I have cleared my garden getting ready to lay turf, but there are plants growing back through the soil. I would like to identify them and any tips on killing them would be greatly appreciated.

The first plant I believe is some type of creeping vine.

The first plant I believe is some type of creeping vine

  • Please ask one question for each different plant
    – Niall C.
    Jun 5, 2017 at 1:59

3 Answers 3


Hard to be sure without seeing its characteristic little white morning glory style flowers, but the top picture looks like it might well be bindweed, a terrible pest. Even if you go down deep and try to dig it all out, it leaves behind gnarly twisted root pieces that hide deep under the surface. It is very drought tolerant, and those roots can reside under the ground for a long time and keep renewing this weed in your garden continually.

  • I think you are correct, I checked an old photo there were white flowers growing, also when I cleared some trees the vines had climbed them and pretty much strangled them to brink of death. Luckily I do not have any plants that I would like to live so may just delay the turfing to ensure the plant is fully dead. Jun 5, 2017 at 10:36

Using a herbicide on the bindweed is rarely that effective as the root system is far too extensive. I know you don't want to put off laying down turf so I can make a suggestion for control, NOT eradication. I don't know how large you want your lawn so the amount of work may not appeal to you.

I wasn't making a lawn but a large flower bed. I cleared weeds and stoloniferous grass along with as much bindweed and its roots as I could. I then used a garden fork to repeatedly dig down and loosen the soil from more roots that I found. I went down around 3 feet and took out every piece I could find. I really went through all the soil! Because I hadn't tilled or chopped the soil up, most of the roots were intact. Their length and branching was unreal. If you've tilled your soil, your task is more difficult as a new plant can grow from each piece of cut root, even if it's an inch long. While bindweed roots can go very deep, most of them are found in the top 2 feet if soil (which is why I went down 3 feet to play it safe).

Once you've cleared the soil of most (you'll likely think ALL) roots, you can lay your turf. But you'll have to be vigilant to look for any new bindweed attempting to grow from missed roots. If you cut all new leaves formed as soon as you see them, you'll eventually starve out the food stores from any remaining roots. But you can't allow any to grow or food stores will be built up in the roots again and your task will ake much longer. I haven't needed to do this but I've read it can take 2-5 years before no more plants will emerge - unless there are already bindweed seeds in the soil. It's a prolific seeder as most weeds are.

I'm sorry to say but no one method is foolproof. Some feel a herbicide (which I won't use) along with persistent removal of top growth works best. It's still going to take a year or two even using both before your lawn is bindweed-free.


Calystegia silvatica/sepium if its white flowered, if pink then its possibly Convolvulus arvensis/tricolor? probably more likely one of the first two. digging is the best method however a systemic weed killer either applied directly to the foliage or unusually placed in a jar and some stems fed in the top to stop any contamination of any wanted plants. Always read instructions for any bought chemicals first.

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