This is the time of year when my family's garden looks the cleanest-right after a complete spring weeding and pruning session and topped off with a nice fresh layer of compost. If only it would last...
Underneath this pleasant exterior lurks a devilish invader-bindweed. I can't remember a time when this weed was not plaguing the garden with its tricky vines and deep roots.
I've decided that we're pretty much stuck with it, but I do manage to control it by pulling it out wherever I see it. Unless you want to dig up your entire bed, you better get used to it like an annoying neighbor you'd love to see pack up and move the heck away.
There's lots of advice out there, but there is no magic cure. The best and most realistic way to deal with invasive species is to control them and limit their damage. I use my hori hori or a garden fork and just pull it out when I see it. I know that this can break it up and start new baby demon sprouts but it also can weaken the entire plant and slow its growth.
Some gardeners simply snip it down the ground (in an effort to weaken the plant) whenever you see it pushing out of the ground. I've tried this and it works as long as you can do this practically constantly. You can spray it with Round up but you have to wait until it's flowering and I just can't let it sit around that long, taunting and teasing me with its tendrils.
The good news is that after about eight years of ripping it out it does seem to have slowed (or at least it has in my imagination). At the very least, it's not gotten worse-which in my world-I consider a success!