Bindweed loves Lindfield, it really is everywhere. For the uninitiated, bindweed shows itself as a very pretty white flower which climbs through hedgerows and thickets. So pretty in fact, that my mum was actually after a cutting! She was seriously intending to introduce it to her own garden, county and region.
In our gardens, bindweed is bad news. It twines around the stems of our plants and strangles them to death. My raspberry canes fell victim last year and are now on the bonfire.
Bindweed produces large, white, brittle rhizomes (underground stems) that can run as deeply as 5m. When the root hits an obstacle, such as a shrub or a fence, it sends up shoots, which with remarkable speed, start to twist around their new found climbing frame. Stolons (soil surface stems) are also produced which travel outwards, scouting out where they can strike next.
What can we do?
1. Zealously remove any above ground growth at every opportunity. In the short term, this will protect your plants, and over a longer period of time, will weaken the underground roots system.
2. Use opportunities such as winter clearance time, to remove as much of the underground roots system as possible
3. Apply a systemic herbicide such as glyphosate (Roundup gel) to the leaves of the plant. This is only effective if the plant is in active growth and may take several applications to work
4. Do not under any circumstance, deliberately introduce this weed to your garden! Morning glory, a none-invasive cousin of bindweed can be safely brought from any good garden centre.
By mid-spring, bindweed is strting to emerge. Pull it out immediately!