A common type of weed most homeowners and gardeners hate to see sprouting up on their turf is thistle. A tough weed to kill, the flower heads on thistles possess thousands upon thousands of thistle seeds, which allows them to spread at an exponential rate both above and below the soil. Knowing the best strategies for how to get rid of thistle will help you rid your garden and lawns of these pesky intruders before they completely take over.
When it comes to divesting your lawn of this noxious weed, several homemade thistle killer recipes use natural ingredients that are safe to use around pets and small children. Take care not to spray your desirable plants; however, since many of these weed control solutions will also take out any other vegetation in the area.
By following these helpful tips on how to kill thistle weeds, you’ll succeed in ridding your yard of these invasive plants and sparing your prized vegetable garden from annihilation no matter which method you choose.
Killing Thistle Weeds with Ease
Before you begin, it’s essential to know that there are two main types of thistles and two distinct ways of attacking these weeds. The first is Bull Thistle (Cirsium vulgare), also known as spear thistle, which is a biennial plant.
The other is Canadian Thistle (Cirsium arvense), a perennial. Noting these differences is vital when using proper extraction methods.
Hand Pull Young Bull Thistle
As a biennial, Bull Thistle forms a small rosette just above ground level in its first year of growth, before developing a much more complex root system in its later years. Easier to remove than Canada Thistle, Bull Thistle is by no means a weak weed.
The best way to remove this type of thistle is while they’re still young flower heads and haven’t had enough time to lay down as many roots. To do this, use a small shovel, hand rake, or even a fork to dig out the weed.
Wetting the soil is a great way to loosen up the earth before digging. Remove all parts of the plant, including any pieces of the tap root below the surface. Place the discarded weed into a garbage bag, then toss out when finished.
Basic Weed Killing Formula with Vinegar
Canadian Thistle, or any perennial thistles, exhibit a much more extensive root system than their biennial cousins. Because of this intricate design, it’s critical to remove new thistle as quickly as possible, though this often requires the aid of a weed killer to do so.
One great way to kill thistles is by using acetic acid. No, you don’t have to go out and buy this fancy-sounding acid, you probably already have this natural way to get rid of weeds in your pantry already. Acetic acid is nothing more than plain old white vinegar.
An organic poison ivy killer, vinegar is a great way to eliminate weeds on contact, especially when combined with other helpful ingredients like dish soap and salt. While higher concentrations of vinegar work best, such as horticultural vinegar with 20% acetic acid content, cider or white vinegar work just as well.
Spray the weed once a week until the plant dries out completely. After the plant withers and browns, removing it from the ground, roots and all, is a piece of cake.
Use this simple solution to get rid of creeping Charlie organically, too. Most weeds respond well to this recipe and die quickly. Pulling the dead plant up by hand ensures that it does not grow back in the same place.
Create a Homemade Thistle Killer with Gin
Similar to their biennial counterparts, perennial thistles spread by seeds, but they also expand by way of rhizomes, which includes their roots underneath. One excellent way to counteract this is by using a gin spray that attacks weeds at the roots, stopping their ability to spread new plants before you’ve even had a chance to finish weeding.
In addition to being the perfect weapon for damaging root systems of thistle and other unwanted weeds in your yard or garden, this recipe is also a fantastic recipe for a natural weed killer. Once you’ve treated the area, remove the thistle by yanking it out at the roots.
You may also want to take preventative measures to keep thistle from growing back later in the same area or anywhere in the yard. Some ways you can do this are by mowing regularly or planting ground cover plants in gardens with taller plants so that thistle doesn’t have the opportunity to develop.
How to Kill Thistle Weeds with Roundup
Another great way to get rid of thistle is by using a store-bought weed killer like Roundup. Using chemical herbicides that require no mixing or preparation ahead of time, these commercial products eliminate common weeds like dandelions and thistle without a problem.
The activating ingredient in Roundup is glyphosate, which penetrates down into the earth to attack the plant roots. When using this thistle spray, coat every part of the thistle with the herbicide until it soaks deep into the soil.
If there are plants nearby that you don’t want to be affected by the Roundup spray, then shield them using a piece of cardboard. Allow for at least three days to pass before you notice results in thistle plants.
If they’ve started to wilt and brown, they are ready to be pulled from the ground. Prevent thistle from growing back near other plants by placing wood chips or mulch around them.
Getting Rid of Thistle Using Lemon Juice
Lemon juice acts similarly to vinegar when it comes to killing weeds. The high acidic level breaks down the composition of the plant, drying it out and preventing it from retaining moisture. This drying process works even faster on a hot, sunny day, so timing your weed control regimen to accommodate this will work to your advantage.
Pour the two ingredients into a large empty spray bottle. If you don’t have a spray bottle large enough, mix the vinegar and lemon juice in a blender and pour the contents into your spray bottle as needed.
Apply this solution over the weeds using the spray bottle, making sure you coat every part of the plant. Repeat the process once a week until the plant is ready to be pulled from the ground.
Alternatively, you can make your own bleach based homemade weed killer with the above recipe but substitute bleach in place of the lemon juice.
Knowing what kills thistles and how to use these ingredients properly is your first step to a weed-free lawn. While nobody likes weeds, they are a little bit more palatable when you know the best strategies for ousting them from your yard.
We hope these helpful weed control tips led you to your new favorite homemade thistle killer. If you enjoyed learning all about ridding your yard of thistle weeds, don’t forget to share how to get rid of thistle with everyone you know on Facebook and Pinterest.