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bindweed and quackgrass holding me back

 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1969
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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I am slowly trying to convert my farm to a permaculture food forest. In the orchard and berry patches things are going well, but in the field... I am at a bit of a loss. The previous use of the land for an intensive organic farm run by a dear friend followed by a couple of years where we were busy getting married and then having twins and growing disillusioned with conventional organic farming (and mowing the thing twice a summer) have brought to light some problems that have been there for a while. Bindweed and quackgrass are rampant. I want very much to plant lovely fruit tree guilds and hugelkultur my heart out, but I am daunted by the speed at which the weeds, especially the bindweed, envelop everything.

I have come up with a plan to plant mounds of cucurbita maxima, mainly long island cheese, along with a few others and sunflowers to shade out the bindweed. Broadcast clover has helped a bit, but I really am intimidated by the fragile dep roots, abundant flowers dropping abundant long-lived seeds, and agressive growing habits. Bindweed mites are not available in my state.

Does anyone have any experience with bindweed abatement? I love many weeds for many reasons, but cannot find much use for this one. Any advice will be most welcome.
 
Hanley Kale-Grinder
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Location: Mountain West of USA, Salt Lake City
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This seems to be a common theme in my world! Mr. Wheaton suggests creating a number of zones. On day one go through zone one and pull all of the bindweed and quack grass. On day two start on zone one again then move on to zone two. On day three start on zone one, then go to zone two, then on to zone three. As you can see each day you start from the beginning. The reason being is that bindweed and quackgrass must be pulled out many times before it stops coming back. This will slowly create weed free areas that can be safely planted in. I know that this could get a little bit ridiculous on a large area but I too am at a bit of a quandary over these plants.
 
L. Jones
Posts: 80
Location: NW Mass Zone 4 (5 for optomists)
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I suspect you need animals, but I don't know which ones would work best. In general, some sort of portable fence to contain a high density of livestock that eats the stuff down to nothing (or better yet, some sort of stock that considers it a delicacy, but I also don't know if that exists or what it might be for those weeds - pigs, perhaps?)
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1969
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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L. Jones wrote:I suspect you need animals, but I don't know which ones would work best. In general, some sort of portable fence to contain a high density of livestock that eats the stuff down to nothing (or better yet, some sort of stock that considers it a delicacy, but I also don't know if that exists or what it might be for those weeds - pigs, perhaps?)


Pigs do eat bindweed roots, I have considered it before. I am daunted by the price of fencing and the damage to established trees and plants if pigs get out. Everyone I know who has had pigs has had them get out. Maybe it is the answer though. I will look into it more. Anyone have experience keeping pigs in? How expensive was it, I wonder? We don't eat much pork, but I imagine we could learn to...
 
Saybian Morgan
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Rabbits go crazy for bindweed, but I you have to harvest it for them, I know of no way of keeping a rabbit on open ground. Rabbit tractors are more of a grass situation where there's browse between the wooden slats but it's a touch useless as the gaps have to be small for them not to slither through as they do.
Bindweed doesn't respond to being shaded out as it just climbs whatever's shading it, I often end up ripping up the plant it's climbing on to get it for the rabbits so I'm going the sunflower route this year so the rabbits can have it as a whole. I dug allot of bindweed roots in the winter and planted it in the duck pen, but the problem with constantly weeding it while it's small till it's exausted is you wreck your seedlings. I found if you can keep it racing a tall plant like jerusalem artichoke or sunflowers if you nip em at the base when they get to the top they can't get back to the top that easily late summer.
 
Terri Matthews
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Bindweed ges crazy in my garden, but dies in my lawn. That tells me that it does notdo well ifit is mowd once a week.

I would keep it mowed this summer, and plant next summer.
 
dan collins
Posts: 70
Location: Nova Scotia
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Repeated weed pulling followed by mulching has worked for me with quackgrass. I Built a large perreinal flower garden in which became infested with quackgrass. I weeded it every couple of days, and then mulched heavy with 8in mix of grass, leaves, manure, to maintain I weed it quickly (5 mins) every two weeks and have discovered heavy mulching allowed the quack grass to pulled intact easier. It is now under control.
 
