How can I get rid of the bindweed taking over my garden? —Jack Black, Fort Scott, KS
Bindweed is tough to get rid of once it’s established. It spreads by underground rhizomes, so when you pull out large chunks of the weed, it starts again from bits of root left in the soil. This means you need to keep working at it, pulling it up repeatedly. (Think of it as your new hobby!)
You can also cut the stems at ground level, causing the vines wrapped around your plants to wither. Then use a spot application of a non-selective herbicide such as Roundup on the stubs and any new sprouts. The chemical will move into the roots and rhizomes, eventually killing them.
If you keep at it, eventually you’ll get the upper hand. Unfortunately, your bindweed has already dropped seeds into the garden, so they’ll continue to come back. The trick is to be vigilant and get rid of young seedlings before they send out rhizomes. As soon as they’re a few inches tall, slice them off at ground level with a sharp hoe or pull them out of the ground.