Bindweed, Field

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Pest Information
Common Name: Bindweed, Field
Family Name: Convolvulaceae
Latin Name: Convolvulus arvensis L.
Provincial Designation: Noxious
Life Cycle: Perennial
Mode of Spread: Seed, Vegetative

Detailed Information
Provincial Situation: Cultivated and non-cultivated land in southern Alberta
Description: Field bindweed is a long-lived, persistent perennial, which spread rapidly from extensive creeping roots as well as from seeds. It is a vine-like plant and will twine about the other plants with which it comes into contact. Leaves are arrow shaped, have rounded tip, and are 3.75 to 5 cm long and about 2 cm wide. Flowers are bell shaped; pink when they first open and may later turn white.
Growth and Development (Life Cycle):
  • Emergence: Seeds of field bindweed germinate throughout the growing season, with peak germination in late spring. Shoot growth begins when day temperatures are near 14 C and night temperatures are at least 2 C.
  • Seed Production: Seed production varies depending on environmental conditions, ranging from 25 to 560 seeds produced per plant.
  • Seed germination: Seed germinate in the fall and spring. Once the seed coat is weakened, seed will germinate at temperatures of 8° to 30°c.
  • Dormancy: Seeds of field bindweed have a long dormancy and may last in soil for up to 60 years.
  • Longevity in the soil: Seeds retains viability in the soil for up to 60 years
  • Dispersal: Seeds generally fall near the parent plant but can be dispersed by animals, by water as contaminant of seed crops.
Where it Grows (Habitat & Ecology): Field bindweed is found in both irrigated and dry land crops, grassland, and non-crop areas of Southern Alberta. It prefers Brown and Dark Brown soils, generally growing in well-drained portion of the fields
Reproduction (Dispersal): Field bindweed is a long-lived, persistent perennial, which spread from an extensive rootstock as well as from seed. Seeds have a hard seed coat and can survive in the soils for up to 60 years. The root system consists of taproot, which quickly develops lateral roots. Small fragments of roots and rhizomes are capable of forming new plants. Lateral roots serve another important function. At about 15 to 30 inches from the parent plant, a lateral often turns downward, becoming a secondary vertical root, and sends out both roots and shoots from the turning point. By this means a single field bindweed plant can spread radially more than 10 feet in a growing season. This extensive underground network allows for over wintering without foliage, and it can persist for many years in the soil.
Economic Importance (Beneficial Aspects): Detrimental:
Field bindweed reduces crop yield, increases cost of field operations and thus the production cost.
Origin: Europe
  • Flowering timing: Field bindweed flowers from early July until freeze up
  • Flower color: Pink when they first open and may later turn white.
Yield Losses: Field bindweed is a strong competitor for moisture. Heavy infestation have been known to reduce crop yield by 30-50%
How to Control: Integrated weed management: Field bindweed is very difficult to control. High seed production, long-lived seed banks, and the ability to regenerate from root fragments make control difficult.

Tillage:Cultivation has some success in reducing established stands of field bindweed, however, tillage does not fit in reduced tillage systems as it promotes soil erosion.

Crop rotation: Rotations should include competitive plants such as fall rye, winter wheat, alfalfa, and crested wheatgrass. Do not use forages for pasture when weed is confined to isolated patches because grazing cause weed to spread.

Seed early: Earlier sown crops usually result in competitive stand establishment and a jump-start on the field bindweed.

Use certified seed: - Purchase and plant certified seed

Mowing: Mow the field bindweed patches before they set seed. However, prostrate plants generally escape cutting.

Chemical control: Herbicides have relative effective for the control/suppression of field bindweed (Table 1)

Biological control: Two biological control agents (Bindweed mite: Aceria malherbae and European moth: Tyta luctuos) are available in the United States and Canada, but to-date there are no recommendations to use these agents for biological control.

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Last Modified: November 29, 2011

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