By Martha Kirk, Colorado Master Gardener
Most gardeners have encountered (and cursed) field bindweed, the tenacious twining vine that strangles any nearby plant. Bindweed is a perennial weed and spreads by seed and an extensive root system. Each piece of root forms a new plant. Each plant can produce up to 500 seeds. Seeds can remain viable in the soil for 40 years, and roots can go 20 feet deep. It’s best to keep it in check by consistently pulling/cutting at the base and doing this before it forms a flower, at about five leaves long. Persistence is key. Over time, this stresses the plant and can reduce food reserves. Herbicides are another option, but best applied in the fall. The gall bindweed mite is an option for non-irrigated areas.