brand new video:
       
get all 177 hours of
presentations here.
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Permaculture value of bindweed?  RSS feed

 
Pete Hwan
Posts: 12
Location: Portland, OR
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This question is going to seem oddball, if not downright contrarian:

Is there any Permaculture value to field bindweed, aka morning glory?

Is it a biodynamic accumulator, potential candidate for a living mulch, or even "perennial cover crop" as described by Dr. Elaine Ingham? Does it qualify as a pioneer plant for increasing soil fertility? Will it increase my earthworm population, healthy bacteria, fungus count?

Benefits I can gather:
- huge underground root mass that runs 9-12 feet into the soil
- incredible tough and hardy
- drought resistant, dying back in the dry summer months to not compete for water with my fruit trees and blueberries
- grows low to the ground and resistant to foot traffic

The downside of course is that it's hard to get rid of, spreads like wildfire, climbs and potentially chokes out other plants.

Before I go and try to poison mine (I've got it all over my woodchip-covered Back to Eden garden), I'd like to understand if there's any redeeming value and if I should just "embrace the dark side."

If the latter, any way I can keep it under control, so I can reap the benefits without setting myself up for a disaster?

Thanks!
 
Dan Boone
gardener
Posts: 1787
Location: Central Oklahoma (zone 7a)
195
forest garden trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi, Pete, and welcome to Permies!

I'm afraid I don't know much about bindweed, but I should warn you that even if you were joking about poisoning the stuff, somebody will probably be along pretty soon to tell you why that's a bad idea. (And anyway, the publishing standards here at Permies.com don't allow for much discussion of herbicide use.) Hopefully they will also have some useful suggestions for you or can answer your questions about what bindweed is good for or how it can be controlled in a permacultural way. (If I know this crew, there will be discussion of goats before this thread is done.)

Once again, welcome.
 
Pete Hwan
Posts: 12
Location: Portland, OR
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Yeah, I was half joking with the poisoning. I meant spraying on a boiled soap and vinegar mix that I've been *told* works well for eliminating bindweed.

Bindweed is generally considered a noxious weed by many. But if there's redeeming permaculture/soil building value to bindweed, it would be nice to not go through the effort and pain of trying to eliminate it.

 
Stephanie Meyer
Posts: 39
Location: West Michigan Zone 5
2
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Podcast 163 http://www.richsoil.com/permaculture/1779-163-bindweed/ Sounds like he advocates naughty child slave labor I also tend to be a fan of this for any "search and destroy" mission.

And rabbits. Lately, every time I see "invasive weed" my brain translates it to "copious free goat/rabbit fodder".
 
Pete Hwan
Posts: 12
Location: Portland, OR
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks, Stephanie. I have something like a quarter acre of bindweed. That's some serious work to deal with by hand! I'd also seem some interesting discussions about planting pumpkins to outcompete it. Alleopathic properties of the roots.

But with all that root mass underground... Paul says running as far as 30 ft down, shouldn't this be the perfect "low growing, high root mass perennial cover crop" as described by Dr Elaine Ingham? "Putting organic material under the ground where you want it?". Or is it too much of a noxious weed to think about that way?

After all, Permaculture folks are embracing their inner dandelion, right?

Thanks!
 
Michael Cox
Posts: 1667
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
54
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It is horrible stuff.

As far as thinking of it as a log growing ground cover - bind weed is as low as the tallest plant in the area and will pull down limbs of fruit trees to ground level if it gets hold of them. We regularly pull bindweed from the top of a 16ft Yew hedge and I spent hours and hours clearing a heavy bindweed infestation from our raspberries. They were sop tangled the canes were collapsing and it was impossible to get between them to harvest.

In our meadow/orchard area it tries to swamp the trees and needs regular defending against. The long tendrils have a habit of twisting up and jamming the strimmer.

