How Do I Manage Field Bindweed?

Field bindweed

“Can you tell me what this is and how to kill it? I thought I dug it out already, but it keeps coming back. Its roots run really deep.” -Question from Natalie of Oregon

ANSWER: Sadly, your garden has a field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis) infestation. This is one of the most notoriously difficult perennial weeds to remove. The vine tightly twines up anything, producing little white flowers that look like tiny morning glories and produce lots of seeds.

Its fast-spreading white-rooted runners spread deep and wide, making them a challenge to dig and collect, especially when they become intertwined with the roots of your shrubs and perennials. Here is the three-stage approach I take to kill it. (BTY, weed killers won’t touch this weed, so put them away!)

  1. Dig out as much of the root system as possible, and remove any vining stems that may have seed developing. When digging white underground runners, gently loosen the soil around each with a trowel, following each until it is fully removed. If you keep even a small piece in the ground, it will re-root and grow. This can be a challenge when working around your garden plants, but be diligent. In some cases, you may have to dig up perennials, remove the bindweed roots from their base, and replant them. Keep watch for any new bindweed shoots that appear and dig them out immediately.
  2. To keep underground stems from returning in really infested areas, cover the area with mulch cloth and mulch it over. After a season, all parts should be smothered, and you can pull up the mulch cloth and resume gardening as usual.
  3. Keep an eye out for nearby bindweed outside of your yard, and at best try to keep it from flowering and moving back into your yard. Talk to your neighbors, if need be.

Good luck!

Jessie Keith



Plants are the lens Jessie views the world through because they’re all-sustaining. (“They feed, clothe, house and heal us. They produce the air we breathe and even make us smell pretty.”) She’s a garden writer and photographer with degrees in both horticulture and plant biology from Purdue and Michigan State Universities. Her degrees were bolstered by internships at Longwood Gardens and the American Horticultural Society. She has since worked for many horticultural institutions and companies and now manages communications for Sun Gro Horticulture, the parent company of Black Gold. Her joy is sharing all things green and lovely with her two daughters.

Leave a Reply

Content Disclaimer:

This site may contain content (including images and articles) as well as advice, opinions and statements presented by third parties. Sun Gro does not review these materials for accuracy or reliability and does not endorse the advice, opinions, or statements that may be contained in them. Sun Gro also does not review the materials to determine if they infringe the copyright or other rights of others. These materials are available only for informational purposes and are presented “as is” without warranty of any kind, express or implied, including without limitation warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, and non-infringement. Reliance upon any such opinion, advice, statement or other information is at your own risk. In no event shall Sun Gro Horticulture Distribution, Inc. or any of its affiliates be liable to you for any inaccuracy, error, omission, fact, infringement and the like, resulting from your use of these materials, regardless of cause, or for any damages resulting there from.