BIND WEED, HOW TO WIN THE BATTLE
Weeds, weeds and more weeds, an ongoing battle in the garden. Their ability to thrive under any and all conditions and to propagate themselves makes them formidable opponents. Among the most tenacious is Bind Weed, AKA Morning Glory. Actual Morning Glory is a fast growing, hardy annual with beautiful 2 to 3 inch blooms in blue, pink, purple and various other shades. Because Morning Glory is an annual it is not difficult to control or remove. Bind Weed, on the other hand, is an extremely hardy perennial. Controlling and removing it requires a specific battle plan. Spring and summer is the time to control Bind Weed; Fall is the time to actually kill it.
*Patience and Persistence: Know at the outset that you will not win this battle in one season. Seeds can lay dormant in the soil for many years and established root systems can reach a depth of 10+ feet. Each season is a new battle but you will find that if you follow the plan, there will be fewer enemies each spring.
*Choose your battle: If you have a Bind Weed problem, it is most likely in your lawn and planting beds alike. The most effective battleground is in your planting beds. Don't worry about it in your lawn; keeping the grass healthy and well trimmed will also keep the Bind Weed from multiplying and it will hardly be visible. If it does bother you in the grass, use a broad leaf weed killer that is not harmful to the grass. Keep in mind that one application will not eradicate the Bind Weed; it will take time and repeated applications.
*Identify: Know what Bind Weed seedlings look like.
This is when the plant is most vulnerable. At this stage, plucking or chopping will kill it.
*Spring and Summer Cultivation: Cultivating the soil regularly is beneficial for your flowers and vegetables and in the spring and summer puts you in control of the Bind Weed in several ways: (1) Kills new plants as they germinate (2) Brings dormant seeds to a depth where they can germinate and be eliminated. (3) Keeps established plants from spreading and producing more seeds. Emerging seedlings are distinctly different from established plants, but in spring and summer they should be treated the same way.
*Late Summer-set up for the kill: Some time in early August begin letting the Bind Weed grow. Your planting beds will become a little unsightly and you might be tempted to pull the weeds, but you need to let the Bind Weed grow as much as possible. To attack the root system effectively there needs to be ample leaf surface to work with. You will be spraying. This means sacrificing your annual flowers and possibly some vegetables, but by the time you spray, they will already be on their way out.
*Fall-The Kill: Late fall, around first frost, spray the Bind Weed with a healthy concentrate of a broad leaf herbicide. There are several on the market. I like to use 2,4-D safe and relatively inexpensive. Don't worry about your nearly spent annuals and vegetables. Their sacrifice will be worth it. If you have Bind Weed in and around perennials you don't want to lose, carefully isolate the Bind Weed vines from the perennials, place a plastic bag over the perennial, seal the base with soil and then spray. If the plant you are protecting is too big, use a sheet of plastic or cardboard as a shield between the plant and Bind Weed. You want to be careful of over spray mist; keep a low pressure level in your sprayer to keep it from misting and drifting to vulnerable plants and always be mindful of wind and wind direction.
Once you have sprayed the Bind Weed, make sure to leave it in place so that the herbicide can be fully absorbed and drawn down into the root system. When the Bind Weed is dead and dry it can be raked away with other garden debris.
Remember, this is not a onetime battle. Bind Weed will appear in your planting beds in the spring, but there will be less of it. Repeat the process and in time you will see that you are gaining the upper hand.
W. T. Svedin