I have tried various things but the only way I have successfully beaten a patch is:

  • deep deep mulching with wood chips
  • hand weeding regularly to remove all sections of roots
  •  
    Jessica Padgham
    Posts: 99
    Location: Denver, Co 6000ft bentonite clay soil
    3
    • Likes 2
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    When I was reading up on growing buckwheat I came across a claim that it inhibited bindweed. I haven't tested this thoroughly but the area that I planted with buckwheat does seem to have less of the bindweed than the surrounding area. Another tip I read here on Permies, and I think it was from Matu Collins, was instead of pulling the plant to curl it up and cover it. I think she read somewhere that the pulling actually stimulates it to grow even more. Again, I haven't been thorough but I am gaining ground in my strawberry bed with this method.
     
    Marion Kaye
    Posts: 53
    Location: Essex, UK
    4
    • Likes 1
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    My Mum and I have developed a philosophy for eradicating noxious weeds. Find a use for it and it attempt to use/cultivate it for that purpose, and sure as eggs are eggs it will up and dissappear! My Mum's original input to the pholosophy, was from wartime, when her father discovered that if you placed a saucer over a dandelion plant, it would blanch and be edible like endive. I don't know if they ever got any to eat, but they soon ended up with a dandelion free lawn!
    In more recent times I have discovered that dandelions make good chicken food as does goose grass, chickweed, and fat hen. I used to have lots of all of them, now I have just a little goosegrass. I am even contemplating buyng dandelion and fat hen seed!

    Bindweed, ground elder and cooch grass all IIRC are good mineral collectors, so make good (if stinky!) liquid feed for other plants.
    With patience and regular persistance, bindweed is relatively easy to get rid of, as it doesn't spread sideways like the cooch grass or ground elder. If you have heavy clay that will benefit from digging you can speed the process a bit by chasing the roots down as far as you can go. Be careful you don't break into hell though!!
     
    Marion Kaye
    Posts: 53
    Location: Essex, UK
    4
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Jessica Padgham wrote:When I was reading up on growing buckwheat I came across a claim that it inhibited bindweed. I haven't tested this thoroughly but the area that I planted with buckwheat does seem to have less of the bindweed than the surrounding area. Another tip I read here on Permies, and I think it was from Matu Collins, was instead of pulling the plant to curl it up and cover it. I think she read somewhere that the pulling actually stimulates it to grow even more. Again, I haven't been thorough but I am gaining ground in my strawberry bed with this method.


    It certainly helps make it bring it's roots to the surface. It's important not to let it get to the light though.
     
    Pete Hwan
    Posts: 12
    Location: Portland, OR
    • Likes 1
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    My chickens seem to help control the bindweed as well. They don't eliminate the bindweed altogether, but seem effective at reducing its vigor.

    We have a 50x50 foot deep mulched chicken run with fruit trees. Right outside the chicken run (our garden area, also deep mulched), the bindweed is deep green and scary aggressive. Inside the chicken run, the bindweed almost seems anemic. Doesn't seem like something at all to fear. There's a clear delineation of this effect right up to the fence line.

    I'm not sure why this is. I don't get the sense that the chickens eat the bindweed. We don't see them nibbling at it. I was wondering if it has to do with the chicken manure. If so, that seems pretty mild, as we only have 4 chickens roaming 2500 sq feet, and the effect of their manure is buffered by 12 inches of wood chip deep mulch.

    We also have 7 ducks, so later in the summer once the garden gets established, I want to see if I can introduce the ducks to manage the bindweed on the other side of the fence.

    If we're able to use poultry to manage our bindweed at "anemic, non-aggressive levels," that would be quite a win.




     
    Pete Hwan
    Posts: 12
    Location: Portland, OR
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Marion, can you explain more regarding:

    "With patience and regular persistance, bindweed is relatively easy to get rid of, as it doesn't spread sideways like the cooch grass or ground elder."

    Tell me more about the not spreading sideways part. I'm trying to discern the critical insight here. From what I can tell, our bindweed spreads quite aggressively via underground roots.

    Thanks.



