Weed List

Field Bindweed
Convolvulus arvensis L.

Plant Parts

Field bindweed (creeping jenny), a deep-rooted perennial weed that is well adapted to North Dakota climate and environment, is a native of Europe and western Asia and was introduced to this country during colonial days. Field bindweed is found across the United States, except in a few southwestern states where the climate is not favorable for growth. It is a problem primarily in the dryland farming areas of the Great Plains and Western states. Field bindweed has been declared a noxious weed according to both the North Dakota Seed Law and the North Dakota Noxious Weed Law.

Field bindweed is a long-lived perennial which 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 diameter, and white or pink in color.

Photo courtesy of Weeds of the West.

The flower stalk has two small bracts located to 2 inches below the flower. The bracts, along with leaf shape and smaller flower size, distinguish field bindweed from hedge bindweed.

Field bindweed may also be confused with wild buckwheat because of similarities in leaf shape and vining habit. However, wild buckwheat is an annual rather than a perennial and has a very small (about 1/8 inch diameter) greenish white flower.

Hedge bindweed leaves have sharp lobes at their base which point outward.  

Field bindweed may also be confused with wild buckwheat because of similarities in leaf shape and vining habit. However, wild buckwheat is an annual rather than a perennial and has a very small (about 1/8 inch diameter) greenish white flower.

Leaves of Field Bindweed

2002 North Dakota Weed Control Guide

W-253, January 2002

Control Practices

Established field bindweed is difficult to control. An effective control program should prevent seed production, kill roots and root buds, and prevent infestation by seedlings. This plant is very persistent and a successful control program must be more persistent.

The best control of field bindweed is obtained with a combination of cultivation, selective herbicides, and competitive crops.


Intensive cultivation controls newly emerged seedlings, may kill young field bindweed infestations, and contributes to control of established stands. Timely cultivations deplete the root reserves of established plants and stimulate dormant seeds to germinate.

Field bindweed can be controlled when tilled eight to 12 days after each emergence throughout the growing season. In the central Great Plains, 16 to 18 tillage operations over more than two years, at two- to three-week intervals were needed to eliminate established stands of field bindweed. In South Dakota, cultivation with sweeps at two-week intervals during June and July and at three-week intervals during August and September eliminated more than 95 percent of the established stands in one year. Intensive cultivation alone usually is not practical because crops cannot be grown during the tillage period, and repeated tillage exposes the soil to erosion. Where alternate wheat-fallow rotation is practiced, field bindweed may be controlled in three years by tilling at two- to three-week intervals during the 18 months between wheat harvest and seeding.



Long-term control of field bindweed from herbicides depends on movement of a sufficient amount of herbicide through the root system to kill the roots and root buds. This requires use of systemic (movement throughout the plant) herbicides. Examples of systemic herbicides include 2,4-D, dicamba (Banvel/Clarity), picloram (Tordon) and glyphosate (Roundup or equivalent). Contact herbicides such as parquet kill only the tissue directly contacted by the herbicide, which results in only short-term control of top growth.

Successful control of field bindweed requires a long-term management program. A herbicide applied once will never eliminate established stands; rather, several retreatments are required to control field bindweed and keep it suppressed. Because of long seed viability and tremendous food reserves stored in the roots, repeated chemical and/or mechanical control measures must be used.

For successful control, herbicides should be applied when field bindweed is actively growing and stems are at least 12 inches long. Herbicide performance can vary greatly due to environmental conditions. Plants growing under moisture or heat stress usually have smaller leaves with a thicker cuticle and slower biological processes than plants growing in more favorable conditions. As plant stress increases, herbicide uptake and translocation decreases, which in turn decreases herbicide performance. This is why field bindweed is harder to control in the more semiarid area of central and western North Dakota than in the eastern region.