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Getting rid of Thistle

 
Posts: 68
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We have two kind: the tall kind and the flat ones called Bull Thistles.
They turn my bare feet into porcupines so it's time they go.
What's the best way?
 
master pollinator
Posts: 11366
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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My neighbor and I have nearly eliminated thistles by cutting them off at the root each year.  This is tedious but effective.  Preventing them from going to seed is the key.

 
Laurent Voulzy
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Tyler Ludens wrote:Preventing them from going to seed is the key.


Good to know they don't sprout from their root network like horse tails
 
steward
Posts: 4680
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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At my place, bull thistles don't seem to re-sprout much -- if cut off below the crown, but Canadian thistles are very rhizomous and re-sprout readily. I don't mind annual  thistle weeds, because the seedlings are small and delicate. It's the perennial rhizomes that give me fits.
 
pollinator
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Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
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We have a fiskars thistle puller. It is fast, effective and gets the whole root system.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fiskars-1001297-Weed-Puller/dp/B0002TTRT4

You can pull a thistle every ten seconds or so, and get a lot done very quickly. We have 6 acres of sheep field that at one point was badly overgrazed. As it recovered the thistles went nuts in the patches of bare soil. We took the puller with us when we went out to do other jobs and over 6 months or so we got it under control.
 
gardener
Posts: 1870
Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
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We have two of a different model of thistle puller.  This particular model is an older style I don't see in the store anymore.  I can't say enough good things about the advantages of weed pullers that work from a standing position.  They work well and are much kinder on your back. Ours occasionally get loaned to volunteers doing work for my sister's church. They are the only tools anyone's asked to borrow and we have no shortage of basic tools.
 
pollinator
Posts: 313
Location: Victor, Montana; Zone 5b
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Cut them and eat them. Wear gloves and then strip the outer layer of the stalk. They are high in vitamins and taste like a sweet celery. After they realize you actually want them to eat, they will stop regrowing.
 
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Location: Virginia, USA
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Cut it down at its base, when it's full grown.
 
pollinator
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Location: Worcestershire, England
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If you decide to go with a thistle puller you can always make your own:

 
Let me tell you a story about a man named Jed. He made this tiny ad:
A rocket mass heater is the most sustainable way to heat a conventional home
http://woodheat.net
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