BROOKINGS — Over the summer the number one weed in South Dakota gardens and yards has been field bindweed, according to SDSU Extension staff.
“Field bindweed is a perennial species that develops an extensive root system making it difficult to control. Any management program may take several years,” said Gared Shaffer, SDSU Extension weeds field specialist.
Shaffer explained that in gardens, perennial species, such as field bindweed, can be a big problem because most gardeners don’t want to use chemicals in their garden and there are few chemical options available. The most effective spot treatment is a glyphosate product sprayed at flowering or late fall after garden plants are done producing.
“So, this leaves mechanical control and tilling. Tilling is not a good option in the garden, because it stirs up the soil and spreads weed seed and rhizomes. This then helps weeds later on, instead of hindering or controlling them. The only other option would be to pull them out by hand and then use a ground cover like grass clippings, wood chips, plastic or cloth garden fabric to suppress them,” he said.
Shaffer reminds gardeners that if they choose to use grass clippings for mulch, make sure they are weed free.
In a yard, Shaffer says the best chemical control measures are products that contain 2,4D+dicamba+MCPP in a pre-mix, like Weed-B-Gone Max, Bayer Advanced, Trimec, Weed Stop and others.
“Mowing is not an effective tool against field bindweed, but hand pulling can be over time,” he said. “If hand pulling is done, make sure the root system is taken out with the above ground growth. This is more effective in porous soil or wetter soils.”