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It may be easier to just enjoy the white or pink flowers with spindly green stems rather than get rid of the complex weed. Effective treatment for field bindweed, commonly referred to as morning glory, is difficult at best.
- The deep branching roots and underground shoots spread through the soil in all directions, and new plants form whenever the roots reach the soil surface. Cutting, pulling and digging are not very effective since any live root or root piece left in the soil can quickly regenerate a new top. Rototilling cuts roots and shoots into many small pieces and scatters them, allowing each cut piece to develop into a new plant. The seeds are an additional complication since studies show they can germinate and form new plants after as many as 50 years of burial in the soil.
- Effective bindweed management requires a multimethod approach and ongoing attention. No single action will eliminate the problem.
- The first step is to use desirable plants to put as much competitive pressure as possible on the morning glory by taking essential nutrients and water away from it. Turf grass is an especially strong competitor. Promote healthy and vigorous growth of desirable plants through proper watering, fertilizer application, disease prevention and insect control. When properly managed, most ornamentals and garden plants can have some suppressing or choking effect on the weed.
- Herbicides play an important role in morning glory management. However, if not used in conjunction with pressure from desirable plants, the effects are usually short lived. Systemic herbicides such as Roundup, 2,4D and dicamba are more effective than digging and pulling because they kill the roots. For best results, these products should be used when the weed is naturally sending large amounts of sugars from its leaves to its roots, usually in earlyto midJune, or late summer to early fall.
- When combined with herbicides or competition from desirable plants, mulches can help reduce morning glory. They are especially effective in controlling seedlings and are a valuable tool in addressing the problem of longlived seeds in the soil.
Steve Dewey - Utah State University Extension Weed Specialist