Bindweed is one of things that most gardeners dread ever finding amongst their plants. It is sometimes referred to as perennial morning glory or smallflower morning glory. While it is not actually a morning glory plant, it is related to this species. There are two different varieties of the plant. Convolvulus arvensis var. arvensis can be identified by its broader leaves whereas Convolvulus arvensis var. linearfolius has narrower leaves.
The leaves of bindweed are in the shape of an arrow and they are medium green in color. If there are flowers on the plant then they will be white and pink in color and they are similar in appearance to the flowers of the morning glory.
Bindweed is considered to be an invasive plant because it is capable of overpowering other species in the garden. It is a perennial vining plant that will snake along the floor. It can climb over anything that is in its path and this makes it hard to contain as it can even get over fences and small walls. It is capable of growing as long as four feet in length and the roots are very strong which is one of the reasons it is so hard to get rid of.
Lifecycle And Reproduction
Bindweed can grow from both seeds and roots which is one of the reasons why it is so common. The seeds can remain viable in the soil for anywhere up to eight years and so if you have bindweed in your garden then you need to make sure that there are no seeds left behind. It can also grow from the smallest root and it will grow quite fast. If it seems as if the bindweed is growing in several different locations in the garden it is probably because the root has spread in the soil underneath.
How To Remove Bindweed
Bindweed is notoriously difficult to remove because if the roots are dug up it will just continue to grow from wherever the roots are split. It is almost impossible to get to all the roots without digging up the whole garden and even if the smallest trace is left behind, then the plant will still continue to cause problems. The only way to kill it is to cut it off as soon as it reaches ground level. If you do this then it will not be able to photosynthesize which means that it cannot survive. In order to be able to catch it as soon as it reaches ground level you will need to make sure that you are checking the garden over on a regular basis for any signs of bindweed.
How To Prevent Bindweed Occurring
The best way to prevent bindweed is to make sure that the ground is shaded so that the plant does not have the opportunity to sprout. Plants that have tough stems seem to be the most resistant to bindweed, especially ones like pumpkins that also keep the ground shaded.
Unfortunately the conditions that you want in your garden to help the rest of your plants grow will also be beneficial for bindweed. It thrives in environments that are open and that have nutrients such as nitrogen in the soil. There is the additional problem that there could be seeds in the soil that have not germinated yet and so whatever measures you are taking may not be enough.
While there may be no effective way to prevent bindweed, it can be removed from the garden if you follow the tips that have been discussed in the previous paragraph. The most important thing to remember is that you should always be vigilant and take action at first sight of any bindweed appearing in your garden.
Are There Any Uses For Bindweed?
Despite the problems that bindweed can cause if you have a lot of other plants in the garden, there are people that choose to let it grow because it has a number of other uses. If you need to tie any plants to a stake then bindweed is just as effective as twine, if not more so. The flowers can also attract insects to the garden and these flowers do actually look quite attractive.