Battling an invasive weed from hell

Written by Doug Oster on .


I thought I was so smart last year when I re-did a perennial bed, adding lots of new plants and putting down a weed barrier to eliminate the bindweed that had overtaken everything.( Here are links to three videos that I made following the process, perennial1, perennial2 and perennial3.

Being a self-confessed workaholic, I need gardens that are low on maintenance and I thought by laying down a thick layer of newspaper over the six yards of compost I applied to the beds would solve my bindweed problem.

The photo above just shows the tip of the iceberg and the vining weed has sprouted from every crack and crevice not protected by the newspaper. Many of the new plants have been dragged to the ground covered with the invasive pest.

There's only one way to try and beat it, hand pulling. Today after work, I'm headed out to the garden to find every vine and cut it at the surface of the soil. I don’t want to dig into the dirt, when the roots are pulled or cut, they make even more plants. Bindweed needs top cutting, meaning removing all the top growth in an effort to starve the roots. It needs to be done religiously. I'm fond of telling fellow gardeners they'll exaust the plant or it will exhaust you.

This weed also blooms with a white flower similar to a morning glory; I haven't seen any flowers yet and will remove any that appear. The last thing I need is the plant going to seed.

I guess I've realized that I need to go to war with this plant and it needs to be dealt with on a weekly basis. I don't really think I'll ever win, but I might be able to get the bindweed under control.

Time will tell, but it ain't gonna be fun.


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