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Re: Thistles

  • To: Multiple recipients of list <iris-l@rt66.com>
  • Subject: Re: Thistles
  • From: Patricia Wenham <prw@televar.com>
  • Date: Sun, 23 Feb 1997 12:11:42 -0700 (MST)

Jeff and Carolyn Walters wrote:
> Hi Teresa!
>          You wrote (Thursday, 20 Feb 97):
> >
> > So much knowledge in this group is amazing!  With all the info about wild
> garlic,
> > can I ask if anyone has a miracle solution for getting rid of thistles?
> I have used
> > Roundup and I have feebly attempted digging them out (but I now think
> this may
> > have multiplied them?)   They seem to pop up with no warning.
> > Can you put these in a salad?
> I haven't seen that anyone else has taken on this prickly subject yet, but
> I'll give it a try (FRIWWMFTT).
> We have several kinds of thistles around here, not all of which I can put a
> name to, but the most troublesome, and the one I suspect you are referring
> to, is Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense), an underground spreader that forms
> prickly thickets about 3 ft high and has clusters of small purple flowers
> in late summer. ("Canada" is a misnomer, BTW; like most of our noxious
> weeds it is an Old World native).
> It so happens that I had a stand of this thistle in a new area I was
> preparing as an iris bed last year. Hand weeding is impossible, RoundUp has
> had no permanent effect, digging out the roots is not an effective means of
> complete eradication, as the plants can regenerate from the least little
> piece left behind. I guess at this point that I, too, would be glad to have
> any expert advice on how to deal with this stubborn pest.
> I have read about making soup with young nettle leaves, which seems a bit
> of a stretch, but I think thistles are a problem you can't eat your way out
> of.
> One thing to be noted in Cirsium's favor: it is the favorite food plant of
> the caterpillars of the Painted Lady butterfly.
> Jeff Walters in northern Utah (Zone 4)
> cwalters@cache.net
> "This is the Place" - no butterflies today; sunny, 24F

I have two suggestions for you to try when attempting to eradicate 
thistles.  See your county extension agent.  They will give you 
suggestions for various ways to eliminate them.

If you have a county weed board see them.  If the type of thistle you 
have is classed as a noxious weed they will assist you.  We have several 
types of thistle here and some are classified as noxious weeds.  The 
county has a group of seasonal employees who hand pull weeds each year 
and they also offer chemical sprays at a reduced cost.  You may decide 
which route you wish to take.

Patti Wenham <prw@televar.com>
USDA zone 5  in North central Washington State

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