     
    Eivind Bjoerkavaag
    the navigator
    Posts: 68
    7
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    I haven't experience with it but it sounds like an awesome plant if it can be controlled. The caretaker of True Nature Farm, the guy from Paul Wheaton dandelion video, said bindweed really improves the soil.
     
    Pete Hwan
    Posts: 12
    Location: Portland, OR
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Eivind-- where did you see that?
     
    Isaac Bickford
    Posts: 101
    Location: Okanogan County, WA
    2
    bike chicken rabbit
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    I second the idea of feeding it to rabbits. We just have a bit of it, but I look over where it is growing and pull them when they're big enough to get a good handle on. Might not be the only solution if you have a ton of it, but it improves the attitude when weeding turns into foraging.
     
    Eivind Bjoerkavaag
    the navigator
    Posts: 68
    7
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Pete - he doesnt say it in the video but did just before or after when we toured the site as a stop on the 2012 permaculture roadtrip through 7 states, symphonies of seeds and soil.

    <--navigator title is because I was there next to captain Badknock through all sorts of weather and climate zones. When we broke down Paul Wheaton used to fix it MacGyver style with a hatchet or a ball poibt pen and some ducktape or chewing gum. He's a true genuous that man.
     
    Peter Ellis
    Posts: 1432
    Location: Central New Jersey
    40
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    For a long time I did not appreciate people's views about bindweed. I really had none of it n my yard. Then we took out eleven trees, subjected the quarter acre space to some significant disturbance. And now I understand much better. With the disturbance came bindweed. While it may be helpful in terms of root mass, decompaction and even mineral accumulation, the climbing habit is aggressive and destructive. In my view, good permaculture plants don't have negative traits that balance or even outweigh their positive aspects.

    In my view, what good bindweed may do is quickly erased by the harm it can do. I also think that in at least some environments, it is essentially a pioneer dependent upon disturbance and can be beaten out by more desirable plants. I think this because it was not expressed in my yard until disturbance occurred, but apparently was there, unexpressed, in the "stable" system.
     
    Marion Kaye
    Posts: 53
    Location: Essex, UK
    4
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Pete Hwan wrote:Marion, can you explain more regarding:

    "With patience and regular persistance, bindweed is relatively easy to get rid of, as it doesn't spread sideways like the cooch grass or ground elder."

    Tell me more about the not spreading sideways part. I'm trying to discern the critical insight here. From what I can tell, our bindweed spreads quite aggressively via underground roots.

    Thanks.





    Hmm, maybe a different variety/species from the stuff around here. Or possibly a misunderstanding due to my trying to keep things short and simple.

    Digging down to remove roots, I find they are always pretty much vertical, lots of wiggles and 1" diameter spirals, but all basically vertical.
    It will spread sideways, but only above ground, where you can see it, like ivy. You don't have to dig to stop it, but you do have to be regular in your attention to the areas where you want to eradicate it.

    Cooch Grass and ground elder by contrast have very stongly horizontal spreading roots. If your bindweed doesn't have horizontal roots like that, then I suggest that you simply have a lot of remnants over a large area. Just because you have gotten out all that you can get down to, won't stop it coming back from some deeply buried root possibly over a year later. You do have to be on your guard and persistant.
     
    Marion Kaye
    Posts: 53
    Location: Essex, UK
    4
    • Likes 1
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Eivind Bjoerkavaag wrote:I haven't experience with it but it sounds like an awesome plant if it can be controlled. The caretaker of True Nature Farm, the guy from Paul Wheaton dandelion video, said bindweed really improves the soil.


    It can't realy be controlled, that's the problem. Turn your back on it and it will drag your plants down and bury them. It has no merits that can't be got from other less aggressive plants.
     
