The bindweed botanically known as Convolvus arvensis is a very difficult weed to control. If you love gardening you may have seen this weed grow in your garden or your neighborhood. This weed can grow from the seed and root as well and the seed can remain under the soil for 30 years without losing the ability to germinate, which makes the control of this weed a very difficult one.
This vine like plant has characteristic features that include arrow shaped leaves that are typically of a green color. The flowers are pinkish and are conspicuous from far off. Generally the bindweed grows to four or more feet in length and has deep reaching roots that give the plant a strong anchorage. Because of their ability to spring up from their rhizomes, bindweeds are difficult to control because when you do not locate their seedlings the germination may be taking place under the surface and you suddenly see the sprouting in your garden.
Generally any gardener will tell you that the most preferred way of fighting infestation of both weeds and pests on your land is good practice. The same advice goes with control a stubborn weed like bindweed. Normally the natural way to overcome some of these infestations is the best because there are no side effects on you and your garden.
Pull out the sprouting bindweeds
Depending on the expanse of the bindweed you can take time to locate and pull them out as they sprout. However this method will depend on whether the garden is sizeable or not and the infestation is localized or spread out. Assuming that the former is the case, you will just locate the area and pull out the weeds as they sprout.
Shut the light by mulching
Just like any other plant bindweed requires sunlight to germinate properly. Mulching serves a double purpose in this case. It will block out the sunlight that the bindweed needs to germinate while providing soil cover, moisture retention and other biological activities that help to sustain the health of your plants. It is most preferable that you apply thick mulch probably with straw and other organic mulches. Note that the bindweed will aggressively look for sunlight no wonder it has a twining tendency and therefore only thick mulch can prevent it from growing.
Practice crop rotation
The ecological cycle is interdependent and when you purpose to disrupt a pattern within the ecological system this will often affect the status quo and eliminate certain relationships. Crop rotation has been practiced over time as a way of eradicating certain weeds and maintaining fertility as well. In much the same way you can do crop rotation to arrest the bindweed. When you change crop you introduce some crops that may be direct competitors for nutrients with the bindweed making it impossible for the bindweed to survive in certain circumstances. However as a precaution you need to thoroughly inspect your seed because the bindweed has a tendency of hitchhiking with other seeds.
Provide adequate crop cover
In just the same way that thick mulching cuts off bindweed growth, you can also practice good crop cover so that there are no spaces to support bindweed germination. The cover crop will grow when the garden is idle and this cover can effectively deplete the nutrients and render the weed sprouting impossible. You may particularly use rye or bucket wheat to accomplish a suitable cover crop and prevent the bindweed from taking over your garden.
Using a flame weeder
Depending on the expansive levels of the bindweed infestation, you can use a flame weeder to burn up the bindweed. This has a similar effect to hand puling and makes use of propane based burners that target the bindweed and burn it up. This can be very effective for total destruction of the resilient seeds of the bindweed. The propane flame effectively delivers adequate heat to the plant’s cell walls that result in their rupture. This flame will also lick any seeds that may be dormant within the soil thereby reducing or eliminating the likelihood of a future sprouting.
Use gall mites
One of the natural ways that you can use is the gall mites. These cause galls to develop on the bindweed leaves and cause the plant to get stunted. This will affect the flowering cycle of the weed and drastically reduce its reproduction. In winter the mites also feed on the root buds and check the rhizome germination probability. This gall mites have been successful in various places as a bindweed control procedure.
Generally keeping a keen eye on your garden and good gardening practice is two of the most effective ways of dealing with the bindweed. Of course the use of herbicides can also work although most people are cautious while using these herbicides and their use depends on your discretion. As much as possible you can limit the space that the bindweed can exploit to take root in your garden by providing a crop cover when you are not actively gardening.
It is also important to learn how the bindweed sustains its system and it is normally difficult to eradicate the weed after it has sprouted because it has a very strong and persisting root system. Chances are that once you allow the weed to sprout you will require more effort to completely eradicate it because the rhizomes also propagate this plant.