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How Do I Kill Thistles In My Lawn

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Q: What Are The Most Troublesome Thistles In Alabama

How To Kill Clover In Your Lawn The Cheap Way

Musk thistle or nodding thistle is the most aggressive non-native thistle in Alabama. Yellow thistle, also known as horrible thistle , is native and abundant throughout much of the state. Milk thistle , another exotic, is occasionally found in Alabama as a pasture weed. Bull thistle is uncommon, and Canada thistle is extremely rare if present at all.

Easy Ways To Control Thistle In Your Landscape

August 6, 2019 By Woodsman Staff

Is your lawn being overrun with thistle? Also known as Cirsium vulgare, thistle is an invasive plant thats common throughout Texas as well as other Southern states.

Its a relatively small plant, with the flowering stem reaching a height of just 1 to 1.5 meters. Like other invasive plants, though, it can quickly take over your landscape if not addressed.

How Do You Manage Thistles

Spray one to two sprays of vinegar directly on the cut of each thistle plant. The cut allows the vinegar to spread to the roots more quickly, which in turn kills the plant more quickly. Saturating the unwanted plants once a week with this mixture helps control the problem. Do not spray the soil with vinegar.

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Use The Weed Out Lawn Tool For Thistles

Another method for dealing with Thistles is to just pull them out using our Weed Out Lawn Weeding Tool or Weed Out Pro Lawn Weeding Tool. They are both super easy to use and make pulling out weeds in your lawn fun! Two of the most obvious perks of this tool are that you never have to bend over to pull out the Thistle and you don’t have to touch it’s prickly leaves.

Use A Weedkiller Concentrate To Treat The Whole Lawn

How do I kill thistle? : lawncare

Its rare that your lawn will be taken over by just one type of weed. Usually, if theres a lot of one type of weed, there will be plenty of others too.

Spot spraying in a situation like this is futile. Treating the whole lawn with a selective weedkiller concentrate is the only option.

Products like Weedol Lawn Weedkiller Concentrate are designed to be diluted in water and applied using either a knapsack sprayer or watering can.

When using a weedkiller concentrate, be sure to read the instructions and mix the concentrate accurately.

If you make it too weak, youll not kill the weeds. Make it too strong and you could kill the grass as well as the weeds.

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What Is Canada Thistle

Canada thistle is an invasive perennial weed that almost always grows in patches. The stems and deeply lobed leaves are smooth to the touch, but those leaves come with prickly, painful spines around their margins.

This thorny troublemaker can grow up to five feet tall and produces a beautiful carafe-shaped purple flower in mid-summer or early fall. These flowers attract pollinators like bees and butterflies. That may be the Canada thistles only redeeming quality.

Q: What Is The Optimal Herbicide Treatment Timing

Treat in late winter or early spring when thistles are still rosettes to maximize spring forage production. While several herbicides are effective on large, bolted thistle, the risk of forage injury increases the longer you wait to spray. Large, bolted thistles in the spring can also delay the growth and early productivity of warm-season forage grasses.

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Q: Can I Spray Later In The Spring To Gain Some Residual Control Of Summer Weeds

Except for Weedmaster and 2,4-D, the other products listed in table 1 will effectively control large musk thistle plants that have bolted. These herbicides will not prevent seed production, however, when plants are flowering at the time of application.

To prevent seed production, apply by the bud stage before flowers open. Thistles may take an entire month to die when sprayed at the bud stage. This application timing can provide some residual control of certain summer annual weeds, including horseweed, bitterweed, and spiny pigweed. Spiny pigweed, however, will break through sooner than other annual weeds. Perennials such as horsenettle will also be suppressed but will typically recover by midsummer.

Does Salt Kill Nettles

Getting Rid of Thistles! Let’s Get To Spraying Noxious Weeds!

Although its extremely cheap and available in large quantities, and in theory you can use it with a vinegar combination to exterminate unwanted foliage, I feel that deploying salt as a weed killer is simply not worth the hassle.

When you take into consideration the time it takes and whether its going to be effective in the first place, there are better options available to you.

Additionally, you will likely end up damaging the soil for any potential future use.

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Q: How Can I Tell Them Apart

Identifying thistles when they are in the rosette stage can be extremely difficult. However, the mature plants are easily distinguished:

  • Musk thistle has large, nodding, solitary flower heads with wide, single spine-tipped bracts that curve upward. Flowers are deep rose to violet or purple and rarely white. Stems are winged and spiny.
  • Yellow thistle has large, clustered flower heads with spiny, feathery bracts that almost enclose each flowers entire head. Flowers are yellow or reddish- purple and rarely white. Stems are covered in fine hairs and hairlike projections.
  • Milk thistle has solitary flower heads with stiff, spiny bracts that often curve downward. Flowers are purple, and the stems are hairless and not winged.
Milk thistle rosette
Musk thistle rosette

How Can I Control Thistle In A Lawn

Our back fence borders a golf course, and between us and the fairway is about 50 feet of native landscaping. This mostly means long, native grass .

