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Re: Thistles

  • To: Multiple recipients of list <iris-l@rt66.com>
  • Subject: Re: Thistles
  • From: "Jeff and Carolyn Walters" <cwalters@cache.net>
  • Date: Sun, 23 Feb 1997 09:10:53 -0700 (MST)

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





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