I live in Thornhill. I have 2 weeds driving me crazy. The first is bindweed. I’ve used a torch on it and tried to dig up the roots. Neither works. This year I have a new weed pest. It looks like Queen Anne’s lace. I dig down to get rid of the tap root but it comes back. Any ideas?
Thank you for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners.
You are correct bindweed is a huge battle. I too have been fighting against bindweed for years.
Bind weed sends out a huge maze of roots that spread and pop up at new locations. The roots have been known to go as deep as 20 feet underground. The roots are fairly fragile and designed to break when dug up. Each break in the root system will create a new plant, so the more you dig the more you get.
There is no quick solution to bind weed. The best way to attack it is to cut off it’s source of light and nutrients to deprive it of energy. Three ways to do this are:
- Cutting the plant off at ground level consistently and repeatedly over time can start to slow the bindweed down and decrease it growth.
- Mulching a pre-cleared spot will also cut the plant off from the sun and slow it down.
- Other healthy plants growing in the garden will compete with the bindweed for nutrients and shade the ground depriving the bindweed of the sun.
Your other weed could be one of two things.
If the plant is large ( can grow over 5 metre) you could be dealing with Giant Hogweed which is noxious and can cause serious burns. If this is what you have you need to get professionals in to deal with it and dispose of it safely.
From your description it is more likely you have wild carrot Daucus carota (Queen Anne’s lace). This is a plant some people enjoy eating while others call it a wild flower. If it is where you do not want it, it becomes a weed. In the first year the plant looks more like a carrot. It is not until it’s second year that the plant flowers.
There are several ways to gain control over the plant.
- If you can remove the plant before the flower goes to seed you will decrease the amount of new plants that germinate.
- Recognizing the plant in its first year of growth will allow you to remove the young plant a year before it flowers.
- The last way is what you have been doing; digging out the huge tap root.
Using all these methods together should bring the weed under control.
I have included a couple of links below for more information