derelict garden help required

Hi, I have just purchased a house which has been uninhabited for many years hence the garden is a mess. the biggest issue seems to be the bindweed which is nearly everywhere and the soil is pretty much made up of the roots of this. I have read plenty of threads on how to take out bindweed but much of this is related to protecting nearby plants an issue I do not have yet. is there a cluster bomb approach to taking out this weed? is there any other advice on what I should do to get the soil in a better state ready for planting prob early next year? or any other hints and tips when you have a completely bank canvas?
I understand some q's are a bit open ended but any help appreciated.
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weh100


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On 29/05/2012 09:48, weh100 wrote:

You could nuke everything by spraying glyphosate (Roundup, Tumbleweed) over it all, but that would kill anything under the bindweed which you can't see, and might want.
And, in any case, spraying with a total weedkiller may not solve your bindweed problem if it is spreading from the neighbouring properties. If you can wait, it might help to let the bindweed die down so you can see what's underneath. But if you are certain there is nothing of interest then by all means hit it with glyphosate. But don't be surprised if it does reappear next year. In that case, spray again.
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Jeff

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I have not tried, but have read, of a bindweed-specific approach to using GP (which may not prove effective in the "usual manner" per some reports) that should leave other vegetation alone. Basically taking a bottle of "more dilute than normal application strength" GP and placing as much vine and leaves as possible in it, with the very tip of the vine cut off (or possibly digging down to a rhizhome, cutting it and placing both ends in bottles of GP) Take precautions so that pets/wildlife can't drink it, and it can't tip over and spill on other plants. Claims of wiping out whole areas of bindweed (ie, the stuff coming from the neighbors) via the interconnected rhizome system have been made. I repeat, I have not tried this. Would love to hear from someone who has, though I generally avoid GP and just rip stuff out repeatedly - but there are times I consider it - though more for creeping buttercup than for bindweed, at present.
As usual, the web has many variants posted as "the one" - my best guess reading them over is about 1/3 more water than normal for mixing concentrate, gathering as much foliage as possible, cutting the tip off to help with uptake, cramming as much foliage/stem into the bottle as possible for maximum leaf contact with the herbicide, and leaving for months, doing as many as you can make time for, especially since they may not all be one plant. The point of "dilute" rather than "strong" solution is to get the poison as far into the root system as possible, rather than just killing off the tips. As the vines in the bottles die, switch the bottles to any new vines.
Something (not bindweed related) from the web I have tried and found lacking would be "dilute ammonia spray as slug killer" - while slugs and snails dunked into a ~1% ammonia solution (water/household ammonia 5/1) die, those sprayed with it seem to be moderately inconvenienced at best - while somewhere I read about it claimed that even 10-1 dilution (0.5%) of household (5%) ammonia would kill as a spray...
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If you feel that you have to use glyphosate, paint it on to reduce its environmental impact.
And of course, the ubiquitous use of glyphosate is leading to the ubiquitous development of glyphosate resistant weeds. <http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/04/business/energy-environment/04weed.htm l?pagewanted=all>
Don Huber, recently retired from Purdue University, and co-author G.S. Johal, at Purdues Dept of Botany and Plant Pathology, stated in a paper published in the October 2009 issue of European Journal of Agronomy that the widespread use of glyphosate in the US can significantly increase the severity of various plants diseases, impair plant defense to pathogens and diseases, and immobilize soil and plant nutrients rendering them unavailable for plant use. <http://www.i-sis.org.uk/glyphosatePoisonsCrops.php
Glyphosate Formulations Induce Apoptosis and Necrosis in Human Umbilical, Embryonic, and Placental Cells http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/tx800218n
Glyphosate and Cancer http://asgap.org.au/APOL20/dec00-3.html

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On 29/05/2012 21:28, Billy wrote:

Painting it may not be an option if the area is large, but it would certainly make sense for a few plants.

That is sad, but not unexpected. But it has taken over 20 years for resistance to develop. This is from: http://dels.nas.edu/resources/static-assets/materials-based-on-reports/reports-in-brief/genetically_engineered_crops_report_brief_final.pdf "It also allows weeds that already have a natural resistance to glyphosate to thrive in fields with herbicide-resistant crops. Eventually, repeated use will render glyphosate ineffective. To limit the evolution of glyphosate-resistant weeds, farmers of herbicide-resistant crops should incorporate more diverse management practices, such as herbicide rotation and tank-mixes of more than one herbicide." In any population there will always be weeds resistant to something. If that something is used exclusively, those weeds will prevail over all others. It's not an inherent fault with glyphosate. If any new herbicide is developed, it will eventually fall foul of that one resistant plant in the same way that glyphosate has done. I'm afraid we can't do much about natural selection!
I would not be at all surprised if it is found that the resistance is also due to inadequate levels of glyphosate being used (ie the applied solution has either been overdiluted to save money, or some of the generic concentrate being sold was not of the strength stated on the label). That would make resistance inevitable, in the same way that antibiotic resistance has become a major problem since patients stopped taking an antibiotic as soon as they felt well.

