It took took two hours for me and to weed a nine foot square area free of bindweed. That is three feet by three feet on my whole acre, which is 43,560 square feet. By my calculations, if my whole acre was invaded by bindweed and I weeded diligently two hours a day for 365 days a year, it would take 13 years to get it all weeded just once. That is why I hate bindweed.

In that same amount of time, I can clear a 20 by 20 foot area of three foot high, bushy broadleaf weeds. Puncture vine, for all its sadistic reputation, is generally one removable root that clears large spaces at a time. Even grass, either with runners or mats of mud holding roots, is more satisfying to extract than bindweed.

It is tempting to concede victory to bindweed. Aren’t “people” always telling us its best to grow natural landscaping? Sometimes, its the same people who will threaten us with fines for trying to do just that. It’s confusing. Are we supposed to maintain the wild environment or interfere?

The truth is that I am environmentally intolerant of weeds. Especially bindweed. I feel hateful thoughts toward it when I see it, whether it is in my own garden or out in open fields. If only looks could kill. Pictures below are before and after the daunting task of picking bindweed.

Picking Bindweed - before

Picking Bindweed - after

I have tried to kill it with my bare hands. It’s hard to say how effective I’ve been. When other weeds are pulled it is easy to tell if you have gotten them. Pulling up their entire root is like chopping off their heads. Job clearly done. Not so bindweed. Their roots seem to form a web over the whole earth.

But I keep trying. Here are some of my techniques:

  • Try to moisten soil before weeding
  • Use spading fork to loosen soil at root zone
  • Pull at base of rosette of vines, with gentle, steady pulling in an attempt to get out as much root as possible
  • If there are lots of vines, rip the bulk of those away first, trying to leave the parts of the vine that are next to the ground so they can guide me to the roots
  • If desirable plants are entwined, try to gently pull the bindweed from the top of the good plant; it might help to unwind the fine tendrils at the tips, then wad them in the hand to grasp and pull more of the weedy vine
  • If the ground area is open and free of good plants, remove a large portion of the bindweed, then spray weed killer on what is left
  • Go back and spray again in a couple of days
  • After that, go back and pull it out by the roots anyway, because bindweed seems to only get weakened by poison, then recovers and comes back
Picking Bindweed - How to
Can bindweed grow back from a single stray leaf that floats away in the breeze while you madly cram it into a trash bag? When the root breaks, does it grow 10 more vines to take its place? Does bindweed left hanging in a shrub send roots to the ground like a Banyan tree? It is easy to believe any of these things, because bindweed can make a gardener paranoid. And like my dad says, “Just because you are paranoid, it doesn’t mean someone [or some weed] is not out to get you.” Below are pictures of post spraying one week (on the left) and two weeks (on the right). Sigh.

Picking Bindweed - 1 and 2 weeks after treatment

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