Brenda Groth
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in most cases you'll actually have to dig out those two types of weeds to rid them..and then put in a barrier of some sort to keep them from getting back in..pull them religiously..I have serious problems with them here..one piece gets in and loose and by the next summer it has taken over again.
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1969
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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This is the discussion I have been having in my head for two years now.

I want to convert to permaculture, which will be low maintenance. But expensive to get all the trees and plants and animals and fences to begin with.
I can't plant the trees and plants until I have the weeds under control.
Controlling the weeds is very high maintenence!
The weeds can be controlled by permaculture. But only if I have a lot of inputs (mulch, animals, fencing)
I can't afford to pay someone to work on the farm if I don't produce crops, but I can't convert to permaculture without money- can I?

I believe in the sense of permaculture, I believe it is the way to go, I just can't figure out how to get there. My field is about an acre and a half, and I am a stay-at-home farmer mama with twins who are not yet two. Last year I knew I couldn't farm the field, it was all I could do to grow a few veggies in my kitchen garden. I hope I don't sound too complainy, I love my life and my farm, I am just tired of the round-and-round thought process and I hope someone can snap me out of it.

THe bindweed seems not to mind mowing too much, it can grow pretty low. I remove every speck of root I find in my kitchen garden, but it hides in any perennial plant's roots and at the perimeter, and it sneaks in somehow. Constant attention keeps it at bay, but only in my little corner.

Maybe pigs are the answer, if I can only find a way to pay for them, but what if they get out and destroy the blueberries? That is my most reliable cash crop/storage crop, and the investment of quite a lot of time and money.

We have gobs of rabbits around here, they seem to ignore the bindweed, there are plenty of other lovely things for them to eat.

Here I go, around in circles again...
 
L. Jones
Posts: 80
Location: NW Mass Zone 4 (5 for optomists)
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Matu Collins wrote:expensive to get all the trees and plants and animals and fences to begin with.
...
I can't plant the trees and plants until I have the weeds under control.


It's not requred to go all-or-nothing. For fiscal and practical reasons nearly all can be/are often done gradually.

Plant two trees. Mulch around them. If (when) weeds climb them, pull the weeds off. Next year, plant two more trees...or 1, or 10. But not zero. Zero gets you nowhere.

Since cash is an issue, start with free or inexpensive locally sourced trees, or rooted cuttings from the trees you have, or seedlings (which you can graft later, or not.)

If your land is flat enough (this is "the field" so perhaps it is) a few chickens in a "chicken tractor" (or ark) can do spot weed control without a great deal of expense. Won't cure the whole field in a year, but can dent part of it, and expand from there, gradually.

If you never start, it will never get easier to start (or continue.)
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1969
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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bee books chicken forest garden fungi trees
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Thanks for the thoughtful responses. I have been starting, and making progress in some ways. I need to remember that and be realistic.

The thing of it is, what do I do with the field while I am slowly beginning? Leaving it alone completely hasn't been good. At least I know tilling is a bad plan, not only for the usual reasons, but because cutting up all those bindweed roots is what got this field into this mess in the first place!

It does seem like animals would be a part of a workable solution, but the fact that bndweed is poisonous complicates that. I have thought of the chicken tractor, but I feel cruel leaving the tractor there until they have eaten all the poisonous stuff.

Sorry for taking you all on my merry go round, and thanks for the help. THere must be an answer. Or, I suspect, a collection of answers and understanding that together will work.

 
Terri Matthews
Posts: 468
Location: Eastern Kansas
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Matu, I have a grass and clover mix around my fruit trees, and I mow it every couple of weeks and I do not collect the clippings. I let them decompose back into the ground.

Might that work for you? The mowing would, at least, keep the bindweed from growing over the smaller trees.