    Michael Cox
    Posts: 1667
    Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
    54
    • Likes 3
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Bindweed roots will DEFINITELY run sideways... I've pulled sections that were about 2m long and no more than 4 inches below the surface. They may not spread laterally as quickly as some other species, but they will definitely spread. The need to get the roots up is one of my prime reasons for mulching beds. With a deep layer of chips the soil eventually loosens to the point where you can tease long root sections out of the ground without excessive soil disturbance.
     
    elle sagenev
    Posts: 1282
    Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
    16
    • Likes 1
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    I struggled with this concept last year. I left it for a little while. But it binds everything so I was eventually hand weeding it all out. I noticed that it came on late in the season so I guess I'm hoping this year to out plant it.
     
    Michael Cox
    Posts: 1667
    Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
    54
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Elle - the roots are already established in the soil. They are already planted so to speak, and bindweed thrives by climbing up any existing plants to reach light. They grow 16ft through a dense heavily shaded yew hedge and poke out of the top to flower. They are the only thing that can survive the Yew's shade and come back year on year.

    Interestingly, our long term overgrazed pasture next door has no bindweed evident anywhere so it doesn't seem to cope with long term "hair cuts".
     
    elle sagenev
    Posts: 1282
    Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
    16
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Michael Cox wrote:Elle - the roots are already established in the soil. They are already planted so to speak, and bindweed thrives by climbing up any existing plants to reach light. They grow 16ft through a dense heavily shaded yew hedge and poke out of the top to flower. They are the only thing that can survive the Yew's shade and come back year on year.

    Interestingly, our long term overgrazed pasture next door has no bindweed evident anywhere so it doesn't seem to cope with long term "hair cuts".


    We do not have a serious infestation, yet. I'll keep pulling it! My kids like pulling crap up so I'll set them about yanking it up until it dies.
     
    Bryant RedHawk
    garden master
    Posts: 2839
    Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
    233
    chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting toxin-ectomy
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Ah, yes the good old morning glory/bindweed dilemma. I hate the stuff with a great passion, I have only been able to get rid of it by repeat chop and drop at ground level. When I find some of it growing, I immediately cut it down and take it to a pair of saw horses to dry out, only when it is crispy will I add it to the compost pile and let the chickens break it up. Once it come up, you need to start cutting it down at least weekly. The idea is to drain as much energy from the root system as possible. If you truly stay on top of it this way, you can indeed kill it off. Sometimes it takes two years of weekly chopping to get it to die but it will die as long as you don't give it a chance to store up new energy.
     
    Thekla McDaniels
    gardener
    Posts: 1826
    Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
    91
    • Likes 1
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    My goats love the stuff, so it is free feed. Before goats, I liked it better than cheat grass as deep roots are better from the stand point of soil development than no roots or shallow ones. More recently I have been studying soil microorganisms a la Elaine Ingham PhD. Her theory, and I have wholeheartedly accepted it, is that different successional stage plants will grow in the soil that is inhabited by the soil community appropriate to its needs.

    Briefly, to be soil, there needs to be parent material, the mineral stuff (sand silt clay), and there needs to be bacteria, the first category of organism to colonize the soil, probably the water too. They gave us oxygen. Yay and thanks!

    Also fungi, protozoa and nematodes. As soil succession occurs (from bacterial dominated to fungal dominated), so does the plant community change from pioneer communities to climax communities. Somewhere along the way bind weed fits perfectly.

    The least fertile soil is said to be bacterially dominated, meaning way more bacteria than anything else. What grows there: very shallow rooted annuals, and all those wonderful brassicas, the grass that will go through concrete and sheet metal and I hate with a passion. I call it crab grass, but not every one does. Kochia scoparia grows there. Rampant annual weeds with almost no root system.

    Moving through the successional phases you get to fungal dominated soil. The most productive, when you measure productivity by photosynthesis rather than human food. Photosynthesis is where we get oxygen, and where CO2 is removed. There are some pretty important contributions, we can go longer without food than oxygen! A great way to quantify productivity.

    So, knowing not much more than that, my guess is that if you begin to increase the amount of fungi growing in the soil, saprophytic- the kind that decomposes woody material, AND mycorrhizal, the kind that attaches to the roots of host plants and feeds them (two kinds of mycorrhizal, some remain outside the plant roots, and some live at least partly inside the roots of the host plant.

