Every gardener, no matter how tenacious, has to battle weeds at some point unless they want them to take over the garden. There are many ways of controlling weeds such as spreading plastic or other material below the mulch to keep weeds from sprouting. Remember, not all weeds are created equal. Today, we’re discussing how to control Bindweed. It requires diligence and hard work, but it will be worth it to be able to sit back (at least for a few hours), have a glass of lemonade (you earned it), and enjoy the sight of your labors in your now beautiful flower garden.
Bindweed vs. Morning Glory
Before you go into battle, know your enemy. Bindweed and Morning Glory are very similar to one another. Bindweed is a fast-spreading, tenacious, deeply-rooted garden pest that will strangle any plant it touches, and the plants it likes to touch include your vegetable garden and flower beds. With roots that extend into the soil up to 10 feet down and 30 feet wide, and a stem that breaks easily when pulling, leaving the root to quickly re-grow, bindweed is hard to kill. Bindweed can flourish in the tiniest cracks between pavers and railroad ties, and the grass below a raised bed.
While often confused one with another, bindweed and morning glories are two distinct plants. Some gardeners consider morning glories as unwelcome as bindweed because they also climb other plants. However, unlike bindweed, some gardeners actively cultivate morning glories because of their beautiful flowers. The main difference is in the color of the flowers which are white on bindweed and have a variety of colorful flowers like purple, pink, and lavender for morning glories.
Once you have identified your enemy, now you can move in for the kill. The deep and wide system of roots on the bindweed makes it hard to kill and it will not go easily — you must persist in order to make progress and guard your yard against any outliers.
A simple, non-chemical method to control bindweed is to use boiling water by pouring the water on the visible plant and in a wide area around the shoot to help kill the branching roots below the surface.
Another popular non-chemical method of fighting bindweed, which also requires diligence, is to repeatedly prune any bindweed down to the soil. Every time you see a shoot, clip it off. Because the plant will eventually die from having to expend the energy to re-grow time and time again.
There are other spreading ground covers that will choke out the bindweed. Because, although the bindweed is persistent, it is not able to compete with other aggressive plants or certain types of grass like Zoysia which grows a network of interlocking roots preventing weeds from growing.
Just remember, there are many yard battles with various weeds and other undesirable plants when cultivating flowers or vegetables. It requires hard work and a time commitment, but in the end, it is all worth it.