Once the trees get large enough the bindweed couldn't threaten them. Then, if you WANTED to stop mowing, you could.
 
duane hennon
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According to "Designing and Maintaining Your Edible Landscape Naturally" by Robert Kourik

page 36

both bindweed and quack grass are both indicators of subsoil hardpan

the hardpan is giving these plants an edge over other plants

hardpan can be caused by plowing or a high water table

the hardpan can be broken up with a chisel point plow and planted with deep rooted plants "Permaculture A Designer's Manual" by Bill Mollison, page 441

if done in the fall, the bindweed and quack grass should be going dormant
winter rye and clover (or some other mix) could be planted and would grow until winter and start growing again in the spring
sheet mulch over rye/clover mix next spring, as needed, to plant garden, trees ,etc
this should displace the two culprits and encourage other growth
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1969
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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After some rumination, I have decided to try the pumpkin/sunflower/clover combo that I was planning, as I will have a bit of help in patches this summer with a wild edibles/plant identification week long intensive I am holding. I am toying with trying a permaculture mound, but without good weed control I worry that keeping myself from being able to mow will be a mistake. I will carefully go over the field and try to identify an area that is less weedy. I am looking at the field and trying to observe it carefully for water/wind/weed/animal patterns.

I do think the water table is high, what could be done about that? I am in a beautiful beach community, not far from the ocean and a pristine brackish pond.
The field has not been plowed intensively for many years, and not at all in the last 3, so I don't think it is that.

I do appreciate the advice from Mollison, I have been drooling over his books for years but they are so expensive and none are available in the library system.

I have also decided to try and build a better chicken tractor. (the one I inherited from someone else is flawed in some ways and very heavy)

I will look into the pig thing. We are saving money for fencing anyway. We don't eat much meat, and very little pork, but maybe we can figure out a share plan with others who do. Has anyone done this?

I am looking into getting inexpensive trees and ground covers.

I am taking to heart the idea of focusing on the nose first, then the garden, etc... how does that quote go?

One resource I have, since I can't do everything now, is time!

 
L. Jones
Posts: 80
Location: NW Mass Zone 4 (5 for optomists)
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It's quite piecemeal, but some mollison stuff is out in there for free, and jeanine posted a link to a place with links to it a few days back.

Free PDC reading

One of the little documents (I think the humid landscapes one) suggests planting daikon radish if (or where) you can't get a soil conditioner in. Long, fat root vegetable...

Of course, tree roots also work.
 
Varina Lakewood
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Matu Collins wrote:Bindweed and quackgrass are rampant. I want very much to plant lovely fruit tree guilds and hugelkultur my heart out, but I am daunted by the speed at which the weeds, especially the bindweed, envelop everything.

I have come up with a plan to plant mounds of cucurbita maxima, mainly long island cheese, along with a few others and sunflowers to shade out the bindweed. Broadcast clover has helped a bit, but I really am intimidated by the fragile dep roots, abundant flowers dropping abundant long-lived seeds, and agressive growing habits. Bindweed mites are not available in my state.

Does anyone have any experience with bindweed abatement? I love many weeds for many reasons, but cannot find much use for this one. Any advice will be most welcome.


We have lots of bindweed here, and quackgrass, too. After some intense research on the subject, and plenty of unwanted experience, the best way to get rid of either is to pull it and improve your soil. We dig compost and leaves directly into the soil, but you could do it other ways.

Bindweed: Closely related to Morning Glories of all sorts, they love poor soil. (They do have human uses, but I can't remember them, since I wasn't much interested.) Improve your soil enough and they should wither on their own. (I believe the reference for that is gaia's garden, however, I've seen it elsewhere.) In the meantime, just pull them up after they put out buds or are flowering, as it does more damage to the plant's store of energy. Remember, these suckers can send out 25ft of stolons in one year, so you really want to keep them contained to where they are if that's an option. As a side note, they don't grow in deep cedar detritus. They will however grow in full sun or deep shade, loosened soil or hardpan, and they just develop a low growing habit around here if mowed regularly. We found an edger hoe that we use to slice off the stuff in one persistant bed, which is far easier and has about the same efficacy as trying to dig it out and sort through every bit of clay soil for stray stolons. It also doesn't care if it gets watered or not. Our worst patch is a slope that never gets watered except by the rain.

Quackgrass: Also loves bad soils. Though it seems to think better soils are even nummier, the better the soil, the easier to rip out a whole patch in a few minutes. The worst patch of it I ever saw was in solid clay and there was more grass roots than clay, took about an hour to weed one foot. It will grow in thick cedar detritus, but rips up with extreme ease. Also, from Companion Plants: "Tomato has such an antipathy for quackgrass (agropyron repens) that in can be used to suppress it." (Definitely trying this along the verge of my garden this year, where the bindweed isn't, the soil isn't great yet, and the quackgrass reinvades quickly.) Because my area is rather arid, I don't find quackgrass to be as annoyinly persistant as bindweed. I've even had it die on its own in areas of the back lawn that are in rain shadow from the fence and cedars and don't get watered. Quackgrass likes moisture.