Looking at the Isis website I get the same impression of the independence of papers they publish as I would if Monsanto published papers and declared they were from a non-commercial organisation.

Interesting, but I don't have access to read the full paper or the replies to it.

A paper much more balanced than its title would suggest! Perhaps most pertinent is the author's comment "But the numbers are very small: one case more or less would make a big difference. The researchers quite properly write that glyphosate "might be of concern" (italics mine). They go on to say it deserves further study; and who could disagree. But this seems to me to be rather a long way from much of the sensational reporting."
What has been studied and concluded in the 11 years since the article was published?
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Jeff

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wrote:

Is this what you've got? <http://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/organicweeds/weed_information/weed.php?idq or <http://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/organicweeds/weed_information/weed.php?id 3>
All of the rhizomatous perennials are difficult to kill, especially when well established. The rhizomes are actually underground stems, and if they get broken up, they'll start new plants.
Depending on what you want to save and how big the area is, there are several approaches.
1) "I don't care what else is back there, I want to start from bare soil next year and plant everything myself": Spray with a non-selective herbicide, wait a month, cut everything back to ground level, water well, and wait for new sprouts to show up (and they will). Spot spray everything that shows up ASAP. Your goal is to have bare soil by early fall, when you'll plant an annual cover crop to hold the soil over the winter. In the spring, cut the cover crop and plant your new garden. You will need to keep a good eye out for regrowth of bindweed over the next few years; seeds in the soil are good for 50+ years, but once you're not digging and you don't have a lot of bare soil, the percentage germinating will be lower.
2) as above, but prefer a mechanical approach rather than herbicides: Cut everything back, make a daily round with a hoe and cut all new sprouts. The idea here is that you'll need to exhaust the rhizomes in the soil -- let them sprout (using up reserves in the rhizomes) and then remove the topgrowth before they have a chance to replace the reserves. Keep the yard watered to encourage the rhizomes to sprout.
3) as above, but maybe a little less physical labor: depending on climate and the amount of sun the area gets, you may be able to solarize your garden, Cut everything to the ground, water well, cover with *clear* plastic sheeting, and wait till the soil temperature reaches 125oF for at least two months. Uncover, and watch for regrowth. UK gardens may not be able to get the soil to that temperature -- we have a hard time doing it in much of the wetter PNW US.
I have my doubts about being able to accomplish this in one growing season with methods 2 and 3 in most of the British Isles.
4) "I'd like to keep the current plantings and get rid of the bindweed". Pull or clip every bindweed you can find. Throw all of this in a black bin bag, add a cup of water, tie the bag, and leave the bag in the sun for at least a week, turning the bag over periodically. Then dispose of the contents. Follow with watching the garden for regrowth and treating just the regrowth with a systemic herbicide, about once a week.
In any case, I would be vigilant about weeding for the next few years, and if the adjacent property is infested, I'd probably put in soil barriers like rolled metal sheeting inserted vertically in the soil.
Kay (who's been working on killing English Ivy for the last 7+ years)
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wrote:

Perhaps the "chop, nuke, and smother" method might work here. First cut the plants off at ground level as best you can (chop). Remove the cuttings. Second, apply a 20% strength vinegar solution (nuke). This is about four times as strong as the household variety. It is available over the web but I have been able to get garden supply stores to order it for me to avoid some of the costs and any issues due to a minimum quantity order. It is best to apply the acetic acid during a dry spell. You must wear hand and eye protection. Third, cover the entire area with something thick and heavy like a carpet remnant or even sheet metal (smother). The fertility and soil life will return to normal naturally or you can lime the area after a few months to bring back the soil pH. You will have to be vigilant about any returning weeds but they should be very few in number if there are any at all.
Good luck.
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The mass of carbohydrate reserves in a well-established bindweed patch is such that one season's treatment is unlikely to exhaust them; they'll just sit there dormant until you pull the occlusive mulch off and then go crazy. That's the same misgiving I have over whether or not constant weeding will work in a single year or require more time, but that at least actively works on exhausting the reserves.
Choice of control methods for perennial weeds usually depend on what you've got, how much you've got, how much time, and how much energy.
Kay
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