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Hedge Bindweed / Calystegia sepium .... The ties that bind.

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James Kilkelly
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2007 3:18 pm    Post subject: Hedge Bindweed / Calystegia sepium .... The ties that bind. Reply with quote

Hedge Bindweed / Calystegia sepium .... The ties that bind.
by GPI

Years ago whilst under going my horticultural training, I worked a placement period in a garden centre that was bordered on one side by a belt of conifer trees. Now these trees had a particular climbing plant growing up through them, which after rampantly growing for a few months culminated in a late summer showing of pretty, white flowers. The other horticulturalists and I were asked on numerous occasions did we stock that particular plant and was it easy to grow.

My regular tongue in cheek response to these queries was to reply... "Sure we have loads of it in stock, we will even pay you to take it away, provided you dig it out yourself". At this stage it began to dawn on the customer that this was not a favourable climber once planted by a well-intentioned gardener, instead it was some form of invasive weed. That invasive weed was Hedge Bindweed, and you can count yourself lucky if you are without it in your own garden.

Like a criminal on the run Hedge Bindweed is known by numerous aliases, take your pick from Larger Bindweed, Rutland beauty, Hedge-Bell, Bellbine, Devil's Guts, Bearbind, or the two Latin names it goes under, Convolvulus sepium and Calystegia sepium. However many gardeners whose hearts are broken trying to eradicate this terrible weed call it names which are unprintable on a family website. To help you identify Hedge Bindweed and keep one step ahead of it, use the following keys below.

Hedge Bindweed, stems, leaves and flowers, photo / pic / image.
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Solanales
Family: Convolvulaceae
Genus: Calystegia
Species: C. sepium

Stems and leaves.
The green stems are thin, strong and very flexible. These will grow up to 3 metres high in one season by entwining themselves up through anything nearby. Its leaves, which are also green, are shaped like an elongated heart or an arrowhead. These leaves and stems are unbelievably invasive, with the ability to smother ornamental plants if allowed.

As I mentioned earlier, bindweed flowers are rather attractive, comprising large white unscented trumpets, similar in shape to those of the Petunia. The flowers run from June to September, opening in sunny weather and closing in dull weather.

The roots of bindweed are white, fleshy and easy to break in two by hand or spade. The weed is quite capable of re-growing from any part of this root broken off and left in the ground. These roots are so tough that they can survive in soil that is frozen to -34 C.

I will not lie to you, if you have a case of Bindweed infestation in your garden; you possibly have a long hard battle on your hands to get rid of it completely. You will not be able to kill it off in one fell swoop, instead you will have to fight war of attrition over a few seasons until it gives up the ghost.

Cutting off the stems and carefully digging out the white roots will slow the underground spread and begin to weaken the plant as a whole. Alternatively, you can untangle the stems and lay them across the soil away from precious ornamental plants before applying a herbicide containing Glyphosate. Allowing your soil to drain effectively will help slow down the spread of the weed also, as it tends to be more vigorous when growing on moist soils.

If it is growing through to your garden from a neighbour's property, you will find a sheet of thick plastic buried to about a foot deep prevents the creeping roots from spreading further into your site.

Any queries or comments on Hedge Bindweed / Calystegia sepium .... The ties that bind., please post below.

A discussion on bindweed eradication can be found here....

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