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War on Bindweed

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This summer I wrote about wild morning glory, or more correctly field bindweed control. At that time I mentioned the two most important times to attack bindweed were when it is blossoms or in the fall when temperatures start to moderate. For those gardeners who couldn't or didn't declare war, they now have a second chance. It is no easier to control the bindweed now, but additional delays let the bindweed spread further through the yard and landscape and it becomes even more difficult to control in subsequent years. This weed is one of the most smothering and persistent in nature. The vines crawl to the tops of large trees or shrubs, 10 or 15 feet above the ground and the roots go underneath the soil to a similar depth. Fall brings a transition in perennial plants. The abundant food reserves manufactured in the leaves and many minerals are moved to the root system for storage. This enables the plants to survive the winter and start regrowth in the spring. Since the root system is so extensive and so deep, cultivation does little if any good. Plants extract these materials from the leaves and move them to the roots for storage. This provides an opportunity to move weed killers to destroy the roots. When temperatures dip into the low 40's or early 30's it is a good time to break out the weed sprayer. My personal choice is to wait until the tomatoes freeze. This avoids any danger to those plants and still provides green bindweed leaves to spray. Glyphosate is the best product for spraying in the summer, but is often not the best product to use in the fall and is definitely not the best product to use on turfgrass products. Glyphosate is available in many forms including Roundup or Killzall. Ready to use glyphosate sprays are too dilute to have much effect on this plant. Adding a sticker or surfactant increases the effectiveness of the spray. For turfgrass areas or areas away from desirable plants, 2,4-D or a combination of products containing 2,4-D are a good choice for bindweed control. 2,4-D is a selective herbicide that kills broad-leaved plants in grasses and is the most common ingredient in most lawn weed killers. Trimec is even more effective than just 2,4-D because it contains MCPP and dicamba. Do not use this product near desirable trees, shrubs, or in areas where intended for planting this fall. One serious problem in treating bindweed is that it is often grows with desirable plants. Herbicides are not just weed killers and will damage desirable plants. Apply products selectively using trigger bottles, sponges, or paint brushes

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