Friday, August 22, 2008

Cancer of the Lawn—Wild Morning Glory

I have been waging a small war on the wild morning glory that is rampant in our little garden plot and is threatening to take over the lawn. I remember one morning looking out at the little white/pink flowers dotting about ¼ of our back lawn thinking that it would take two of us about an hour to get rid of it. What. a. laugh. We worked for 2 ½ hours and we cleared about half of it. The problem is that it sneaks along the ground down under the taller grass or will crawl up fences or tomato plants or other taller plants. The twisting taproot can extend down as far as 15 feet so it can survive the winter very nicely.

I found out that its real name is Convolvulus arvensis or field bindweed. I was listening to a garden talk-show on the radio where people can call in with their gardening questions. The listener asked about the best way to get rid of the bindweed in their yard. The one-word answer to this question was to MOVE.

The second option for getting rid of it was to “discourage” it. This means keep getting rid as much of the plant on top of the ground as you can. The objective is to make the vine draw on the nutrients from the taproot until it has dissipated all its energy. Oh, yes, and don’t forget that you can’t just throw these weeds to the side of the garden. Oh no, you don’t want to do that because they will just take root again—this is a very hardy, opportunistic weed. I can go out and gather half a plastic bagful of weed in about five-minutes time—and not move from the spot I’m working on. My knees don’t take kindly to kneeling much anymore, so I have to bend over or for more extended lengths of time I have to just sit on the lawn to do my weeding. It is a very daunting task for one person, so I just do what I can.

I don’t know if it is my imagination or not, but I have noticed more and more lawns and yards sporting this particularly vicious weed. Our community had a parade as part of the Fourth of July celebration. I couldn’t help noticing that the lawn where we were stationed to view the parade was almost totally taken over by the bindweed. It had smothered most of the lawn which is now almost totally bindweed.

Hmmmmm! Maybe we ought to let Convolvulus arvensis take over, then we wouldn’t have to mow or water or worry and we would still have some sort of ground cover. This is just a thought. The old “if you can’t lick ‘em, join ‘em” philosophy.


Annemarie Allen said...

Very funny. :) We just might have to do that anyway due to water shortages and such. Down in St. George they use rocks and cactus to beautify their lawns, so maybe the bindweed could be in place of rocks.

LeaAnne said...

Here in Oregon we have a crazy amount of the little beauty! I just let the kids pick as much as they want... :)