How to get rid of bindweed – six top tips for maintaining the perfect garden

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Bindweed is a perennial weed which can become a huge problem for gardeners. The weed is long-lived and hard to eliminate due to its fast-growing root system which powerfully forges ahead through the roots of other plants. has compiled a list of the top tips to remember when getting rid of bindweed.

Bindweed is an invasive weed which grows in British gardens.

The plant is recognisable by its pure white trumpet flowers and works by choking plants in borders and twining around any plant shoot or cane.

There are two types of bindweed, hedge bindweed and field bindweed – both of which twine around the stems of other plants, smothering them.

Hedge bindweed climbs with strong twining stems and has large heart-shaped leaves with large white trumpet flowers.

Most often the plant is seen as a hedgerow plant or weeds, scrambling over and often smothering hedges and shrubs of all sizes.

Field bindweed is a weaker-stemmed plant which has smaller white or pink trumpet-shaped flowers.

Bindweed systems can travel five metres or more down into the soil.

The weed stems creep along the surface of the soil, climbing fences and other plants.

Eventually, bindweed forms dense, tangled mats, entwining itself around prized plants – strangling them so they cannot get the nutrients they need.

How to get rid of bindweed

Bindweed is not easy to remove because it persists from a perennial root system.

The roots are typically white and brittle and if they are broken they can regenerate from the smallest sections.

Bindweed flowers do offer some pollen to bees and the leaves can be a source of food for the larvae of convolvulus hawk moths.

But for the most part, these weeds prove troublesome for many gardeners.

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The best way to get rid of bindweed is to take a three-pronged approach.

The first step is to dig out all the roots you can easily reach as it will significantly reduce the number of stems.

This will lead to a significant reduction in the amount of bindweed the following spring.

If you cannot reach some bindweed stems, you can encourage it to grow up in cases and away from your other plants so you can kill off the plant entirely.

To do this, you should apply glyphosate to your plant.

Glyphosate gel is the best choice here as it was the only weed killer which does not splash onto ornamental plants and cause damage in our trial.

If the area infested with bindweed is located on open ground such as an allotment, you can use sheet mulch.

Apply the mulch and allow the stems to come to the surface over a few months.

Then with a fork, loosen the soil and pull out all visible stems and roots, making sure to be as thorough as possible.

Once you have completed this stage, mulch thickly again and repeat the following growing season.

Top tips to remember when disposing of bindweed

  • The easiest way to kill all perennial weeds is to deprive them of light by covering the plant with soil. Plants need light to make food and survive. You can use a material such as weed control fabric, black polythene or old carpet to block out light.
  • Avoid placing bindweed roots in your compost bin as it can survive and spread around your garden.
  • Place roots safely composted in stout black sacks by folding the top of the bag to keep out light.
  • Removing the plant is usually most effective once the weed reaches the flowering stage – but it can be effective in the autumn as well.
  • Early spring attempts to kill bindweed tend to be less successful.
  • Spraying the weed with weedkiller in the early evening tends to be more effective than during the day.

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