What is Bindweed and How Do I Control It?

Field bindweed is a very aggressive cousin of the morning glory that can be challenging to control.

A relative of the morning glory, field bindweed is an invasive perennial weed that can be quite a challenge to get under control. See, while it may look harmless with its little white trumpet flowers, bindweed grows aggressively. It will happily vine its way across the landscape, over shrubs and fences, and even up and around trees and poles, taking delight in choking out other plants as it grows. That's why you won't be surprised to learn that it's considered invasive.

For gardeners, bindweed is a serious nemesis, requiring dedicated and often repeated efforts to kill it. The sooner you deal with bindweed, the sooner you can prevent it from taking over your landscape and garden.

What Is Bindweed?

Bindweed is a vine that spreads by both seeds and an extensive underground system of roots. Some of those roots can reach up to 20 feet deep or more, and bindweed seeds can actually remain in the soil, ready to sprout, for as long as 60 years. Is it any wonder that this vine is able to spread so aggressively?

If you are familiar with morning glories, you'll find bindweed easy to spot, though the leaves are slightly narrower. Bindweed flowers, which are trumpet-shaped and pink or white, are also smaller than morning glory blooms. Unfortunately, many people don't notice this vine until it has grown into a thick mat threatening to take of over a section of the garden or landscape.

How to Control Bindweed

Try these 3 steps to show bindweed who's boss:

  1. Do not hand-pull.

    Because the roots of bindweed can extend deep into the soil, there's an excellent chance that part of the root will remain buried and simply regrow. To complicate matters, it's often not possible to dig out the roots of bindweed without disturbing the roots of the plants you want to keep.

  2. Use physical barriers.

    If bindweed is a continual source of frustration for you, consider putting up actual physical barriers to prevent it from creeping in from neighboring yards. By inserting hard plastic, metal, or large pavers 18-20 inches deep into the ground along fences and other areas where bindweed might sneak in, you can help block the roots from entering your yard.

  3. Kill it with Roundup® Weed & Grass Killer products.

    If you can treat your bindweed before it flowers and sets seed, you will have an easier time controlling it. The best time of year to kill bindweed with Roundup® Ready-To-Use Weed & Grass Killer III is in spring just as the plant starts to flower. Lay the bindweed vines on a piece of cardboard or plastic before spraying. That way, it will be easier to kill and you won't have to help you avoid spraying the plants you actually like. Remove the cardboard or plastic once the spray has dried.

True, you may need to spray again next season or whenever you see bindweed pop up. But with a bit of effort and determination, you can stop this weed from claiming victory over your landscape and garden.