Monday 5 August 2013

The return of the bindweed (Week 18, Monday)

I wrote extensively about bindweed and my experiment to see how long it would take for it to regrow, once carefully dug out from as deep as possible in the entrails of the earth...

In any case, here is a photographic summary from the first week of June, when I carried out the clearance - it took more or less a full time work day over two days, which is a considerable investment of time but...

The size of the roots

Day 1 start
Day 1 end
Day 2 start
Day 2 end

... I have since kept an eye on the Pyracantha and nothing much has happened, until this week, exactly two months later! There is a handful of bindweed out, with weak, slender roots, most often attached to a fragment of rhizome I forgot in the ground (you know because it's bigger). It took me only an hour or so to get rid of it today (I spent the rest of the day doing general weeding).

Size of the roots
Size of the patch
... and it's gone again!
The Pyracantha does not show any signs of suffering at all from my digging around it, the weed has been at least weakened, which is what you would expect from the first go at it. The amount of time spent on it seems eminently reasonable over the two months, with the advantage of no extra side effects, intended or notexpected or unexpected ,  from the use of chemicals.

I was so wowed when I realised it was a full two months since the weed had first been cleared. I was expecting that a good job would have a good result, but not this good. The dry weather conditions are likely to have slowed down the recovery of the bindweed, but still...

Pest at work on the bindweed

By the way, it looks like some kind of pest feeding on the bindweed, which will weaken it further: isn't nature great? I think this is one of the major pluses of working with it rather than against it (to use a convenient phrase, although not perfect), allowing an ecosystem to form that balances itself and mitigates problems.

Rather unfortunately, however, I do not have a control sample to my trial - you know, like proper controlled scientific experiments work, with a sample of the status-quo to compare the novel results with. In fact, the bindweed on the canes that I showed in my previous blog post was never sprayed. They were pulled out. Well, too bad. 

I still think this is an achievement for the cultural method over the chemical, and has to be celebrated.


In the last two months, from observation and personal experience, I have also developed a theory of weeding that goes: the size of a patch of weeds is inversely proportional to the weeder's will to tackle it at the time...

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