Unfortunately, next to one section of my backyard, a large patch of thistle grew up very tall a few years ago. While thistle can turn out very pretty

its also terrible when even small growth appears in my lawn. Given how spiky it is, bare feet is not a good idea.

I ended up spraying weed-killer on this patch and got it mostly knocked down. However, the bits that had already spread to my lawn have come back year after year. They dont go away when I spray with lawn-safe weed killer, and I even had Tru-Green service for a while and nothing they did was successful either.

I have tried pulling them out by hand, but our lawn, unique soil , and the toughness of the root system makes most of them simply break off at the soil, leaving them to come back in just a few weeks.

Is there anything I havent tried? Or should I just keep trying to dig them out by hand?

Note: since Ive been more attentive to the patch on the other side of my fence, and it hasnt gone to seed in a couple years, the weeds have stayed confined to about 200 sq. feet of my lawn.

Lawn type: Kentucky Bluegrass

  • Peter TurnerJun 9, 2011 at 14:21
  • It could be that your soil pH or other qualities are off. You should focus on fixing that, over if you do any weed control.

I can also offer a few suggestions for thistle:

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An Annoying Invasive Weed

Canada thistle can be difficult to get rid of, however, with the right process, you can successfully eliminate it from your yard and garden. Since it is an invasive species, not native to North America, it is always best to get rid of it when possible.

Though it will take time and patience, following these steps can help eliminate and manage thistle plants:

  • Herbicide
  • Salt and Vinegar
  • Mowing

Please comment if you enjoyed this article or have any questions or remarks regarding eliminating Canada thistle!

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Thistle Weed Control Treatment

How to get rid of Canadian thistles easily, fast, and organically

Digging/ pulling out thistle weeds can work for new paddocks by decreasing the numbers in a field. However, soft soils after rain are required to complete this and there is still the risk of leaving fragile root fragments behind to re-grow.

Did you know: Thistles are edible and have associated health benefits especially for the liver but for most people afflicted they will need a reliable, Thistle control treatment.


In order to manage thistles the best option is to use a weed killer. This is due to the fact that the weed killer will work its way down to the roots and completely kill the plant, whereas if you tried to pull the weed out by hand, you could run the risk of leaving part of the roots behind which could, in turn, produce a new plant itself. Apply the weed killer with either a knapsack or boom sprayer to the point of run off. This will then help the product translocate down to the root, killing the entire plant.



Selective herbicides are safe for grass. They can be used in knapsacks or through a tractor mounted sprayer with boom arms. They have a wide m2 coverage per bottle which means they are also economical.

The best selective Thistle weed killers are:


Alternatively a glyphosate weed killer can be used such as:

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How To Get Rid Of Canadian Thistle In Lawn

How to get rid of canadian thistle in lawn? To get rid of thistle with salt and vinegar, fill up a spray bottle with vinegar and do not dilute it. Cut the stem of the thistle and spray the vinegar directly on it, while avoiding getting the soil. Then sprinkle a pinch of salt at the base of the plant, as it will dehydrate the thistle.

What will kill thistles but not grass? A homemade herbicide consisting of vinegar and salt may be effective at killing unwanted thistle plants. The vinegar needs to contain at least 20 percent acetic acid to be effective at killing weeds.

How do I kill Canadian thistle in my lawn? Canada thistle can be killed with weed killers. The best time to apply these is on sunny days when the temperatures are between 65 and 85 degrees F. . Since many weed killers are non-selective, they will kill anything they touch, so it is best not to use these on windy days.

How do you stop Canada thistle from spreading? Mid-May to mid-June Herbicide treatments containing clopyralid, aminopyralid or glyphosate when the plant is in bud to flower stage can be effective for reduction of the population. Alternatively, mechanically cut Canada thistle prior to flowering with a rotary mower set at the highest height.

What Is A Thistle:

Thistle is one of the most stubborn herbaceous weeds of the daisy family that spreads using lateral roots and airborne seeds. It is harmful enough for your lawn also, it is classified as a noxious weed in many countries and states.

You are already familiar with the term weeds. Weeds are unwanted or undesired plants that grow in your lawn. You have to get rid of these weeds if you desire a kid-friendly yard, as they can spread quickly in your grassland areas and borders. But it is not an easy task for you to remove it permanently to get a kid-friendly lawn.

