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How To Kill Thistles In Lawn

How To Kill Thistles Organically Without Chemicals

How to kill thistles organically in your vegetable garden or yard.

by Alec McClennan, on August 16, 2019

You’re heard the saying about a weed being any plant growing where it isn’t wanted? I can tolerate a variety of “weeds” in a lawn, but Thistles are not one of them. Thistles are frustrating, especially if you’re trying to have a kid friendly lawn. What kid wants to walk barefoot on a prickly thistle? Not mine. So, what options are there if I don’t want to use potentially dangerous chemicals on the lawn?

Small Plants & Seedlings:

Cultivate prolifically: Thistle weeds demand dry, empty, and uncovered or unshaded soils for germination. If you pull off the weeds, they may leave roots and again grow up. As they cant grow in shaded areas, you can plant your favorite plants prolifically. For that their shadow diminishes the weeds and cant re-spout. Thistles are sun-loving plants. Keeping them away from the sun can vanish them.

Wrap it: Mulching thistle seeds can exclude the germination of new plants. Wrap the seedlings or mulch them to inhibit germination.


Snip smart: Mowing the lawn can inhibit maturing of thistle weeds. But it doesnt kill weeds at all. You better cut small thistle plants at the ground level. Shipping weakens their germination and finally kills them.

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Spreading Mulch In The Soil

After cutting the thistle or if you just want to stop the weeds from growing entirely, then spreading mulch over the ground is essential. You need to make sure that you are covering a heavy layer to keep the sunlight from penetrating in the soil.

Without the sunlight, the thistle wont be able to thrive and sprout. When mulching, it would be best to consider using pecan hulls, shredded wood chips, and as well as pine needles.

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Use A Spot Spray Weedkiller For Lawns

If the weed persists after digging them out, or the idea of digging weeds up sounds like too much hard work, you can give them a blast with a spot spray weed killer for lawns, such as Scotts Weedol Lawn Weedkiller Spot Spray or Resolva Spot Spray Weedkiller for Lawns.

However, if youve got a bigger problem and its taken over your lawn along with other types of weeds like Daisies or Clover, for example, youll need to treat the whole lawn.

Create A Basic Weed Killing Formula

How to Kill Thistles Organically, Without Chemicals

Now, its obvious that you wont just have to deal with Bull Thistle all the time. There are going to be times where you will be confronted with the pesky problem of the Canada thistle. The Canada thistle has a considerably more complex root system as compared to its biennial counterpart.

Importantly, due to the complicated design, you need to make sure that you remove the thistle as efficiently as you can, but this wont be possible if you try to do it by hand. No, its much more efficient if you make use of a weed killer to get rid of the problem.

One of the best ways to get rid of a weed infestation in your garden is to make use of acetic acid. Theres no need for you to go out and buy the acid yourself you will probably have quite a store of acetic acid available in your pantry already. In the simplest of terms, acetic acid is just your old-fashioned vinegar.


Acetic acid is widely regarded as a potent poison ivy killer, and its completely organic. Its able to kill weeds directly on impact, especially when you combine it with other ingredients, such as salt or dish soap.

Now, while highly concentrated vinegar is going to do an excellent job, you should know that conventional vinegar will work just as well. You can also find horticultural vinegar in the market, which contains around 20% acetic acid.

But, you need to know that this is not an overnight process. You will have to spray the weed at least once a week until it completely dries out.

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Why Weed Killers Dont Always Kill Thistle

Many gardeners, frustrated at the seemingly perpetual battle with this garden tyrant, reach for chemical herbicides out of sheer desperation. Unfortunately, chemicals only kill the leaves and flowers. But the uninitiated gardener is at first satisfied since the scourge of her garden appears to be deceased.


What the gardener doesnt realize is that the herbicide has done nothing to the thistle weeds massive and deep root system, which will produce new shoots and foliage shortly after, confounding the chemical-wielding gardener in all manner. Of course, one could perpetually spray, but they would also wipe out all of the surrounding plants. Herbicides kill indiscriminately, not to mention their effect on wildlife, soil, and your health. Organic control of thistle is more effective than chemical control, although it requires some diligence and considerable elbow grease.

