The Strategy - Field Bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis) is another of these perennial plants with a creeping root system (rhizomes). This plant from Asia tends to climb other plants, fences, or other equipment, otherwise it creeps across the ground. This plant is wrongly called ‘morning glory’ (although it is in the morning glory family) and has white to pink flowers that are funnel shaped. Leaves are arrowhead shaped ½ inch to 2 inches long.
The Attack - This plant’s seed can last in the soil longer than any plant I know of – 50 years; which makes it one of the most troublesome plants in agriculture. Add this to the creeping root system and you have the toughest weed to control in agriculture and lawn and garden. Compound this with it lack of forage value and it ability to spread by seed and roots it is easy to see why it is one of our listed noxious weeds.
The Defense - As with most plants that are rhizomatous control is very difficult and mechanical efforts are normally useless. Just because I mentioned that the seeds can last 50 years in the soil does not mean that it is impossible to control. Keeping constant competition to this plant is key to controlling it. Numerous times I have recommended to people that they actually move their garden to another area on their property and plant grass in the garden area. Then use herbicides to control the field bindweed until the seeds have all germinated. Herbicides such as 2,4-D for lawns work okay but in agriculture and pastures products with dicamba or picloram work best. Fall is a great time to control this weed. Once we get a killing frost (28 degrees or less) the plant sends all nutrients to the vast root system and using the right herbicide will move into the roots deeper thus better control. Don’t give up on this weed; perseverance is the tool for management of Field bindweed.
PLEASE NOTE -The proper use and application of herbicides can be an effective way to control and eradicate noxious and invasive plants. Before using herbicides, always carefully follow the label and safety instructions on the label. While we recommend the use of herbicides as one of the effective tools for integrated pest management, the Idaho Weed Awareness Campaign assumes no liability for herbicide applications.
For more information, click on the link below to download the Idaho's Noxious Weeds Control Guidelines publication produced by the University of Idaho Extension.
U of I Idaho's Noxious Weeds Control Guidelines (183 KB PDF download)