Walker: Where to recycle used pots and getting rid of that stubborn bindweed

U of I Master GardenerMay 23, 2013 

So you've been to plant sales and nurseries and the weather has been great for planting. Now you have all those pots laying around the patio and need them out of your way before your next barbecue.

I found three places that take used pots.

Edwards Greenhouse at 4106 Sand Creek St. in Boise (off Hill Road between 36th and Collister) has a large wood bin at the back of its property near the urban vegetable house where you can drop off pots and trays. It's not obvious where it is, so ask at the store or just drop off pots at their store.

The Idaho Botanical Garden reuses pots for next year's plant sale production. You can drop off pots behind the main office on the brick patio.

If you have tube pots or other pots from the Idaho Native Plant Society sale, you can drop them off at the MK Nature Center. There's a large blue tub near the entrance to the building for those specialized pots. They also take trays for use next year.

Do you need more native plants for your garden? The MK Nature Center has an ongoing plant sale while supplies last. Inquire inside the building, and they'll show you where the plant inventory is located.

There's a thread on Garden Web forums about bindweed with various methods to rid a garden of that noxious weed. The thread started in May of 2000 and the last post was a year ago. For twelve years, folks have been posting eradication methods for bindweed. If you Google "Garden Web bindweed" you'll get the link to the thread.

My vegetable garden was choked with bindweed every year by mid-July. I tried a couple of the methods suggested on the Garden Web forum without success. I didn't dare use a weed killer for fear of killing my vegetable plants. One summer, I pulled bindweed every day and the next day, more would be sprouting. It was a losing battle.

Last year, I let the main part of my garden go fallow and let the bindweed grow to its heart's content. When it started flowering, I sprayed the whole mass with Roundup. I didn't have to worry about killing any of the vegetable plants. This year, I have yet to see any bindweed in that part of the garden.

Spraying bindweed as soon as it appears in spring won't kill it. The leaves may get brown around the edges, but it won't die. Why? In spring, the plant is in the mode of taking energy from the roots to make stems, leaves and then flowers. By the time flower buds appear, the plant has reversed its energy flow. The leaves are photosynthesizing and energy is being taken into the roots to be stored for next year. Hit it with Roundup at that point and the herbicide will be sucked into the roots where it will kill the plant.

Maybe next year the bindweed will be back with a vengeance. That remains to be seen. I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, I need to get rid of it in the grape arbor. That'll be a little trickier so I don't harm the plants. I think I'll try wrapping the trunks with plastic kitchen wrap before spraying. And, of course, I'll spray on a windless day.

If you have particular questions about gardening you'd like to see addressed in this column, send them to highprairielandscapedesign@yahoo.com.

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