system out with the weed.
  • Hoeing repeatedly will exhaust the white fleshy underground stems
  • If it is growing through plants, unless you patiently unwind every stem, go to ground level and sever all of the bindweed stems. It will wilt within a few hours.
  • I am taken with one name for Bindweed the Devils Guts and on that basis I may resort to a Weed Burner but that still will not get to the root of the problem
  • Do not compost the white roots!

Other Resources

Royal Horticultural Society RHS ‘Gardening for All’
National Council for Conservation of Plants and Gardens ‘Conservation through Cultivation.’
Garden Organic National Charity for Organic Gardening.
BBC Gardening

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