Field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis) is a vine-like perennial that is native to Asia and Europe. This invasive weed is a serious problem in many parts of the world, including Canada and the United States. Used at first as an ornamental ground cover, it didn’t take native populations long to note that this pretty flowering plant was nothing more than a pretty flowering weed.
The pretty trumpet-shaped flowers and arrow-shaped leaves make this an easy plant to identify. Mature bindweed plants spread out about 10 feet a year. The vines grow along the ground and will grow up any object in its path. Every few feet, the vine will grow downward, producing new shoots from that location.
Field bindweed flowers usually grow singly, but occasionally might grow as pairs or triplets. The flower stalks are roughly an inch long and have half-inch bracts on them. The flowers are tiny, around an inch across, and have five pink or white petals that are fused together along their edges. Petals often have dark pink lines on them.
The damage from these weeds is not only from the ground cover – which becomes tangles with everything in its path but from the roots as well. These plants allow light to get through to the soil; this is a bad thing because the roots can grow to great depths – sometimes up to 20 feet – making them extremely hard to eradicate. The root system is less than 3 feet deep, and the weed can produce new shoots about every 6 weeks. Within months this plant – both above and below the ground – can grow 10 feet in every direction, making it quite a nuisance. This root system steals both water and nutrients from other plants, causing a lot of crop damage (and total loss of crops) in fields around the world. For most people, the hiring of a reputable lawn care service that offers a weed control program will keep this weed off your turf.