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Purchase An Organic Weed Killer

WEED BEATER FEIf you are trying to kill Thistle in your lawn, but want to avoid chemicals like 2,4-D, Weed Beater Fe is a good choice. Just know that you’ll need to make multiple applications during the Spring and Fall to have an effective result. Thistles have a deep root system, so the idea is to keep weakening the plant at the top, preventing it from thriving over time. You may never eliminate the Thistle organically, but you probably won’t eliminate it with chemicals either. The key is to stay on top of it. Weed Beater FE is easy to apply as you just have to spray the leaves well.

ADIOS ORGANIC WEED KILLERAnother product you can try is Adios Organic Weed Killer, which has been shown to work particularly well on Thistles. This product has the ability to travel into the root system of the weed, giving it a much better chance to kill the entire plant, rather than just the top half.

BURNOUT ORGANIC GRASS & WEED KILLERWhile you will find a lot of other organic weed and grass killers out there, such as Burnout, which work great for killing the above ground portion of plants, they’re not as effective at killing the roots. Burnout is perfect for spraying on weeds in your mulch beds, on sidewalks and in cracks, but it isn’t ideal for spraying in the lawn.

Treating To Get Rid Of Thistle

How To Prevent Crabgrass, Thistle & other Weeds

The best way to get rid of thistle is to use chemical control where possible. Chemical control with labeled herbicides will drastically help with thistle control. Pre-emergent weed controls applied 2-3 times per year will reduce weed seed germination. This can help with foreign seeds blowing into the beds as well as those laying dormant in the soil that have been there for years.

In areas where there are no desirable plants nearby, non-selective weed controls such as glyphosate can be applied. Systemic herbicides do a great job as the materials are translocated throughout the root system, killing off all/most parts of the plants. It may also be advisable to add a small amount of an additional weed control for synergistic effects. Consult with a trained professional and the product label for recommendations. Be sure to mix these and any herbicides properly. More is not better. Follow the recommendations for how much concentrate should be added to the water in your mix.

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What Areas Have To Be Treated

Thistles are among the weeds that are mostly reviled but are readily identifiable. Lawns, grassland & paddocks can be overrun quickly.

All of the key spots for thistle development are grassland fields, path edges and uncultivated soil. As a protection mechanism toward grazing herbivores, thistles have established their spiky leaves and may swamp a grazing paddock or lawn quickly-out-competing grass and limiting usable forage.

Dont get cheated with the pretty violet-colored thistle in your yard. The tough, spiny, and hairy thistle is a burden. Once the Canadian variety of thistle has taken hold in your lawn, it is hard to control the weeds. Each musk thistle produces 120000 seedlings from flowers. The weed grows up to 6 feet tall.

The noxious weeds often go out of control and harm other plants in the garden. The seeds of the weed pollutants the wind and soil. Thus, other plants cant grow well. Being tall in size,

thistles also take enough space off your lawn. Once seeds start to germinate, it spreads roots all over your yard. You should immediately bag them off.

So, today we are going to discuss how to kill thistle weeds in the yard. You need to go far to kill these annoying plants. Fortunately, we have some easy steps to share with you. Do follow them thoroughly.

Homemade Thistle Killer Using Gin

This might come as a surprise to most people, but gin can actually be an effective tool for combating a thistle infestation.

Thistle doesnt just spread with the seeds from their flowers, but they also spread through rhizomes. Rhizomes are the roots that run underneath the ground, and one of the best ways to deal with this problem is to create a gin spray that directly attacks the weeds at their roots.

This will stop the ability of the plant to spread via the roots, and you wont have much to worry about! To make a gin-based thistle killer, you are going to need at least two ounces of gin, and one ounce of apple cider vinegar. Mix the two together, and then add one tablespoon of liquid-based dish soap. Finally, pour in a quart of water, and you are good to go.

Make sure you shake the solution carefully and mix it properly before usage. Apart from being one of the best weapons for killing the root system of the thistle and various other kinds of unwanted weeds, you should know that this recipe is also suitable for getting rid of all other kinds of weeds as well.

Once you treat a particular area with this solution, getting rid of the weeds isnt going to be a problem. Again, its also important that you take preventative measures to ensure that thistle doesnt grow in the same place again. This involves making sure that you mow the area properly and prevent the thistle from developing.

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Spot Treat With Vinegar

Vinegar is highly effective at killing thistle.

Its acidic properties can kill thistle on contact, making it an excellent solution for homeowners struggling with thistle. Simply fill a bottle with one part vinegar and one part water, after which you can spray it directly on thistle plants.

Just remember to use caution when applying vinegar so that you dont accidentally hit your grass or other healthy plants.

Homemade Solution To Kill Thistles

How To Kill Thistle In Your Garden (Step By Step Guide)

Related Articles

Thistle plants come from the Asteraceae plant family and include several varieties. Considered an unwanted weed by most gardeners, thistles can be controlled with homemade herbicides, uprooting and prevention. Thistle plants grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 9.

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