    If you increase the fungal component in the soil, probably everything will grow better. I'm still learning about it. Wildly passionate about it!

    If there is thread for increasing fungi in the soil, won't someone direct me to it? I was looking for it when I found this thread!

    Good luck with the bind weed!
    Thekla
     
    Rebecca Norman
    gardener
    Posts: 1273
    Location: Ladakh, Indian Himalayas at 10,500 feet, zone 5
    127
    food preservation greening the desert solar trees
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    I don't know, with a whole half-acre of bindweed, pulling sounds almost impossible. But here in our gardens, that started only 10 or so years ago, I recognized bindweed from its first appearance and have been pulling it several times every year, and I do seem to have it under control. It hasn't flowered here for years, and I don't see any totally new areas, though it does definitely travel laterally.

    If you search for other threads on this forum about bindweed, you'll find one where Matu Collins claims to have controlled it so well that she has almost none left. She used to use it for minor strings in the garden and now can't find enough for the purpose.
     
    Pete Hwan
    Posts: 12
    Location: Portland, OR
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Laughter. Well, I think I'm going to give it my best shot to keep the bindweed under control via chicken tractor this summer and see how that does. Since I'm not going to realistically pull it all out, I'd like to give the Dr. Elaine Ingham soil building thing a try, without letting the bindweed go hog wild and become so entrenched I can never get rid of it. Hoping that as my other plants get established, they'll be able to outcompete the bindweed.

    I know there must be bits of bindweed all over my lawn, but that's not an issue because the grass keeps it under control. It's my garden/orchard areas where there are big swaths of nothing but wood chip mulch where the bindweed goes crazy. This is resonating with the "nature abhors a vacuum" concept and would be consistent with the idea of using bindweed as a pioneer plant.


    Thanks, everybody for your replies. Hoping I won't be regretting this approach, as it seems like several of you have had bad experiences with it.

    If you have further insights, I'd love to hear it.

     
    Pete Hwan
    Posts: 12
    Location: Portland, OR
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Hi Thekla,
    The shortcut to boosting fungal content in your soil quickly is to have your local tree trimmer drop off a few loads of arborist wood chips for you to spread over your yard.


    Some people refer to this as "Back to Eden" gardening, and I have covered most of my extended garden and orchard with 12" of arborists wood chips. After a season or so, you can upturn the chips to see the white mycelium threads running through the decomposing wood chips, and of course I get all kinds of wild mushrooms (the fruiting bodies) popping up all over the place.

    Google "Back to Eden" to watch the free documentary online. You can also see this link for a horticultural professor's view on heavy arborist wood chip mulch: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&ei=1msCVY2mG5TdoASkoIL4Bg&url=http://puyallup.wsu.edu/~linda%2520chalker-scott/horticultural%2520myths_files/Myths/magazine%2520pdfs/Woodchips.pdf&ved=0CBwQFjAA&usg=AFQjCNE-WaIGLQgTJZbEJJnmfhWPbZD3-g&sig2=WugsoBQcemL-BL-ODkP18A

    There's also a whole Facebook group on Back to Eden wood chip gardening.

    Hope this helps!
     
    Michael Cox
    Posts: 1667
    Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
    54
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Pete Hwan wrote:Hoping that as my other plants get established, they'll be able to outcompete the bindweed.

    I know there must be bits of bindweed all over my lawn, but that's not an issue because the grass keeps it under control. It's my garden/orchard areas where there are big swaths of nothing but wood chip mulch where the bindweed goes crazy. This is resonating with the "nature abhors a vacuum" concept and would be consistent with the idea of using bindweed as a pioneer plant.


    Pete - regarding other plants outcompeting bindweed that is definitely NOT my experience of what happens in practice. The bindweed tendrils simply climb to the top of whatever is around them to get light, then go nuts. In our meadow - deliberately left long through the summer for the wild flowers - the grass is vigorous and dense, yet the bindweed still thrives and ties everything in knots. In your lawn it is not the grass keeping it under control but the regular mowing. I've noticed that bindweed that is regularly cut or pulled changes it's growth pattern from long rambling/climbing stems to a a ground hugging more compact rosette. The following year, once it has built up root reserves again, it bounces back with full vigour.

