Field Bindweed is A Struggle to Control

Field Bindweed Difficult to Manage

By Jessica Theisman, Associate Editor

Field Bindweed is a struggle in the summer months. Scott Stoddard, UCANR Cooperative Extension Farm Advisor, Merced County, discussed with California Ag Today how to manage the weed during the summer in annual crops.

“Field Bindweed is predominantly a summer weed, so we are trying to manage it more in our summer annual crops such as cotton, corn, melons, and tomatoes,” Stoddard said.

This weed has been documented back 100 years but only recently has become more of a problem for farmers.

“It did not seem to be as universally impacting people as much as it does now,” Stoddard said.

Farmers are asking themselves what they are doing irrigation-wise that impacts the weeds.

“Does drip irrigation favor this weed? Does conservation tillage favor this weed? There are all kinds of unknowns,” Stoddard explained.

Stacking herbicides can help and control the Field Bindweed.

“Herbicides in the annual crop systems are marginal and you have to stack them. You have to combine the Roundup with something like a Treflan and then combine that maybe with some applications of other herbicides,” Stoddard said.

Even with stacking the herbicides, they are still marginal. On the herbicide angle, this is one of the things that makes weeds so challenging.

Helpful Tips for Fighting Bindweed

Multiple Herbicides Can Help with Management

By Mikenzi Meyers, Associate Editor

Field bindweed is continuing to inconvenience farmers and ranchers. However, Scott Stoddard of the UCANR Cooperative Extension in Merced County has some tips on how to control it.

Scott Stoddard

Stoddard explained that the solution isn’t as simple as applying one herbicide, but using a combination might provide some results.

“You have to combine the Roundup with something like a Treflan, and then combine that maybe with some applications of herbicides,” he said.

Stoddard further added that although more successful than applying Roundup alone, even stacking the herbicides will only provide marginal to good control.

The best approach to getting rid of this stubborn weed? Stoddard recommends rotating your field with Roundup Ready varieties so that the herbicide can be more effective on non-Roundup Ready crops.

“For example, a Roundup Ready cotton or corn will clean up a field for the following year for things like tomatoes or melons. In that particular case, Roundup can be very useful,” he said. “Otherwise get it in when you can. If you can apply it before you transplant, or if the bindweed does come out before your transplant that’s when Roundup should be used.”

Field Bindweed Control Requires Multiple Programs

Consistent Management Needed to Eradicate Bindweed

By Laurie Greene, Editor

Kassim Al-Khatib, professor, UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences and UCANR Cooperative Extension specialist in weed science, discussed field bindweed, a problematic weed that has the ability to regrow even with chemical and mechanical control.

“This is weed has been around for a long time,” Al-Khatib said. “It adapted pretty well to hot, dry land areas because it has a long root with a lot of reserve in it. Whatever you try to do, the plant still has reserve in the root and can regrow again.”

The weed scientist explained that bindweed is so problematic, it has to be assessed and managed every season in a variety of ways in order to control it. “If you do a mechanical control, the plant can come back. If you do chemical control, the plant will come back. If you think that you can control it with one shot or in one season, you’re going to be disappointed. This is a serious weed problem that requires a program with multiple approaches over multiple years,” he said.

Field bindweed (Photo by Jack Kelly Clark, UC Statewide IPM Program)
Field bindweed (Photo by Jack Kelly Clark, UC
Statewide IPM Program)

The weed is also difficult to eradicate, according to Al-Khatib, “because there’s a huge seed bank, plus these seeds have a hard coat, which means they can stay in the soil longer. If you try to germinate some of them this year, you’re going to have more seeds coming next year.”

Al-Khatib emphasized a multiple approach is still the best way to reach consistent, effective results. “The key point with field bindweed is to be consistent, have a program and envision what you can do over multiple years to get rid of it. Herbicide may suppress and weaken bindweed, but it is not going to control it or eradicate it. You need multiple approaches—chemical, mechanical, some biological.”

He offered that mites, if they can get established, have been found to feed on field bindweed, another example of using a multi-pronged eradication approach. Mildew can also weaken it. “The point I want to make,” Al-Khatib repeated, “is it takes a multiple approach, multiple tools, and multiple years before you get rid of it.”


Resources:

Field Bindweed, How to Manage Pests: Pests in Gardens and Landscapes, UC IPM