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biological control for bindweed!

 
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I just read this on a mailing list ... controlling bindweed with bugs that think only bindweed is yummy!:

There are two insects that are used in the Great Plains: the bindweed moth
(Tyta luctuosa) was released in Arizona, Iowa, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas
and the bindweed gall mite (Aceria malherbae) was released in Texas.
 
                    
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Farmers have successfully used sequences of plantings to manage bindweed. One sequence is rye and vetch, planted in the fall and disked or hoed down in late spring, followed by buckwheat or oats with peas, disked or hoed down in late summer. The final step repeats the rye and vetch. The next spring, the land is ready for growing vegetables.( According to the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service, farmers have also used pumpkins and sunflowers to out-compete bindweed.( One farmer reported no bindweed problems for nine years after his bindweed was “shaded and strangled by the pumpkins.”( Alfalfa, legumes, and corn have also reduced bindweed infestations.5 Small-scale versions of these strategies can be used in a home garden.
-Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides; website also lists about 6 other ways to control bindweed

 
paul wheaton
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How did that work?  How did those things beat bindweed?  I am soooo confused!
 
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Where are bindweed, the bindweed moth, and the bindweed gall mite originally from?  Have there been any inklings of possibly unbalancing ecosystems in other ways by releasing these insects?
 
paul wheaton
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rachael hamblin wrote:
Where are bindweed, the bindweed moth, and the bindweed gall mite originally from?  Have there been any inklings of possibly unbalancing ecosystems in other ways by releasing these insects?



I know that there are five insects introduced to help control knapweed and the controls about bringing them into the country seemed pretty intense.    So I suspect that if you can openly buy them, they have been shown to not cause any big disasters.

 
paul wheaton
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I was looking for something else and stumbled across this.  I wonder how these bugs are working out?

 
pollinator
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Apparently they're a threatened species in England:

http://www.ukbap.org.uk/UKPlans.aspx?ID=623

Wouldn't it be ironic if they became extinct in their native range right as they became an invasive species in the US?

It seems one of the major threats is "mismanagement of grassland," so I guess I'm glad pumpkins hadn't quite choked out all the bindweed in the British Isles before we had a chance to introduce this moth here.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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I just read that Mexican marigolds are allelopathic to bindweed (but also beans and cabbage...perhaps a small price to pay).
 
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paul wheaton wrote:
I was looking for something else and stumbled across this.  I wonder how these bugs are working out?



I have spoken with two farmers here who have tried the bindweed mite and are unimpressed. You get strands of bindweed in a cooler from your extension agent. You take it home and wind the mite infested bindweed in among your bindweed. the mites migrate from the dying strand to the living strands.

I find that vinegar kills the tops just fine, but not the roots. It quickly resprouts.
 
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I read a study somewhere that used a three year rotation of pumpkins to rid an area of bindweed.

If treated right and planted at the right time and spacing, the pumpkin outcompetes and overwhelms the bindweed. It also exudes a root chemical that is aelopathic to the bindweed
 
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Location: McIntosh, NM
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The best I've been able to do with bindweed in my plantings is a continual deep mulching and pulling the few that come up by hand.

I've seen bindweed in pumpkin fields here in the Estancia Valley and generally speaking you will find it on the edges of fields or where the pumpkins/squash aren't so thick. Heavy in the areas where tail water goes to in open irrigation.

Have also used multiple species of livestock and poultry in non tree areas- then sheet mulched and that has seemed to work also. The poultry and then pigs in successive rotations seemed to work well, at least here.

Until the soil gets a little better healed many crops get mowed down by grasshoppers come July and it's a cycle that's getting better, but the reason behind multiple plantings not quite ready to work here. Also the reason for more tree crops as the little buggers generally leave the trees alone.
 
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Location: northern california, 50 miles inland from Mendocino, zone 7
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We have bindweed here in some of our pastures.  When the goats are turned out into a new pasture they seem to eat the bindweed first, its one of their favorites if there is no brush around. 
 
paul wheaton
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I wonder if those pumpkins and marigolds go after anything besides the bindweed.

 
Pat Maas
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Hi Paul,
    It seems the hoppers leave the pumpkins and marigolds alone.
 
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I was reading in another thread (https://permies.com/t/52365/plants/Plants-Autonomy#424337) about Cinnamon Vine/Chinese Mountain Yam, and how it likes to spread and take over (http://mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/chinese-yam). I've seen some people say that they've gotten rid of their morning glory by out-competing it with sweet potatoes, or pumpkins, but we're a little cold for the former, and squash plants currently don't like to grow for me. Buuuuut, the Chinese Yam is hardy, vigorous, likes the wet conditions I have, and it's edible.

I'm not quite sure if I'd want to try growing it too close to our protected wetlands (where our bindweed is), but I thought someone else might be interested in trying it!

DIE BINDWEED, DIE!!! (Of course, please feel no pressure to kill your bindweed you love it, but mine can DIE!!! )
 
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Maybe you dont have too many bindwinds but not enough goat and sheep?
and for humour.... not enough liking of pink color!
 
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Last year my bindweed got the creeping crud -- developed holes in the leaves and little black spots, then after a few days the whole plant would turn brown and crunchy, and pretty soon all of it that wasn't climbing on tall grass had died (and much did not come back this year, either).

After some consultation with the county  extension agent, we determined that the 'culprit' was golden tortoise beetles. (Two different species.) These look like little gold ladybugs. One species is very shy and freaks out if it sees sunlight; the other doesn't care.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charidotella_sexpunctata

A nice closeup:
https://www.insectidentification.org/insect-description.asp?identification=Golden-Tortoise-Beetle

I don't have domestic morning glory or sweet potatoes, so if they're going to kill bindweed, the more the merrier!

And I hate pink.
 
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I have seen a few of those golden dudes. They can have all the bindweed they want.

Meanwhile, the seeds go in the rot barrel.

But I just used a few sections of vine to bind up holes in the ratty (recycled) plastic that's greenhousing a few tomato plants. Worked fine; if it has a little brown, it even takes a knot.
 
Rez Zircon
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I never lack for twine, but that does sound like a good use for bindweed... occurs to me to wonder if it might be used to make a fine-textured weaving, like fine rattan. Of course it probably wouldn't have much strength after it dries, but it's fun to think that the durn stuff can be useful.
 
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Bindweed is a low calcium indicator. I would prescribe a mulberry pollard chop n' drop regime for bindweed. Dandelions, burdock and buckwheat would be nice additions. Then run chickens under, return the eggshells... you'll get the calcium cycle going pretty fast.
 
Nicole Alderman
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I've noticed that running ducks in an area where they poop out--and spill--a lot of their eggshells/oyster shells, there's no more buttercup. It did take a few years. Hopefully the calcium from the chickens will do the same in their yard (where the bindweed is). They haven't been interested in eating the bindweed, and so there hasn't been any change in their yard after a year of having them there. Maybe next year, though!
 
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I was always told that buttercup in a field meant it needed lime. but we have a pH of 8.5 we have 30cm of soil over solid chalk and we have masses of buttercup! No bindweed fortunately.
 
Myron Platte
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Nicole Alderman wrote:I've noticed that running ducks in an area where they poop out--and spill--a lot of their eggshells/oyster shells, there's no more buttercup. It did take a few years. Hopefully the calcium from the chickens will do the same in their yard (where the bindweed is). They haven't been interested in eating the bindweed, and so there hasn't been any change in their yard after a year of having them there. Maybe next year, though!


A calcium miner like mulberry is important, IMO. Those fungi exchanges...
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