Another thing I'm curious about is violets. Once given an opportunity to become the dominant species, they seem to crowd out weed amazingly, but go around the taller bedding plants. I'm looking into this on an experimental level, after having noticed the phenomenon in my front flowerbed. If I have to choose between aggressively dominant weeds, I'd take violets over bindweed and quackgrass any day. Not sure how well it'll work, and unfortunately, violets aren't fond of droughty full sun areas, but they will grow. Wish me luck.
 
Nick Garbarino
Posts: 239
Location: west central Florida
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I'm a southerner and have no idea what bindweeds and quackgrass are like, but have you considered soil solarization? Perhaps a patch at a time, and plant each cleared patch right away so the weeds can't move back in too fast. Maybe you could augment your other ideas with this? Seems like the next few months would be the right time of year to try it up north. Whatever you do to control these weeds, you'll need some good soil building plants in there right away since these weeds are indicators of poor soil. I'm also wondering if you have salt water intrusion issues.
 
Varina Lakewood
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Nick,
Tried it last year. Only worked so-so and the bindweed is baaaack this year in the area I tried that. Both weeds have extensive underground, um, rhizomes?, or stolons. which makes them impossible to kill in just a season or two. Plastic erodes far too fast up here for that to be cost effective, unfortunately. This year I am just smothering the bindweed in that area with full leaf bags. If it would just stay there I wouldn't bother, but bindweed can send out 25ft of stolons in a year plus seeds that can live up to 50yrs in the soil before sprouting. It's invaded my garden three years running, and I'm sick of it. So, solarization last year, simple smothering this year.
Also, not enough water to have such intrusions, but alkaline soil tends to be rather salt-heavy.
Meh, they might win in the end, but they will retreat while I'm here.
Also,
Matu,
Do let me know how well the Long Island Cheese works. I've thought about trying that myself, just couldn't quite get up the nerve after the bindweed happily thrived in my bachelor button thicket one year. <laugh> I say thicket because I scattered a whole packet, and later found that they grew twice as tall as I expected, with a weak but bushy habit. Two years later, I still have volunteers.
 
Pamela Melcher
Posts: 299
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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Quackgrass - improve the humus content of the soil dramatically and you can rip it out in 3 foot strands. I have done this. 3 feet of leaves does wonders. Amazing.

Bindweed: I have not done this myself, but a friend has sprayed the leaves with vinegar and he says it causes the whole plant to die. I think he used straight vinegar. Maybe he diluted it. So this is just pointing you in a promising direction.

Hope this helps.

Perseverence furthers.

Pamela Melcher
 
Varina Lakewood
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Thanks Pamela,

Quackgrass: That does make me feel better.

Bindweed: Can you ask your friend what exactly he did and if he used a special kind of vinegar or something? Because we did try this. The leaves died, the plant came back undismayed. My mom thought perhaps that it was a special sort of vinegar that we were supposed to use, after trying to find out why vinegar failed for us. She did find one (much stronger than normal vinegar), but it is not available in our area. I also wonder if our alkaline clay loam somehow counteracts the effect. We have never been able to contact someone who actually used the vinegar successfully, though. I would be really excited if we could get this one to work!

Thanks again.

Never give up!

Varina
 
Pamela Melcher
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I will check with my friend and get back to you.
 
Pamela Melcher
Posts: 299
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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Messaged my friend about the vinegar/bindweed. Will relay his reply to you.

You can definitely get the upper hand with these plant pests, and that will make it possible to do a lot, even short of wiping them out. Do not scare yourself with worst case scenarios.

I bet that bindweed would make good basket material. I am always too mad at them and tearing at them to save enough to make a basket.

Abundance for All!

Pamela Melcher
 
Varina Lakewood
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Appreciate it.

