Field bindweed (creeping jenny) is a member of the morning glory family. It is a native of Europe and western Asia and was introduced to this country during colonial days when it was referred to as devilgut. Field bindweed is found in both cropland and pasture and rangeland in North Dakota. Field bindweed has a deep root system that competes with crop plants for water and nutrients. Vines climb on plants and shade crops, cause lodging of small grains and make harvesting difficult by clogging machinery. Dense field bindweed infestations may reduce crop yields by 50 to 60 percent. Land infested with field bindweed is reduced in value.
Field bindweed is a long-lived perennial that produces a dense ground cover. The twining stems vary from 1.5 to 6 feet or more in length. Leaf size and shape are variable, but generally the leaves are 1 to 2 inches long. smooth and shaped like an arrowhead. Flowers are funnel-shaped, about 1 inch in diameter and white or pink in color.
Roots of established plants may extend 20 to 30 feet laterally and may be up to 30 feet deep. Buds along the root system can send up shoots that start new plants. The root system contains a large quantity of carbohydrates that provide energy for both above- and below- ground plant growth. Buds located all along the root can send up new shoots or establish a new patch when roots are cut and moved.
Seeds vary from dark to brownish gray and are about 1.8 inch long. The seeds can remain viable for at least 50 years in the soil.
Control on non-crop lands:
Chemical: Successful control of field bindweed requires a long-term management program. A herbicide applied once will not eliminate established stands; rather, several re-treatments are required to control and keep it suppressed. Because of long seed viability and tremendous stored food reserves, repeated chemical measures must be used. Systemic herbicides are best used, Tordon and Overdrive are effective and qualify for the Landowner Assistance program.
Biological: No effective biological control agents have been found.