The dreaded bindweed on the Allotment

Dear Martin

Hello   I have a problem with bindweed in one of my allotment beds.  It has been covered for 12 months but it is totally riddled with the white brittle roots and they go very deep, the soil is a bit heavy making it difficult to get out by weeding. What do you recommend, shall I use a systemic weed killer like roundup or is there a organic weed killer (apart from digging) that would do the job?

Thanks for your advice

Dear Vanessa

Many thanks for your enquiry regarding bindweed. This weed is notoriously difficult to remove once present, as the roots can extend to a depth of 5m or 15ft, but it can be done!  Taking the organic approach first; when carrying out routine digging on the plot, remove as many of the roots as possible and any new growth as it appears. Hoeing is only effective for new shoots which break the soil surface, and it can take up to two years of husbandry to completely remove all roots. New infestations can occur from neighbouring plots or land, and solid barriers are often placed below perimeter fences to prevent the spread.

Bindweed can be chemically controlled by any herbicide with the active ingredient of glyphosate. This is a translocated weedkiller which is most effective if applied from the flowering stage of the plant through to autumn; a word of caution however – glyphosate is non-selective so will harm any plants it comes into contact with.  An alternative is dichlobenil – this is a residual herbicide which is best applied in spring and will check any new growth. Both these products will have several different shelf names but as previously stated, check for the active ingredient which is indicated on the packet. Any good garden centre will both stock and advise on these products.  

Hopefully this information will prove to be of help and if you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Many thanks once again for your enquiry and good luck.