I dunno about baskets. You're probably right, but they are pretty thin and I have never made a basket, never having had the patience to take the time to learn. My mom said someone used them as tomato ties, though. I think that might have some merit. I always rip the suckers out, too, but ties don't have to be really long.

bwahahaha! Look out bindweed! You may have an actual USE this year. hahaha!

Eh, sorry. Bindweed tends to bring out the evil cackles now and then, a bad influence or something.

Varina
 
Pamela Melcher
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Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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Oops, apologies, I misunderstood my friend - he has used vinegar to kill weeds, but not bindweed, as it does not grow near him.

Vinegar may kill bindweed, as it kills many weeds.

This is exactly what he said:

"I've never had to deal with bindweed anywhere I have lived as of yet. So far it seems with white vinegar the dose depends on the weather/season and plant type and stage of growth. Sometimes 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water kills a lot of stuff (grass mostly the best) and sometimes mixing it stronger may be better. I would try full strength if they could afford it. Mix in a little dish soap and soak it good?"

He once told me that he sprays it only on the leaves. He does not soak the soil.

Sounds worth a try. I hope it works.

It is annoying, but if you catch it before it goes to seed, it is providing you with mulch.

I do better when I am not mad at what grows on our land. I can think better and enjoy the good that is also there in abundance.

Good luck!

Abundance for All!

Pamela Melcher
 
Pamela Melcher
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Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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"American farmers will probably be more than a little surprised to learn, for instance, that the detested bindweed, when cured into hay, gave returns from dairy cows considerably above either alfalfa or clover. Many weed experiments were carried on at one of England's leading experiment stations, where the weeds, of course, were under control."

From http://www.journeytoforever.org/farm_library/weeds/Weeds10.html about midway down the page.

Bindweed is not edible for humans, unfortunately.

In general, that paper is full of very useful info.

Abundance for All!

Pamela Melcher
 
wayne stephen
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I cannot give advice , we have a scourge here called Johnson grass that will grow 4 feet in a month and has rhizomes as big as your thumb. I have recieved advice from others on this site to just forget my efforts to focus on annuals and go with perrenial systems. I have also recieved advice to put pigs on the Johnson grass. I have not tried the pigs , as my wife and daughter do not eat much pork - ah , the burdens of the spiritual life. However my efforts to keep mulch and cover/companions around my perennials are keeping the grasses at bay - not eliminated. I am now growing weeds and grasses in these areas for biomass . I just chop and drop. It is changing the mix of wild plants in the system . The only place where the Johnson grows assumes control is where I keep disturbing the soil in order to get rid of it. It is now three feet tall again in my annual garden.Just comes back stronger . I don't have any new answers but I can tell you the harder you focus on eliminating the undesirables , the less time you get to put into desirables. This approach seems to be panning out better and easier for me.The hardest part is not having tomatos and peppers , etc. Saves us alot of money , but takes alot of time.
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1969
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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Aha, just as in working with children, attitude is everything. I do find myself getting frustrated. Yesterday I took up the solarization tarp that has been there for weeks to find that the only thing alive under there was bindweed and quackgrass. All ghostly and white for lack of sun.
instead of being grumpy about it, I will give thanks that I don't have johnsongrass and japanese knotweed.
I can try to get leaves from neighbors in the fall- I wonder how many leaves would be in 3 feet's worth on an acre and a half...
i keep telling myself "do what you can and that is enough" but it is hard to
believe.
i wonder what sort of mulch I could find massive amounts of. I have three comfrey plants...
i hesitate to use the bindweed for mulch lest it root from the ends.
 
Varina Lakewood
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Pamela Melcher wrote:Oops, apologies, I misunderstood my friend - he has used vinegar to kill weeds, but not bindweed, as it does not grow near him.
Vinegar may kill bindweed, as it kills many weeds.
This is exactly what he said:
"I've never had to deal with bindweed anywhere I have lived as of yet. So far it seems with white vinegar the dose depends on the weather/season and plant type and stage of growth. Sometimes 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water kills a lot of stuff (grass mostly the best) and sometimes mixing it stronger may be better. I would try full strength if they could afford it. Mix in a little dish soap and soak it good?"
He once told me that he sprays it only on the leaves. He does not soak the soil.
Sounds worth a try. I hope it works.
It is annoying, but if you catch it before it goes to seed, it is providing you with mulch.
I do better when I am not mad at what grows on our land. I can think better and enjoy the good that is also there in abundance.
Good luck!
Abundance for All!
Pamela Melcher


Thanks Pamela.
Darn, I was hoping! Thanks for the link, I'll look at it after work.

