Our field has been becoming more and more heavily over run with thistles, and this spring the problem looked to be particularly bad. A few years ago we probably would have sprayed, but I have been hunting around for a better solution.
I found a few tit-bits of info that were helpful...
Thistles do well in pasture that has been overgrazed particularly in winter or early spring.
Our pasture has definitely been overgrazed. A neighbour runs his sheep on there and took them off a week ago. The grass is eaten right down a there are clear gaps between plants. Thistle seedlings are finding it east to get established. Not much use for this year but a lesson learned for next.
The best thing I found was a brilliantly designed weed puller that uses clever leverage to grip the plant at the root/crown and pull it up smoothly. We had a go with it yesterday and pulled well over 500 plants in a little over an hour. It copes with all sizes from massive to seedlings and generally gets a large chunk of the roots, or all of it in the case of the seedlings. I wouldn't want to try to do the whole field at once with it, but you could definitely get through the 6 acres or so doing half an hour at a time.
I've seen very old versions of this. I've never weeded a lawn in my 49 years and don't plan to start. If I were to decide to weed, I'd get a pointed hoe that does it in one stroke. hoe a bunch, then pick them up.
Location: Central New York - Finger Lakes - Zone 5
posted 4 years ago
This looks pretty cool. Some weeds don't matter that much but Canadian Thistle is a gnarly pricker and especially in the lawn, needs to go. I think I just might get one of these!
THANKS for the post.
To understand permaculture is simply to look at how nature has been growing things for thousands of years. The 'secret' is simply to keep the soil covered with plants or mulch.
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
posted 4 years ago
I've used it ALOT more since then. It is strangely addictive. We are dealing with a serious infestation in our field, which appears to be mostly seedlings rather than spreading by roots. It works a treat on them if they are not too old, and often pulls up 8 inches of intact root system. I'd much rather not have to do this by hand, but without goats we don't seem to have much of a choice.
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