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Weed of the Week – Field Bindweed

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

Field bindweed was introduced from Eurasia in the 1800’s.  It is unclear whether this weed was brought here as an ornamental or by accident.  Other common names that field bindweed is known as are: perennial morning glory, creeping jenny, bellbine, sheepbine, and corn-bind.

Concerns This perennial weed will grow into a dense tangled infestation.  Field bindweed will inhabit pastures and cultivated fields as well as other disturbed areas.  The creeping nature of bindweed forces out native grasses and forbs creating pure fields of field bindweed.  Field bindweed is very difficult to control due to its vigorous root system and its ability to lay dormant for up to 60 years.  The roots of the field bindweed can extend up to 15 feet deep.

Identification Field bindweed is part of the morning glory family and shares the family’s vine characteristic.  The stems of this weed will grow between 1-4 feet long, creeping horizontally along the ground or climbing fences and other structures.  The leaves are shaped like arrowheads, are dark green, and grow alternately along the stem.  The most notable feature of this weed are the flowers.  They are 1 inch in diameter and are bell-shaped. There are two bracts located on the stem below each white to pinkish flower.  Four small seeds are produced by each flower and are located in the round fruit.

What can you do? The control of field bindweed requires a persistent effort.  The prevention of new infestations is the cheapest and easiest method for control.  Cultivation can be effective if repeated throughout the growing season especially on new infestations.  Competitive planting with crops such as alfalfa, cereal grains, and corn have been shown to reduce bindweed growth.  Shrubs and trees with vegetation planted below them have also shown to reduce bindweed growth.  Landscaping with plastics and fabric can be used in areas where it is conducive.  This method excludes light to the plant and may take three years to kill the bindweed plant.  There are herbicides that are effective on bindweed.  For herbicide recommendations or any weed oriented questions call your local weed district.

Visit the MWCA Weed ID pages for additional information and pictures of field bindweed.

This series of articles was developed by Ravalli County.  If you would like to use these articles please contact Ravalli County Weed District Weed Coordinator at (406) 777-5842.

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