However, my mom and I were discussing this, and there's something interesting about bindweed related to acid/alkaline. On more acid soils, especially rich ones, bindweed is almost unheard of. My grandmother who has gardened in the coastal mountains of CA for her entire life didn't even know what it was. I do know it grows there, though, because I saw it once as a kid, growing in a schoolyard lot where the ground was (again) hardpan and poor. Out here, where the soil is alkaline and humus-poor, the stuff is rampant. Also, I was pulling bindweed near my strawberry patch today. The strawberries were mulched with pine needles last year. I noticed while weeding that the bindweed isn't growing in the pine needles. The one spot it was, it was significantly smaller and more compact than the bindweed a few inches away. The bindweed directly downhill of the strawberries, which would have gotten the direct runoff from the pine needles also exhibited these symptoms. They weren't unhealthy, but I'm not sure I've ever seen an unhealthy bindweed, lol.
I don't know if the observations are significant, but... I'll be mulching some areas with pine needles this year, to see if it makes a difference!

I do not mulch with bindweed for the same reason that Matu is afraid to. Also, if it is in flower, it will go to seed after being picked! Nor with rooted quackgrass (I've seen it come back from the dead.) though at least the clippings are great mulch.

Matu,
that was pretty much the same result I got (last year), though it did die entirely after being left several months longer (I used clear plastic). It's back again, happy as ever this year.
lol. It is hard to believe, isn't it? I expected to have everything planted and growing by now. (Sigh. There were circumstances.) Wow! 1 1/2 acres of leaves? I just raked the front lawns of 3 of my neighbors about 2-4 times each last fall. I got like 30 leafbags stuffed full. I can't even imagine a 3'x1 1/2 acres of leaves, the mind boggles! (I find myself just a tad envious. lol)
On the bright side, my slope of bindweed is a beautiful green.

Wayne,
That sounds like a good system.
Interesting that its affecting the mix of wild plants, though it makes sense.
And now I am officially extremely grateful not to have johnson grass or some other amazing scourge.
Actually, focusing on eliminating bindweed rather de-stresses me at the moment. Though it does take time, I count it as time well spent.
You could always sell the pigs to neighbors. Lol.
Yeah, I'm looking into the clip and drop bit. Its difficult in some ways, because if it doesn't look tidy, my dad will object. <shrug>

Varina
 
Hugh Hawk
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Location: Adelaide, South Australia (Mediterranean climate)
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Think there is something to the Kourik advice about hardpans, and also about alkalinity. I have alkaline soil with a fairly impenetrable clay/calcium layer 1-2 feet below the surface, and have problems with bindweed.

I think ryegrass would be worth trying on the broadacre scale. I grew it in a few plots years ago, and it kept the bindweed out for 18-24 months. It doesn't have to compete with the bindweed to get established, as here the bindweed is dying back during autumn/winter when the rye is planted. By the time the bindweed starts to grow again the rye is very thick and relatively tall. Perhaps its roots exert some effect (exudates?) as well, since the bindweed just didn't seem to come up at all in that spot.
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1969
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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bee books chicken forest garden fungi trees
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Interesting, Hugh. I have slightly acidic soil, but there is a dense clay layer 1-2 feet below the topsoil.

Other abundant "weeds" which I appreciate include yellowdock and dandelion, and I imagine they are pulling up some nutrients to the topsoil. I am also interested in using Daikon radish for breaking up the hardpan.

My careful examination has been showing that the areas where the bindweed has gotten further along this year are the bumpier areas where the mowing is less effective. They are also areas where some rodents, I think meadow voles, have taken up residence. I wonder if they are related.

I think for the flatter areas in the fall I will try a rye/clover/buckwheat mix.
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1969
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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bee books chicken forest garden fungi trees
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Aha, I did have a thought about alkalinity- last year I mulched my kitchen garden path with a layer of wood ashes covered by wood chips. Not much grew there at all last year, but this year bindweed is the only thing thriving in it. I do find that the bindweed grows anywhere it can, fluffy black rich topsoil, clay, sandy scree, thick deep pine needles, everywhere. Maybe it likes our moist climate or something. It is often foggy here.

