How to Kill Bindweed


Bindweed can quickly become a frustrating and invasive weed in your garden. Its twining vines can smother plants and take over large areas if left unchecked.

If you're dealing with bindweed and looking for effective ways to eliminate it, you've come to the right place.

Key things to consider:

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How to Identify Bindweed

Identifying Bindweed is usually quite simple.

To prevent bindweed from taking hold of your garden, it's important to identify and remove it quickly. You can spot it by its climbing tendrils, white flowers, and small, pointy fruits.

It is also important to keep an eye out for the arrow-shaped leaves, as these are indicators of bindweed growth. It typically has two arrow-shaped leaves followed by a white, funnel-shaped flower with five petals.

Once you have identified Bindweed, it is time to take action.

Manual Removal

One of the first steps in controlling bindweed is to physically remove as much of the weed as possible. This can be a tedious process, but it's a crucial step in reducing the population of bindweed in your garden.

Follow these steps for effective manual removal:

  1. Carefully dig up the plants by hand, making sure to remove the entire root system. Bindweed has an extensive root system that can regenerate from even small fragments left in the soil.
  2. Regularly monitor your garden for new bindweed growth and promptly remove any new plants.
  3. Do not compost bindweed, as its seeds can remain viable even through the composting process.


Smothering bindweed is another effective method to control its growth. This method involves depriving the weed of sunlight and oxygen, effectively killing it.

Consider the following smothering techniques:

  • Cover the affected area with thick layers of mulch, such as cardboard, newspaper, grass clippings or black plastic. This deprives the bindweed of light and prevents it from photosynthesizing.
  • Use landscape fabric or weed barrier to block out sunlight and prevent bindweed from sprouting through the soil.
  • Regularly inspect the covered area to ensure that bindweed shoots are not finding ways to penetrate the covering.

Natural Herbicides

If you prefer a more natural approach to killing bindweed, there are a few herbicides derived from natural sources that can help but be warned they are much less effective than a proper commercial weed killer

Here are a couple of options:

  • Vinegar: Spray undiluted white vinegar directly onto bindweed leaves on a sunny day. The acetic acid in vinegar can disrupt the plant's cell membranes, leading to its demise. Take care not to spray vinegar on desirable plants, as it can also damage them.
  • Boiling water: Pour boiling water over bindweed plants to scorch and kill them. This method is most effective when repeated over several weeks to fully weaken the weed.

Chemical Herbicides

For long-lasting control and eradication of bindweed, chemical herbicides are the most effective and least time consuming option. It's important to choose a herbicide that specifically targets bindweed while being safe for surrounding plants.

Glyphosate-based herbicides are commonly recommended for bindweed control.

Consider the following tips:

  • Select a glyphosate-based herbicide and follow the instructions on the label carefully.
  • Apply the herbicide directly to bindweed foliage, ensuring complete coverage.
  • Repeat applications may be necessary, as bindweed can be persistent and may require multiple treatments to fully eliminate.

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Long-Term Bindweed Control

To achieve long-term control over bindweed, it's often best to take an integrated approach that combines multiple methods. By utilizing a mix of techniques, you can maximize the effectiveness of bindweed control. Consider the following integrated approach:

  • Manual removal: Start by physically removing as much bindweed as possible, focusing on eliminating flowering and seeding plants.
  • Smothering: Use smothering methods, such as covering the affected area with mulch or landscape fabric, to suppress re-emergence and prevent bindweed from accessing sunlight.
  • Chemical herbicides: Apply selective herbicides like glyphosate to kill remaining bindweed and target the root system for long-term control. Follow the product instructions carefully and reapply as necessary.
  • Preventive measures: After initial control, implement preventive measures to prevent bindweed from re-establishing itself. Regularly monitor your garden for new bindweed shoots and promptly remove them to prevent re-infestation.

Remember, an integrated approach provides the best chance of successfully killing bindweed and preventing its return. Monitoring your garden regularly for any signs of bindweed regrowth is essential to catch and address any new plants before they have a chance to establish themselves.

By considering the severity of infestation, environmental factors, suitability, and persistence of control methods, you can make an informed decision on the most appropriate approach.

Ultimately, perseverance and consistent implementation of control measures will lead to successful bindweed management in your garden.

Frequently Asked Questions about Killing Bindweed

1. Does pulling up bindweed kill it?

Pulling up bindweed can be effective in reducing its population, but it may not kill the plant entirely.

Bindweed has an extensive root system that can regenerate from small fragments left in the soil. To increase the chances of killing bindweed through manual removal, make sure to remove the entire root system and follow up with other control methods, such as smothering or herbicide application.

2. Can I use vinegar to kill bindweed?

Yes, vinegar can be used as a natural herbicide to kill bindweed. The acetic acid in vinegar disrupts the plant's cell membranes, leading to its demise.

However, it's important to note that vinegar will be much less effective than a chemical herbicide it can also harm desirable plants, so be careful when applying it.

Directly spray undiluted white vinegar onto bindweed leaves on a sunny day for best results.

3. Will covering bindweed with a tarp kill it?

Covering bindweed with a tarp or any light-blocking material can be an effective smothering method. By depriving bindweed of sunlight, you can weaken and eventually kill the plants.

It's important to regularly monitor the covered area to ensure that bindweed shoots are not finding ways to penetrate the covering. Vigilance and persistence are key.

4. Can I use a weed torch to kill bindweed?

While a weed torch can be used to quickly kill some weeds, it may not be effective in completely eradicating bindweed. Bindweed has an extensive root system that can withstand heat.

The best approach is to combine manual removal with other control methods, such as smothering or applying herbicides, for more thorough results.

5. How long does it take to kill bindweed?

Eliminating bindweed from your garden can take time and persistence. The duration depends on several factors, such as the size and extent of the infestation, the effectiveness of control methods used, and the consistency of application.

It may take several seasons of dedicated efforts to fully eradicate bindweed and prevent its regrowth. Remember to stay patient and consistent in your approach.

6. Can I prevent bindweed from coming back?

Preventing bindweed from coming back requires ongoing efforts. Maintain a healthy and dense garden by cultivating desired plants that can outcompete bindweed for resources.

Regularly monitor your garden for any bindweed shoots or seedlings and remove them promptly. Mulching garden beds can suppress weed growth and prevent bindweed from establishing itself.

Consistency in monitoring and control measures is key to preventing bindweed from returning.

About the author 


Hey there, I am founder and editor in chief here at Good Grow. I guess I've always known I was going to be a gardener. I'm on a mission to share my UK based weed control & lawn care tips with you all. If you have any queries please post in the comments below.

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