Left: A bee exploring Houndstooth flowers. Right: Field Bindsweed in flower. Weed Warrior Frank photos

Left: A bee exploring Houndstooth flowers. Right: Field Bindsweed in flower. Weed Warrior Frank photos

In this week’s episode of “The Weed Warrior”

Cranbrook’s Weed Warrior Frank on Hound’s Tongue and Field Bindweed

Last weekend, on a forest walk in the Grassmere area, a bumblebee feeding on Hound’s Tongue nectar caught my attention. The bee returned a number of times to the patch of weeds and allowed me to watch it take a pollen bath on a nearby saucer-shaped wild rose flower. My shaky old hands had ample opportunities to snap some good ID photos of its head, back and side to post on Bumblebeewatch. org.

If you are interested in contributing bumblebee photos and locations to the North American study on the population health of these valuable pollinators, there are only a couple of us doing it, so far, in the East Kootenay region.

I pointed the weed patch out to the property owner and made sure he knew that Hound’s Tongue caused liver damage to livestock that ate it. Now would be a good time to dig up this tap-rooted invasive weed that produces pea-sized flat burrs, and garbage bag it for the dump.

Always wear protective gloves when handling weeds.

Another property invader, to get after at this time of year, is Field Bindweed. 100 years ago, Californians called it the worst weed to ever appear in their state. Left alone, Field Bindweed can grow a two-and-a half to five-ton root system in an acre of lawn. Unless you are willing to excavate the top three feet of soil and put it through a fine sieve, you will have to use a broadleaf herbicide, like Killex, as soon as Field Bindweed shows some flower buds.

While you are waiting for the flowers to start appearing, you can help starve the root system by collecting and garbage bagging the leafy vines. That will help deplete the food reserves of the hungry, leaf and flower producing roots so they will get their share of the herbicide when the plant switches from growth to food storage mode. If you apply Killex too soon, you may only affect the surface growth, then the roots will survive to try again.

Remember, Field Bindweed can flower twice a growing season, June and late August, giving you two chances to starve and spray it.

Now is also a good time to take or review the Home Pesticide Applicator’s on-line course. Remember, you only register for the course after you pass it. Click on the link below:


Weed Warrior Frank