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biological control for bindweed!

 
paul wheaton
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I just read this on a mailing list ... controlling bindweed with bugs that think only bindweed is yummy!:

There are two insects that are used in the Great Plains: the bindweed moth
(Tyta luctuosa) was released in Arizona, Iowa, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas
and the bindweed gall mite (Aceria malherbae) was released in Texas.
 
                    
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Farmers have successfully used sequences of plantings to manage bindweed. One sequence is rye and vetch, planted in the fall and disked or hoed down in late spring, followed by buckwheat or oats with peas, disked or hoed down in late summer. The final step repeats the rye and vetch. The next spring, the land is ready for growing vegetables.( According to the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service, farmers have also used pumpkins and sunflowers to out-compete bindweed.( One farmer reported no bindweed problems for nine years after his bindweed was “shaded and strangled by the pumpkins.”( Alfalfa, legumes, and corn have also reduced bindweed infestations.5 Small-scale versions of these strategies can be used in a home garden.
-Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides; website also lists about 6 other ways to control bindweed

 
paul wheaton
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How did that work?  How did those things beat bindweed?  I am soooo confused!
 
rachael hamblin
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Where are bindweed, the bindweed moth, and the bindweed gall mite originally from?  Have there been any inklings of possibly unbalancing ecosystems in other ways by releasing these insects?
 
paul wheaton
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rachael hamblin wrote:
Where are bindweed, the bindweed moth, and the bindweed gall mite originally from?  Have there been any inklings of possibly unbalancing ecosystems in other ways by releasing these insects?


I know that there are five insects introduced to help control knapweed and the controls about bringing them into the country seemed pretty intense.    So I suspect that if you can openly buy them, they have been shown to not cause any big disasters.

 
paul wheaton
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I was looking for something else and stumbled across this.  I wonder how these bugs are working out?

 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Apparently they're a threatened species in England:

http://www.ukbap.org.uk/UKPlans.aspx?ID=623

Wouldn't it be ironic if they became extinct in their native range right as they became an invasive species in the US?

It seems one of the major threats is "mismanagement of grassland," so I guess I'm glad pumpkins hadn't quite choked out all the bindweed in the British Isles before we had a chance to introduce this moth here.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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I just read that Mexican marigolds are allelopathic to bindweed (but also beans and cabbage...perhaps a small price to pay).
 
Pat Black
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Location: Northern New Mexico, USA
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paul wheaton wrote:
I was looking for something else and stumbled across this.  I wonder how these bugs are working out?


I have spoken with two farmers here who have tried the bindweed mite and are unimpressed. You get strands of bindweed in a cooler from your extension agent. You take it home and wind the mite infested bindweed in among your bindweed. the mites migrate from the dying strand to the living strands.

I find that vinegar kills the tops just fine, but not the roots. It quickly resprouts.
 
Travis Philp
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I read a study somewhere that used a three year rotation of pumpkins to rid an area of bindweed.

If treated right and planted at the right time and spacing, the pumpkin outcompetes and overwhelms the bindweed. It also exudes a root chemical that is aelopathic to the bindweed
 
Pat Maas
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Location: McIntosh, NM
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The best I've been able to do with bindweed in my plantings is a continual deep mulching and pulling the few that come up by hand.

I've seen bindweed in pumpkin fields here in the Estancia Valley and generally speaking you will find it on the edges of fields or where the pumpkins/squash aren't so thick. Heavy in the areas where tail water goes to in open irrigation.

Have also used multiple species of livestock and poultry in non tree areas- then sheet mulched and that has seemed to work also. The poultry and then pigs in successive rotations seemed to work well, at least here.

Until the soil gets a little better healed many crops get mowed down by grasshoppers come July and it's a cycle that's getting better, but the reason behind multiple plantings not quite ready to work here. Also the reason for more tree crops as the little buggers generally leave the trees alone.
 
gary gregory
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Location: northern california, 50 miles inland from Mendocino, zone 7
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We have bindweed here in some of our pastures.  When the goats are turned out into a new pasture they seem to eat the bindweed first, its one of their favorites if there is no brush around. 
 
paul wheaton
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I wonder if those pumpkins and marigolds go after anything besides the bindweed.

 
Pat Maas
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Hi Paul,
    It seems the hoppers leave the pumpkins and marigolds alone.
 
Nicole Alderman
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I was reading in another thread (http://www.permies.com/t/52365/plants/Plants-Autonomy#424337) about Cinnamon Vine/Chinese Mountain Yam, and how it likes to spread and take over (http://mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/chinese-yam). I've seen some people say that they've gotten rid of their morning glory by out-competing it with sweet potatoes, or pumpkins, but we're a little cold for the former, and squash plants currently don't like to grow for me. Buuuuut, the Chinese Yam is hardy, vigorous, likes the wet conditions I have, and it's edible.

I'm not quite sure if I'd want to try growing it too close to our protected wetlands (where our bindweed is), but I thought someone else might be interested in trying it!

DIE BINDWEED, DIE!!! (Of course, please feel no pressure to kill your bindweed you love it, but mine can DIE!!! )
 
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