Dealing with bindweed, the long haul and mulch reduces the work

Reduce the vigour of bindweed, both Convolvulus arevensis, field bindweed with pink flowers, and Calystegia sepium, hedge bindweed with white flowers and longer stems. I have cleared or almost cleared both on large areas, but needed 2-3 years for that. No dig helps enormously. You can compost all of it too, I have done this for years with no regrowth.

14 thoughts on “Dealing with bindweed, the long haul and mulch reduces the work

  1. Hello Charles, my area of bindweed is qyure small and I have prepared fresh beds on top of it now, with cardboard and compost. I am thinking of starting with spinach first here, that will finish before the bindweed had started to grow hard. Aftwr that, maybe squashes which easier to weed, as your video shows? What else may work? First early potatoes?

    1. Well done Craig, I don’t have time to go into details with everybody here but other people mate will reply. With bond with you do need to keep pulling it there is no solution which involves zero work.

  2. I’ve found this feed very interesting.

    My garden has a lot of bindweed, some horse tail and stinging nettles. I would like to grow some veg this year. If I covered now with cardboard and compost, would I be able to grow veg a little later in the year? Would I need to put some form of polythenes own as well?

  3. If I predict crabgrass and bindweed to be a serious problem in my large garden with clay soil (zone 5b, USA), is there anything I can do in February before I begin layering cardboard and compost to help prevent those two stubborn perennial weeds?? I have been enjoying your videos so thank you!

  4. I have a raised veg bed that has a bad bindweed problem. After a year or two of trying to dig it out, lots of effort and a loosing battle I found your videos. I think the issue has come from the area being rotavated prior to the beds being built and I fear there is huge numbers of bits of parent root a big depth down – I will never be able to dig it out. I don’t want to use nasty weedkillers because its where we grow our veg.

    Last year we covered the bed in compost, then a layer of black plastic/weedmat and then a layer of bark (the full depth of compost was too expensive). I planted small plants through cuts in the black plastic. It worked well, we were able to use the bed and just had to weed where it bits made it through the cuts or the joins between the plastic sheets. The question what to do next.
    I am thinking remove the bark layer and the black plastic – remove the weeds and recover with cardboard, the now rotting bark and more compost (aim deeper layer). Does this sound like a plan? Would you suggest anything else or different layers?

    Thank you – love your videos. Hope to come on a day course sometime 🙂

    1. That all sounds fine Rebecca, and already this year you have weakened the parent roots a lot, by depriving them of light, and the reserves of energy are not infinite!

      I suspect that you should look more at the surrounds of your bed, where I suspect the bindweed has still been growing. It needs smothering all around, otherwise its roots will just continue to feed into your bed and survive very well, also sending new stems up in the bed.
      Cover around with thick cardboard for example. Then you can make that whole area bindweed free, although of course you need also to check the edges of the edges….

    1. Yes Sam. Although you need care in placing cardboard around existing plants for example, and you can butt it right up to the stems, contrary to what is often claimed. So it is a big timesaver in the end although when warmer you need to keep pulling new shoots of bindweed whenever seen. Or couch grass, ground elder etc. But way easier than trying to dig them out.

  5. Interesting.

    Looks like I’m going to have to try my own controlled experiment: Even with home-produced compost, I don’t think I can afford to cover as much of my allotment as I’d need for the three (+) years needed to make this approach work against tough and well established bindweed – so I’ll try it out on a couple of beds.

    Before doing so, is there any advice on how to align with a 3 year crop rotation cycle? (What I’m getting at is whether there is any advantage in growing something like potatoes in year one, two or three of a no-dig, heavy mulching experiment. Or sweetcorn, legumes or brassicas)?

  6. Would the same principle apply to creeping woodsorrel? Not had any on my plot for the last 3 years and all of a sudden this year it’s taking over!

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