They say that patience is a virtue, and patience is exactly one the traits you will need if you want to kill bindweed effectively. Patience and willpower! This article will explain a little about the persistent, deep-rooted, nuisance and give advice on how to kill bindweed, hopefully for good.

Bindweed (Convolvulus Arvensis) is one of the worst weeds you can encounter in your garden or allotment. Bindweed can be identified by its distinctive, trumpet shaped flowers that are usually white or pale pink with five darker stripes running through the funnels. The leaves of bindweed are arranged spirally around the stem of the plant and are shaped like an arrow head. This perennial pest commonly flowers in mid-summer.

During the summer months, bindweed will entwine itself in an anti-clockwise direction around existing plants and shrubs in the garden, often choking and smothering younger plants. It can be found in hedgerows, growing up trees, in borders – everywhere! Soil is not an issue for this serial garden offender either – it will seemingly grow in any soil and although it does die down in the winter, it will be back with even greater ferocity the following spring.

The habit of wrapping itself around existing plants and shrubs makes it quite difficult to kill bindweed because you obviously don’t want to damage the plant it is attacking.

Using a glyphosate weed killer is the best, and most effective, way to kill bindweed. This type of weed killer will not only destroy the foliage of the pest but also travel deep to the root of the plant and destroy those too. As mentioned earlier, due to the nature of the beast, it can be difficult to apply a weed killer to bindweed because of its close proximity to other plants and shrubs. Glyphosate weed killer is a ‘contact’ (not to be confused with contract!) killer and will start to kill bindweed, or any other plant life it comes into contact with, as soon as it touches the foliage or stem.

There are a few ways you can still apply the glyphosate solution while still protecting your prized petunias though:

• Untangle the weed from the poor unsuspecting plant it has attacked and feed it through a cardboard tube and then spray the weed killer inside the tube.

• Carefully apply a gel glyphosate weed killer onto the individual leaves of the bindweed – an effective but time consuming task.

• You could also simply untangle the bindweed and then use a piece of cardboard or plastic to shield the plants you wish to remain unharmed.

Using any of the techniques above should be carried out on a dry day with little or no wind as overspray can travel and find its way onto your carefully tended borders or your veggies. If this does happen, don’t panic, just quickly wash off the offending solution with water.

This is now when you need the patience and the will power! Once you have applied the solution and the chemical has begun to kill bindweed, it could take up to three weeks to properly take effect and be completely soaked up by the weed. Even if some signs of the glyphosate working may be seen after a couple of days it is advisable to implement two or three applications of the weed killer to make sure that the whole plant and its roots are affected. Do not be tempted to pull out the weed to early – wait until the whole plant has been affected and you can then be sure that when you pull up the offender nothing will be left to live on under the surface.

There are of course other ways you can kill bindweed – carefully digging up the plant can be an effective way to kill bindweed but it is almost impossible to eradicate the whole of the plant and its roots - every piece of root left behind means a new bindweed plant will spring up. If you are going to kill bindweed by hand, the best way to do it is to pull slowly so the root (hopefully) follows.

Generally speaking though, if you are happy to use chemicals in your garden, the most effective way to kill bindweed is with the use of a glyphosate weed killer. The application of this over a period of a few weeks will ensure that you kill bindweed right to its roots ensuring that that plant will not return.

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