Stil, I am taking the alkalinity thing seriously.
 
Hugh Hawk
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Interesting that you, too, have the dense clay layer under fairly shallow topsoil, Matu. That makes 3 of us with this condition and with bindweed.

One technique I have tried on the small scale to remedy this, is hammering a thin metal stake into the ground repeatedly over a small area. I find I can usually tell when it has broken through the hard layer and the clay underneath tends to be softer, there seems to be a layer of hard stuff on the top of the B horizon. I have done this when planting some of my trees to try to help them get their roots down into the deeper soil. Will have to try that when prepping my next vegetable bed...
 
L. Jones
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Location: NW Mass Zone 4 (5 for optomists)
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Supposedly (Per Bill Mollison) daikon radish will poke those holes for you. Worth an inexpensive try. Whoops, i alreaady said that in this thread. Sorry. Delete?
 
Hugh Hawk
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Good idea, certainly on broadacre it's a lot less work If it works, anyway. I haven't had a lot of success thus far with daikon but I am trying again today!
 
Pamela Melcher
Posts: 299
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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Sources of LOTS of mulch -

Tree care folks acquire a lot of branches and other wood in their line of work. They usually have chippers. They usually have to pay to dispose of the quantity they have. They are often/usually willing to deliver them for free. A friend of mine was able to have his 1/2 acre plot 2' (feet) deep in wood chips, delivered to his home for free by someone who was happy to do it.

Another farmer friend had 14 stores in a local grocery chain deliver their food scraps to him, also for free, otherwise they would have had to pay to dispose of them. That volume of food scraps does smell bad as it decomposes, but he had a big farm. Lots of space. So part could smell bad and he could escape to the part that smelled good.

Check Craig's list diligently.

It is my understanding that rye is allelopathic (secretes something that inhibits the growth of other plants.

I let things like bindweed and quackgrass dry until they are brittle in the sun, and they do not resprout.

Another thing I do with problem plants is put them in water and let them ferment, and then pile them all as permanent mulch in deep shade. Very few seeds sprout, and I know right where they are and am on top of it.

You can look on this as service ti our species. Keep a journal of what works and what does not and make it into a blog or an ebook.

Abundance for All!

Pamela Melcher

 
Pamela Melcher
Posts: 299
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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This is VERY full of info about working with weeds to accomplish many worthwhile goals, including breaking up hardpan.

Working with weeds to break up hardpan, etc.

Jibes with my experience in many ways.

Abundance for All!

Pamela Melcher
 
Varina Lakewood
Posts: 116
Location: Colorado
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Mmn. Thanks again, Pamela.
Darn, I should have ask those tree people the other day. <lol> Oh, well.
(Well, I might trust the tops of bindweed once dry, and quackgrass clippings, but I have seen weeds dried and the dumped where there is a bit of moisture that cheerfully came back to laugh at us. Bindweed and quackgrass among them. Not up the fermentation thing, unfortunately.)
Hah. We should pool our observations and conclusions, shouldn't we?

L. Jones:
It's still a good suggestion! And thanks for the link earlier.

Hugh:
Are you saying that the bindweed doesn't come up in that spot anymore? Or just that it doesn't come up while the rye is there?
Mmn. Yeah, I have hardpan under there. I guess I should check the layers in the soil by going down in the defunct pool and looking. It's possibly not clay 'clear to China', though I have my doubts. <laugh>
Yes, trees do seem to break it up some, but we have a decent layer of 'topsoil' most places, so I don't think many of them bother growing deeper.

Matu:
Hmn. That's interesting. It's very dry up here. Do you know which kind of bindweed you have? There are several. Though I think only two are listed as noxious weeds.
 
Pamela Melcher
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Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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Call the tree people back and set up something in the future. They will thank you

Pamela Melcher
 
Pamela Melcher
Posts: 299
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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I have dried the most persistent weeds until they snap when bent and they have never resprouted. I leave them in the sun for a LONG time, thinly spread out.

Pamela Melcher
 
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