K's Garden

Building a large garden on a budget

Clearing Bindweed / Bellbind Wednesday 23 July 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — kgarden @ 12:00 am

We fight a battle against Bindweed each year. In the ornamental garden the armoury is Glyphosate based weedkiller (Roundup), we don’t use chemicals in the vegetable garden so that is fought with Mypex weed suppressing membrane and a fork!

I’ve started to see the first flowers on the Bindweed, so the race is on to pull all the stems before it sets seed because, as the old adage goes, “One year’s seed is seven years’ weed

The battle starts in late Spring when the bindweed first emerges. Its relatively late, compared to other things, so it is amongst other plants from the outset; we never pull it up, only use weedkiller – to try to kill it at the roots. Our garden is surrounded by fields so I expect some new seed comes in, but the main culprit is probably the well rotted manure we put on the beds as they are mulched every year.

As the herbaceous plants start to grow getting in & amongst with weed killer becomes harder, and this year I have been using a new gadget which has definitely made the job a lot easier:

Hozelock Wonder Weeder

the Hozelock Wonder Weeder. Fill with weedkiller (suitably diluted), place the cone-end on the weed, and press down on the shaft and it sprays a short burst onto the weed, with the cone preventing and collateral damage to neighbouring plants. This year this gadget has enabled us to carry on spraying much longer into the season, as the plants grew up, than previously, and when there is a breeze as the cone prevents any drift. I had an initial worry that chemical would collect on the inside of the cone and drip off the bottom (when I was least expecting it!) but that hasn’t been the case. It takes very little chemical, so I have to fill up several times, but for a regular sized garden that probably won’t be a problem. It is not a solution for treating a large area, like a driveway, that has lots of weeds – get a sprayer for that – but for sparsely spaced weeds its fine, and between plants it is great. If you buy one two tips: fill it with plain water first and adjust the nozzle spray pattern, and “amount per shot” to your liking; and the sequence of discs, and their orientation, in the spray head is critical so the first time you take it to bits to clean it etc. make notes!

But we still have a problem with Bindweed, why is that? New bindweed seems to pop up all the time, clearly the Glyphosate is not killing to all of it, or I am missing something in the way we are tackling the problem. I suppose it might be dormant seeds – from seven years ago [Sigh!] – that are germinating, and creating new plants. One area ripe for improvement is where we cannot reach & remove bindweed under established shrubs, particularly the prickly ones!, so this Winter when we clear the annuals and cut back the herbaceous we are going to put large sheets of Mypex woven weed suppressing membrane under the mature shrubs so that Bindweed cannot seek a safe haven there. What is noticeable is that the backs of the borders, were we can easily get in amongst the plants with a larger sprayer, have no bindweed, so I think it is just frequency of application and making sure that no bits are missed that is key.

People suggest that I train the Bindweed up a stick, and then when the plant has some “size” put a jar of Glyphosate next to it, and untangle the Bindweed into the jar and leave it to absorb the chemical. Sadly we have way too much to do that.

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