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CULT:toxic Canadian thistles

  • Subject: CULT:toxic Canadian thistles
  • From: dwiris@aol.com
  • Date: Sun, 30 Sep 2001 00:25:47 EDT

Hi Laurie,

Our 1.2 acres in a city are also overrun with Canadian thistles and horses 
tail and goldenrod.  The irises are mostly planted in rows so my husband can 
rototill between rows, but the weeds still come up in between the irises in 
the rows.  One section was so bad this summer that he decided it was beyond 
hope and ran the riding lawnmower over all the rows in the section and then 
sprayed with Roundup.  I was upset that he did this because there were some 
recent introductions that I wanted to save.  Most of the weeds were killed 
and many of the irises, but lo and behold a lot of irises sent up new shoots. 
 So I figured I could still save some.  The only problem is that he had 
pulled out all the tags he could see before using the lawnmower.  Fortunately 
some tags were lying down and helped locate some of the irises.  I think many 
of the irises were dead before all this.  I never thought about the thistles 
being toxic; just thought they crowded and shaded the irises.  Actually, the 
goldenrod seems to crowd out the thistle and the irises and where a clump of 
grass engulfed an iris plant it seemed to do in the iris more than the other 
weeds.  We have about 1000 iris plants in this garden to take care of and 
about 2000 iris plants in a public display garden.  The public garden has its 
own set of weeds, mostly different from our home garden.  We are ages 70 and 
75 and both suffer from arthritis so it is increasingly difficult for us to 
keep up with all of this.  There is one iris society member who occasionally 
helps weed at the public garden, but otherwise we are on our own.  You can't 
pay anyone to weed.

Dorothy Willott in Northern Ohio, Zones 5/6

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