Submitted to: Weed Technology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/12/1997
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Field bindweed and hedge bindweed are two of the most troublesome weeds in the world. They are hard to control with herbicides and can reduce production in row crops by 50 to 80%. A survey was conducted to determine the distribution and economic importance of these plants. Field bindweed occurs in 2454 (80%) of the 3068 counties in the United States. More than 945 counties have at least 400 ha of infested agricultural land and accrue an estimated $377,828,000 of crop losses each year. This figure does not include additional losses from the 805 counties with between 100 and 400 infested ha. Hedge bindweed occurs in 1752 (57%) of all counties in the United States. It is a perennial problem in the east and midwest regions but during the past 25 years has also invaded the southwest. Hedge bindweed infests more than 400 ha in 101 counties and between 100 and 400 ha in 1052 counties. Due to the difficulty and expense of controlling these weeds with chemicals, we suggest the initiation of a program to find potential biological control agents for release in infested areas.
Technical Abstract: A survey of weed specialists and herbaria was made to determine the distribution, abundance and economic importance of field bindweed and hedge bindweed in the United States. Field bindweed occurs at densities regarded as Serious (greater than 400 ha per county) in 957 counties, Moderate (between 100 ha and 400 ha per county) in 845 counties, and Low (less than 100 ha per county) in 573 counties in 47 of the 48 states. This weed causes more than $450 million in crop losses each year. Hedge bindweed occurs at densities regarded as Serious in 101 counties, Moderate in 1109 counties, and Low in 553 counties in 43 states. Although not as widespread as field bindweed, it appears to have increased in abundance since 1969 and continues to be a problem in the midwestern and eastern United States. Biological control is discussed as a possible method for reducing weed density.