Unwanted Local Inhabitants

Have you heard of Hedge Bindweed (Calystegia sepium)? Edwin Rollin Spencer, in All About Weeds, describes it as “one of the meanest of weeds. A whispering little hussy that creeps in and spoils everything.” Or how about Euphorbia maculata or Chamaesyce maculata, depending who you ask; aka Spotted Spurge? These are two expamples of native species that have become unwelcome residents in local gardens.

Like most weeds, Hedge Bindweed is challenging to eradicate. Small stands of bindweed can be managed through hand removal, although complete eradication is difficult. Plants should be dug, taking care to remove as much as the root system as possible. As the plant will resprout from any root fragments left in the soil, the area must be monitored for new growth, which should be removed as soon as possible.

While hedge bindweed will grow up and over, Spotted Spurge is a low growing invasive weed. It appears when the weather really warms up, sprouting from the seeds left behind last year. Pull it out, roots and all, as soon as it arrives. But, be careful if you have a sensitivity to latex; this plant has a latex sap, so wear gloves. The seeds need light to germinate, so a good layer of mulch will help control its spread and minimize the need to weed.

For more information, talk to your local garden center, research online (for instance, http://awaytogarden.com/eliminate-spotted-spurge-and-hedge-bindweed/) or get in touch with your local Master Gardener!