Weed of the Week – Field Bindweed

photo courtesy www.invasive.org.
photo courtesy www.invasive.org.

by Katlin Miller
Natural Resources Soil Conservation District

Also known as Wild Morning Glory and Small Flowered Morning Glory, Field Bindweed is a perennial, vinelike, growing horizontally with 1’-4’ long stems, often climbing or forming dense mats. It has an extensive root system with rhizomes and a very long, whitish, cord-like taproot with several lateral roots. Field Bindweed flowers are funnel shaped and white to pink in color appearing in mid-summer. It reproduces both vegetatively and by seeds that are brownish in color, pearlshaped and three-sided. Seeds can completely mature within two weeks after pollination during hot summer days and can remain viable for over 20 years. Leaves are shaped like arrowheads with very small hairs throughout. Field Bindweed can cause skin sensitivity, burns and colic in horses, so watch out for your equines. Field bindweed intertwines and topples native species. It competes with other species for sunlight, moisture and nutrients. It poses threats to restoration efforts and riparian corridors by choking out grasses and forbs. It can decrease habitat biodiversity. It is one of the most serious weeds of agricultural fields in temperate regions of the world.

The deep, extensive root system stores carbohydrates and proteins and allows it to sprout repeatedly from fragments and rhizomes following removal of above ground growth. Mowing two to three times a year can exhaust the bindweed root system, slowing the spread of the plant, and reducing seed production, but this will not kill this resilient weed. Mowing should be done before the bud stage and repeated when plants rebud to prevent flowering. Herbicide use is recommended to completely kill this tough weed since its root system is so large. Caution needs to be taken when using an herbicide to treat Field Bindweed, since successful treatments often require repeated applications that can result in damage of desirable plants in the surrounding area. Contact the Grand County DNR for a recommendation on the proper handling of herbicides and what herbicide to use. As always, keeping a good cover of existing vegetation can prevent weeds from getting established. For more information about any of the weeds in Grand County, check out the Grand County DNR website at https:// co.grand.co.us/140/Noxious-Weeds , or call 970-887-0745.

You may also attend Grand County DNR’s weekly Herbicide giveaways to get free herbicide. There is a giveaway every Friday in Granby (469 E Topaz) from 9am-Noon through September 29. They also have a giveaway at the Fairgrounds in Kremmling (9am-Noon) on July 13, July 27, August 10, August 24, September 7, and September 2t. You must bring your own backpack sprayer to the giveaway. Herbicide will not be dispensed into anything but a sprayer.