We Get Greener Kit Cassingham & her Bigger Half

Nipping Bindweed In the Bud, Maybe

Mrs. GreenJeans, my gardening partner (at her garden), talk about a wide range of topics as we garden. Of course gardening is a topic of discussion; cut worms and how they destroy your produce, cows and goats in the pasture, chickens molting and laying eggs, strawberries, potatoes and avoiding blight, rotating specific crops, politics, medicine, science, travel, and the soup kitchen. She's great company, and the conversations are fun.

The other day we discussed the best technique for ridding our gardens of bindweed, a member of the morning glory family. It has beautiful flowers, but it's invasive and wraps itself around other plants to gain access to the sun and more moisture, hence its name "bindweed". I personally think bindweed is taking over the planet and are from outer space.

Somewhere -- in a dream, from a gardening friend, or her -- I heard the thought that cutting bindweed at the ground got rid of them more effectively than pulling them out by their roots. Mrs. GreenJeans denies having told me that, but conjectured that pulling them shatters their roots, which are very deep and widespread, and those root shards generated more plants. We agreed to experiment.

The last two rows of our garden space I'm trimming that at ground level, compared to my earlier technique of pulling them out in the previous many rows. I'm also testing the bindweed at my house, though that's harder because I have pea gravel layered on top of the ground to hold down weeds and minimize the top soil from blowing away; I have to move the pea gravel to find the base of the plant.

This morning as I was weeding it occurred to me that it's not so much that the root is shattered but that by pulling the root you are disturbing the soil. Bindweed loves disturbed soil, as if it were easier to grow through than packed earth. Once I got the hang of the different weeding technique I found it easier to cut the plant than to pull it.

Well, whatever urges or encourages bindweed growth, we are looking at a new way of getting rid of it. I'll report back as i have evidence.

If you have a successful technique for ridding your garden of bindweed, please tell us about it. But in the meantime, here's to a bindweed-free-garden for everyone!


I have an herbal site AND a herbal blog. I 'considered' actually harvesting the bindweed and selling it to the wicca trade.... LOL

Didn't do it - but it crossed my mind...

Judy at July 19, 2010 6:57 AM

Hey Kit--this is fascinating and I'm dying to hear the results. Makes sense to cut it. I live on the East Coast and bindweed has always been a serious problem. This year it's been in my blackberries, and I'm furious.

Where I don't have prized vegetation, I have found that pouring white vinegar on the bindweed for several seasons seems to help. Where I do have vegetation, I just patrol daily. I've learned to spot the little horrible shoots pretty well.

Good luck. Looking foward to your results.

Lee at July 31, 2010 5:53 AM


Your idea for how to take advantage of bindweed is interesting. You could also harvest it and sell it to people with livestock. Chickens and goats, for starters, love to eat bindweed.

Another industry is born.....



Kit Cassingham at July 31, 2010 8:10 AM

I have an invasive weed in my back yard. It spreads via rhizomes (underground). I tackled it with black plastic. When we finally got several 90+ degree days, the heat baked the soil deep enough to finally kill it.

D G at July 31, 2010 10:01 AM


Here's my conclusion after a short two week test: If you can cut the bindweed below the surface of the dirt, without disturbing the roots, you'll be fairly successful with at least slowing the growth of the bindweed. When I could cut the weed off just at the surface of the ground, or a touch higher, it came back quickly.

Aliens, I tell you, aliens.


Kit Cassingham at July 31, 2010 3:21 PM

D G,

You must live in a very warm area. Bindweed spreads by rhizomes, but I've never seen black plastic work to get rid of it around here. Count yourself lucky that this worked for you!


Kit Cassingham at July 31, 2010 3:39 PM
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