Bind Weed

(Question)

We moved into a new house three years ago and the front yard is covered in bind weed. I have tried cutting it back to try exhaust the weeds. I also put down weed barrier cloth and mulch but the bind weed just grew up around the base of my shrubs. Then I tried “Weeds B Gone” but it didn’t work either. All of my attempts seem to have only encouraged growth and I don’t know what to do. I thought of placing tarp down and killing everything in the front yard and trying to start over. Besides moving, what can I do? It has started migrating into the neighbours yard and they will be complaining soon. Please help!! :) i.e.: the front yard is full sun and south facing and zone 6a.

(Answer)

Bindweed is a very difficult plant to eradicate.  It spreads mainly by fast growing underground stems and deep roots.  As chemical controls are not a viable option you must use cultural methods and be patient, thorough and diligent. Over time these can be successful.

Cut the bindweed stems to the ground as soon as they appear in the spring and thereafter throughout the growing season.  Do not let the plants flower and set seed. Eventually this will cause the bindweed plants to use up the energy reserves in their roots and die.   This is preferred over cultivation as the latter may have the effect of breaking up the roots and stems and increasing the spread of the plants, although regular cultivation, over several years, may reduce the plants’ vigor. You can retry putting down landscape fabric, or black plastic (covered with mulch for aesthetic reasons) over the infested areas.   It is important that the edges of your barrier overlap, and the mulch applied thickly, so that no light is allowed to reach the plants. Application of a barrier over most of the lawn and removing the bindweed stems around your shrubs should, over time, get rid of the plants.  You can use a propane weed torch to get rid of bindweed which is coming up in  your driveway or walkways, where a landscape barrier is not an option.  If the bindweed spreads to your neighbours’ properties, and you want to ensure that it does not spread back to your lawn, if possible install physical barriers along the edge your property so that the roots cannot penetrate back into your yard.  Unfortunately, there is no quick fix.