    Bindweed does grow well in wood chip, but the flip side of that is that there is no easier soil/mulch medium for weeding it out of. If you get down on your hands and knees you can tease out enormous long root sections. This is the ONLY way we have successfully cleared bindweed from an area. I do agree that there is an element of niche filling going on, but there are much nicer plants that could fill that herb layer without causing all the issues that come with bindweed - off the top of my head our woodchip orchard area has comfrey, strawberries that are running everywhere and doing really well, berry bushes and globe artichokes.
     
    Pete Hwan
    Posts: 12
    Location: Portland, OR
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Thanks, Michael. Really appreciate the admonition. Looks like we're going to have to work really hard at this one. Hoping then that a combination on hand pulling out the root sections and siccing the chicken tractor on the unworked bindweed will make a dent.

    This isn't the answer I wanted to hear. Not because I don't believe you, but because we have so much that hand pulling it seems like a insurmountable task. (I've been working hard at had pulling it from select areas already.)

    Thanks again, Michael.
     
    Michael Cox
    Posts: 1667
    Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
    54
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    We know we will never eradicate it here - we are focusing on critical areas. Bindweed and raspberries are a particularly bad combination. It is very hard to get around the base of a dense raspberry patch and weed properly. By the time you are ready to pick the berries it is a tangled mess.

    Likewise in annual veggie beds we are pretty careful about weeding it out, and we have changed our path areas from grass to mulch because the bindweed was reinfiltrating from the edges over and over. In our meadow/orchard area I'm not doing anything about it, but I am planting larger apple trees that will be better able to support their own weight. The dwarfing trees with had previously had low fruiting branches which the bindweed was able to reach. Once the bindweed reaches the branches it pulls the whole tree down.
     
    Thekla McDaniels
    gardener
    Posts: 1826
    Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
    91
    • Likes 1
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Here in the valley where I live there is an insectary. They have a colony of infested bind weed, and they sold me some long stems of it. Then I took the infested stems and wound them around some of my healthy bind weed, and the mites or what ever were supposed to get onto the live stuff. I think it worked, but it's hard to say, I've done so many things since then. The idea was that the plants would be weakened by supporting the mites, and just would not be a problem any more, though it would still be there.

    The reason I don't know if it worked is that I have goats now, and they eat enough bind weed that it's not a problem, in fact, as I already posted, I am glad for large amounts of green feed. But in areas where the goats don't ever go- if I can help it- there is bind weed.

    Thekla
     
    Pete Hwan
    Posts: 12
    Location: Portland, OR
    • Likes 1
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Ooohhh... Bindweed mites!!!

    Is there such a thing? Anyone know where to get some in the Portland, OR area? Where's your insectary?

    I need to get me some when the weather warms up and the bindweed goes nuts. I can already see the bindweed start to break hibernation and bud it.

    Here's a promising article on bindweed mites: http://www.colostate.edu/Dept/CoopExt/Adams/weed/bindweed_mite.html

     
    Thekla McDaniels
    gardener
    Posts: 1826
    Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
    91
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    The insectary is in Palisade, Colorado.

    They are mostly used in dry situations. I think moist soils are not conducive to "permanent" establishment of the mite.

    What happens with them here is you establish them in a dry area and let them move out from there. once they are established, you mow the bind weed with the infestation and that helps spread it. Might be in Eastern Oregon where there are dryer conditions you might find some. If you wanted to put the time in to do it, you might be able to make and area with dryer soil that would give the mites a permanent home, and you could count on using that population to re-introduce the mites to the moist soils.

