A couple thoughts. I’ve got a lot of bindweed on my acre in New Mexico. First, it usually looks worse than it is. By that I mean it can look like an entire area is filled with bindweed but in fact it is often just the rampant growth from a handful of plants. Not sure if that’s much consolation.
Second, the major thing wrong with it is how it chokes out other plants, covering them in vines. Most of the time it doesn’t really hurt them. It just looks bad. Even if I just go through and pull the stuff up from the surface without trying to get roots, that keeps the bindweed from climbing over nearby plants and I’m satisfied. I might have to do that a couple times a season. It takes it a while to grow back. Since it’s usually a handful of plants, it’s relatively easy to find the base and just yank out the vines.
Third, when it’s growing in softened soil, as in the garden, it’s definetly easier to dig out some of the root, though folks here are suggesting that the real root is much deeper. Also, the bindweed doesn’t seem to spread the way some other invasives do. Invasive grasses, for example, spread underground and can take over a large area. My experience so far with bindweed is that each plant may keep coming back for years but it doesn’t seem to spread itself into new areas. The young seedling plants that come up are easy to eradicate.
Learn to live with it – eradication is impossible. In my experience, it doesn’t compete that well with tall cool season grasses that get going before the bindweed comes out. Around trees and garden beds I mulch heavily, and that reduces it by probably 80%-90%. Everywhere else I just keep chopping it back with the week whacker.
Bare soil is bindweed’s best friend. Get a grassy ground cover like fescue to compete with it. Then use a broad spectrum herbicide like Speedzone to knock out the bindweed and leave the grass. The established fescue will keep most of the seeds from germinating, so long as it’s thick.
Bindweed seeds can survive generations in the soil waiting to germinate. Your solarization was just the type of environment they wanted.
I tried cutting it back to about 1.5 feet, defoliating most of it and sealing stems of it with roundup in ziptop plastic bags. (taped shut)
I actually went through and dug out beds and sifted out the linguine-like roots and destroying them. They just re-infested my beds from the neighbors’ yards. The roots, while thick and substantial are also]]]]
I find that cutting it back at ground level weekly or so, while simultaneously allowing it areas in which it can take over things I care less about (like rose of sharon, climbing rose bushes and the fence between myself and the neighbors) is the only way I keep my garden beds clear.
Do make sure to cut it back before it ripens seeds.
I agree with Squiggy and JVD. Bindweed is a major problem in vineyards where we tend to eliminate all their competition and give them a nice trellis to climb up. Where I seeded a low growing fescue mix under the trellis the bindweed tended to climb up the grass, get confused, and stay in check (small leaves, slow growth).
As others have mentioned it is important to differentiate between field and hedge bindweed. With systemics it might not matter but some herbicides like rimsulfuron are effective against one (hedge in this case) and not effective on the other (field).
When we took over this place it was a veritable jungle of invasives left for decades.Bindweed and other vines had climbed up structures and wrapped themselves onto cable lines coming from the alley. Some branches then dropped to the ground and others climbed their way back up the ones that grew down. It ran about 14 feet off the ground. We started work immediately. It took TWO months to hack and slash it all back. We then got to start killing 100-year old porcelain berry stumps and a variety of woodies that fused themselves within the chain link fence. It is now 6 years later. The majority is gone. But we have to treat it like a game of whack-a-mole. It keeps coming up and we keep killing. It’s much better now but I can’t foresee anything less than continued killing these weeds in the near future.
Add to that my neighbor has let bishops weed grow all over…some bamboo which they hate but allow to grow, and freaking morning glories.
Anyway, just keep hammering away at it. It gets better.
Field bindweed causes a lot of problems in our caged tomatoes. We’ve found diligent pulling and/or spraying with glyphosate is the best way to best minimize and almost eliminate it. It climbs up the plants and cages if left unchecked.
In addition to bindweed and morning glory, honeyvine milkweed is another bad one for us. It’s always trying to climb up the trees in the orchard. The herbicides we use don’t seem to knock it out of the orchard.
The rhizomes follow the path of least resistance. Thick layers of mulch will encourage the majority of rhizomes to develop near the surface where they can be lifted in long sections at a time. The more rhizome you lift out at a time the smaller and weaker the subsequent regrowth till it’s eradicated. Note: the mulch needs to be without cardboard beneath because it will interfere with pulling the rhizomes.
I have read that the role of bindweed is to make calcium available in low calcium areas. Many people here have problems with it, as we tend to have low calcium. I would sprinkle ag lime in the area, as it is really cheap, thus removing the niche of the bindweed. It is trying to heal your soil. Inform the bindweed that its services are no longer needed with ag lime.
In Montana Quinclorac has been used along with more common broadleaf herbicides in wheat. It is very problematic in wheat fields as if can cause the wheat to get caught up in heavy clumps and fall down so that harvesting is difficult. I think using glyphosate on it is not doing anymore than pulling. It may kill the top but it will be right back. I pull an occasional plant if I see blooms but it’s better to just it hit with broadleaf herbicides. I have dry quinclorac that goes along way in combination mixes. My neighbourhood had a defeatist attitude about the weed and just let it go so that it was essentially their lawn. After I had good luck with the weed they have started getting it sprayed early in the year and it has almost eliminated the problem over time. I hate to use herbicides but with bindweed the only alternative is covering it and it will find its way out. Some have said planting squash will smother it.I agree the dauber approach is best.