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Morning Glory Organic Weed Control

Morning glory weed
Morning Glory
Morning Glory

Morning glories are summer-growing perennial and annual plants commonly grown for their colorful funnel-shaped flowers. Morning glories become weedy when they are allowed to twine around other plants and objects and when allowed to re-seed and grow uncontrolled.

Description and Life Cycle:

  • Stems are 3 to 13 feet long; twine around other plants and objects.
  • Stem may be slightly hairy.
  • Heart-shaped leaves alternate on stem; smooth margins and obvious veins from midrib; leaves are 3-4 inches long and up to 3 inches wide at the base.
  • Flowers on long petioles are blue, purple, red, white, or variegated; flowers grow in groups of three to five flowers.
  • Blooms mid- to late summer.
  • Readily reproduces by seed. Seeds are brown, three-sided, and very hard; germination is increased by burying seed in the ground. Seeds are viable for 10 to 15 years.

Root System: Morning glory roots can grow to a depth of 20 feet. Plant have numerous lateral roots growing at a depth of 1 to 2 feet that can send up shoots that develop into new plants. It is not uncommon for new plants to grow around the edges of established plants. Even a small piece of dormant root transplanted into moist soil can grow a new plant.

Organic Control:

  • Hand pull seedlings as soon as they sprout.
  • Hand pull or hoe shoots and all of roots; cultivation can slow but likely not stop new plants from growing.
  • Mulch to prevent seeds from germinating.
  • Use landscape fabric, cardboard, or black plastic to deprive plants of sunlight. Complete death of plant under mulch will take 3 to 5 years.

Range: Throughout the eastern half of the United States and Pacific Coast region.

Botanical Name: Ipomea purpurea

Four Quick Ways to Control Weeds:

  1. Weed early. Control weeds in the first month after they germinate.
  2. Weed often. Hand weed every two weeks through the season.
  3. Weed by hand when the soil is wet (best to get roots).
  4. Use a hoe if the soil is dry. Decapitate weeds before they flower and drop seed.

 

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. Harvesttotable.com has more than 10 million visitors each year.

Comments

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    • Yes, morning glories readily self-sow. Nip off all flowers so they don’t drop seed and pluck out seedlings until you gain control.

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