Converting existing garden/advice vs Bindweed:

Community Community No dig gardening Preparing the ground Converting existing garden/advice vs Bindweed:

This topic contains 5 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Cleansweep 4 years, 10 months ago.

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    I appreciate this is a rather broad set of topics but this seemed the most applicable forum for the bulk of it. I also apologise if this is all things answered elsewhere, I’m just suffering from a bit of information overload after researching different approaches lately, so again sorry.

    I’ve been investigating various ways to help recover our garden which has been rather neglected the past few years.

    We are on heavy clay (as in, may as well be concrete heavy) so generally we need to loosen the soil up a lot in order to achieve anything. However there is currently a mass of Bindweed spreading all over (the other reason I want to get it sorted out now, before it kills anything else).

    As it is so hard to dig the clay, and as everything I’ve read says trying to dig out the bindweed will only make it worse, the concept of ‘no dig’ is obviously interesting.

    However the problems are several:

    Firstly we have a lot of existing plants we absolutely want to keep, and in fact do not want to touch at all as they are very important to us, so moving them even temporarily is out of the question. How would that affect this procedure and/or how would we work around the exisiting plants? (to give an idea – Fuchsias, Pyracantha, Roses, Phlox, Ice plant).

    Secondly, the bulk of the bindweed is over what used to be the grass, which due to not being dug over as much as the flower beds is the toughest of the clay. As this is in the middle of the garden we don’t really want to make a ‘raised bed’ in the middle. Would it be possible to apply some of the technique of ‘no dig’ to improve the soil/help push back and/or remove the bindweed without ending up with a raised bed?

    Finally, if we were to pursue this root, should we attempt to dig out the bindweed before proceeding, or simply chop it off at ground level and start mulching? Also if we do go this root, how long would we need to wait before thinking about planting/sowing things we actually want in this area? I do appreiciate that it would be an on-going battle against the Bindweed to constantly pull out the shoots as they appear, I just would really like to avoid weedkiller (the most common advice I’ve gotten for it) as I frankly do not like the idea of it at all.

    Thanks for any advice more experienced people can provide.



    No need to dig.
    Thick cardboard fitted snugly around your ornamental plants will start you off, overlap edges of card pieces by 6in 15cm, the a little compost on top to weigh it doen.
    Keep puling any bindweed you see near the plants.
    Lay more card next April, same.



    Thanks for the reply.

    Would any old cardboard do so long as it’s thick? (e.g old packaging etc?)

    Presumably we should leave the area bare whilst doing this since we aren’t going for the ‘raised bed’ aspect and since anything sown over the top will probably only slow down the subsistence of the compost into the clay whilst making it harder to spot the Bindweed shoots?



    What do you now have for “what used to be the grass”, because continual mowing is an established method of weakening plants. Do you mean that it was once grass and has now been infiltrated by tall bindweed or do you mean you’ve removed the grass for something else?

    Yes, you can use packaging. Brown for preference.



    Basically there is a large patch right in the middle of the garden (surrounded by 3 beds and a path) which was at one point the lawn. However for various reasons it deteriorated over the years, and ‘dig it up and re-sow the lawn’ was added on to the list of things ‘to do at some point’ which of course never actually happened.

    In the meantime a lot of it has died off, partly due to neglect, partly due to Bindweed, partly due to past efforts at removing Bindweed. As it currently stands it is a predominantly bare patch of ground with a handful of shoots of grass and bindweed scattered across it, with one end much more grassy, but also choking with the bulk of the bindweed.

    Personally I’d like to at the very least, reduce the size of any hypothetical future lawn anyway to make more room for flowering/leafy plants but that’s another debate entirely.



    Really there is no conflict in how you enjoy the space once its reclaimed. As suggested above, I would mow it often, as short as the terrain allows. Apply cardboard boxes opened flat as Charles relates and cover with a compost that is free from weedseeds and grass. Achieve a flat surface and, once you are ready (and weed free), lay out your planting areas, whether for veg, flowers and even lawn. A lawn benefits tremendously from a thin (2-3mm) layer of fine compost , brushed in with a besom. Your lawn- dwelling worms will love you!

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