    Thekla
     
    Thekla McDaniels
    gardener
    Posts: 1826
    Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
    91
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Another thought on the original question of the VALUE of bind weed: it makes lots of green material for composting.
    Thekla
     
    Dillon Nichols
    pollinator
    Posts: 597
    Location: Victoria BC
    27
    • Likes 2
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    The permaculture value of bindweed: providing a bogeyweed, so whenever you have some troublesome plant you can tell yourself, well, at least it's not bindweed!

    Unless it is, of course, in which case perhaps the value is expanding your vocabulary...


    Thekla: the bindweed on my parents land (which a previous owner PLANTED, ON PURPOSE... AAAAAGH!) will gleefully regrow if you compost it before it has been thoroughly toasted. I've seen a compost box at another property FILL with bindweed from some ill-advised sprig making its way into said bin. It exploded to fill the compost bin, and then spread out in all directions; through/up the cedar hedge, into the lawn, along the borders...


    Our control method is hand-pulling when we see it; and concentrated sweeps of the area several times a year, especially when it's flowering. It's noticeably weaker after several years of this.

    We also planted rhubarb in much of the area infested with it; while it still climbs the stalks and must be removed, the leaves are more of a challenge, and we think the heavy shade is helping suppress it.
     
    Michael Cox
    Posts: 1667
    Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
    54
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Bindweed survives hot composting... even a tiny section that escapes the full heat will vigorously regrow and you will spread those root sections when you use the compost.

    The roots are pretty succulent and I've seen sections with enough life to regrow after being exposed to the sun for 2 weeks after hand pulling.

    Our is now burned.

    We still get some sections trying to grow through the compost, but provided you don't break them the sections are really obvious to identify and pull out.
     
    Thekla McDaniels
    gardener
    Posts: 1826
    Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
    91
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Well, I guess I won't try composting it at my house then! I had no idea.
    T
     
    Thekla McDaniels
    gardener
    Posts: 1826
    Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
    91
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    A few posts back I wrote

    "If you increase the fungal component in the soil, probably everything will grow better!"

    That's not really what I meant. If you increase the fungal mass in the soil, and everything else is in balance, then most of the things like pasture, and fruit trees and berries, the things we want, will grow better, and somewhere in that continuum, I am guessing that bind weed would get left behind, but I don't know. It is not that I made it up, but that which plants prefer what percent of soil fungal biomass -- that's something I'm trying to get a good source on, and maybe it's still being researched and discovered.

    Mostly the "weeds" are annual fast growing and undesireable because they don't contribute much (except the minerals they accumulate to the compost they become part of) and mostly weeds of that category prefer soil without much fungal biomass at all, but bindweed really doesn't fit that stereotype of "weed". So I had a grand time telling all about the soil microbiology I am so excited about, but did not really contribute to the bindweed discussion on that one.

    Sorry

    Thekla
     
    Ivan Weiss
    Posts: 179
    Location: Vashon WA, near Seattle and Tacoma
    • Likes 1
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    I have plenty of bindweed. I don't worry about it much. I just pull it wherever I see it, throw it in a garbage can with the rest of the "weeds," and feed it to my cattle. They love it, and will attack it before they eat anything else -- even the comfrey, which they don't leave any of either.

    Watching them eat it is a hoot. They slurp it like spaghetti. I have seen a full-grown steer grab a clump of bindweed big enough to half-fill a 33-gallon garbage can, and down the whole thing. I have searched in vain online for any article that might tell me what nutritive or therapeutic value bindweed might have for cattle, but have drawn a blank. If anyone can point me to it, I would be grateful. All I know is that they love the stuff, and will eat all I can give them, even in the presence of other fodder.

    I get that most people who might read this probably are not feeding cattle. But for whoever is, I hope this is helpful.

     
    R Scott
    Posts: 3351
    Location: Kansas Zone 6a
    32
    • Likes 1
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Kudzu of the north...
     
    BWA HA HA HA HA HA HA! Tiny ad:
    FT Position Available: Affiliate Manager Who Loves Permaculture & Homesteading
    https://permies.com/t/69742/FT-Position-Affiliate-Manager-Loves
    • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
    • New Topic
    Boost this thread!