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Weeds- A Gardeners Nightmare

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For more information on bindweed control, read my column in tomorrow’s Deseret News. No weed strikes as much fear into gardeners hearts as field bindweed or wild morning glory. Field bindweed is one of the toughest and most difficult weeds in the garden. Its growth is simply phenomenal. A single plant from seed can cover many square feet and produce several hundred feet of rhizomes each season. The familiar trumpet shaped white, pink, or purple bindweed flowers are starting to appear right now. That bloosom provide a window of control for gardeners who know when and how to make their move againest this formidale enemy. This weed is not going to go away with one spray, one hoeing, or with one of anything. Keeping it under control is a constant battle. Start with mechanical control. The plants are not born perennial, but become perennial about 30 days after germination. If destroyed prior to that time they will not regrow from the root system. Use a gliding hoe or pull them to prevent them from becoming established. Organic mulches also help control seedling plants. Plastic or landscape fabric mulches keep the weed from growing in desirable vegetation. The worst plants to use in bindweed infested soils are perennial plants including raspberries, strawberries, grapes, perennial flowers and shrubs. Get the problem under control before planting anything but turf or annuals in those areas. One of the most effective times to attack bindweed chemically is when the plant is blossoming. Glyphosate (Roundup) is probably the easiest and safest product for most homeowners to use. It is non-selective and it affects any plant it touches. It does not carry over in the soil and can be translocated deep into the root system for better control. It is relatively non toxic to humans and is safe to use in most garden situations. Glyphosate is sold as various brand names including Roundup and Killzall. Most ready to use sprays are too dilute to have effect on bindweed. Use a non-ionic spreader sticker (surfactant) to increase the effectiveness of the sprays. Spray when plants are in full bloom and growing well. Plants under stress from drought or other problems will not be controlled. Hopefully the product will translocate to the root system and give good control. If plants are dusty, wash them and remove dust as it deactivates the herbicide. Avoid rain or water on sprayed areas for six to eight hours. Follow-up treatment in the fall helps reduce problems with this terrible plague. In the fall consider mixing glyphosate plus lawn weed killer containing 2,4-D. 2,4-D should not be used during the heat of the summer or near trees or shrubs because of the danger of damaging desirable plants. Larry A. Sagers Regional Horticulturist Utah State University Extension Thanksgiving Point Office

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