Is Canada Thistle Safe

Canada thistle is not a safety concern. However, its no fun to step on with bare feet.

If you have kids who like to roll around in the grass, youll hear about it if they find a thistle! Pets and wildlife shy away from thistle plants because of their prickly natural defense mechanism.

If one of those thorny barbs ends up in your hand or foot, simply remove it with tweezers, like you would a sliver. They contain no harmful toxins.

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Stop The Spread Of Seed Heads

Those pretty purple flower heads contain hundreds of seeds that easily spread. If you see a thistle flower, immediate cut off the flower head, place it in a plastic bag and throw it away. Because the composting process most often doesn’t get hot enough to kill the seed, don’t compost the flower heads. Also, because thistle seeds and other weed seeds grow best on bare patches of dirt, try not to leave bare patches in the garden or yard.

How Do You Kill Thistle Weeds Naturally

How to Get Rid of Thistles in Your Yard – No Chemicals Needed!!

Out of sheer frustration, most gardeners use chemical herbicides in the hope that if they can just whack this garden tyrant they can take back control of their garden. They dont realize is that the use of these chemicals does not guarantee penetration of the very powerful root system. It often just kills the leaves and flowers above the surface. The other problem with chemicals, of course, is that they can damage other organisms, including surrounding plants, wildlife, soil, and your health.

Organic control of thistle is more effective than chemical control, although it requires some diligence and considerable elbow grease. Thistles can be controlled with homemade herbicides, uprooting, and prevention.

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Shade Is By Far The Best Way To Control Thistle

When it pops up in your shade garden, it has little energy to pop up again if you nip it in the bud. When it appears early in the season near your tomatoes, dont fret too much. By mid-season, the tomatoes will shade it out and the thistle will give up, assuming youve been knocking it back while young.


But give thistle a wide-open, sunny expense of clay soil, and all hell breaks loose, as it will fill up that space almost overnight. So the idea is to fill in every possible space in your garden with plants you love, to shade-out and out-compete the thistle seed and young shoots. If you have any open space, pop an annual or a ground cover in there, or use a nice vegetative mulch to fill it in and smother the thistle. If you dont allow thistle the opportunity to start, youll rarely see it.

How To Get Rid Of Thistle Weeds In 15 Ways

Do you know how to get rid of thistle weeds in your lawn garden?Before controlling the thistle, you should know about its nature. In this article, I will tell you the necessary things to control thistle in both natural and chemical ways. So, lets go step by step and follow the practices carefully, dont be so hasty.

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Minneapolis Lawn Care You Can Count On

When removing thistle weeds from your yard, avoid harsh chemicals that can be detrimental to the good parts of your lawn. Green Stuff Lawn is reliable and knowledgeable when it comes to weed control and lawn maintenance.

Trust our professional technicians to eliminate thistle from your lawn for good, and to create and maintain a lush, healthy lawn that can protect itself from further weed growth. Contact a Green Stuff Lawn technician to get started today.


Types Of Lawn Weeds And How To Get Rid Of Them

How To Kill Thistle Weeds in Your Yard Effortlessly 2020: Own The Yard

No one wants weeds in their yard, and were about to explain why. Imagine creeping lawn weeds appearing in your yard when you wake up in the morning. Its not a happy sight, but luckily, their growth isnt inevitable.

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There are many ways to find out which plants are weeds, how to get rid of them, and how to prevent them from growing again. We will cover that and more today in this guide on creeping lawn weeds.

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How To Identify Thistle Weed

When in flower, thistles are easy to identify. Mature thistles stand approximately 1.2m tall and feature a distinctive purple flower head.

The plant initially grows from a flat rosette of grey-green leaves that are toothed with spiny edges. These leaves are covered in fine, downy hairs, giving them a woolly appearance.

As thistle weeds grow, a tall main stem will emerge, from which the flower will develop. These flower heads can grow up to 60mm in diameter, with spiky modified leaves, known as bracts, at the base of the flower. Flowers appear in late-spring early-summer.

How Do You Kill Thistles Without Chemicals

How to Kill Thistles Organically, Without Chemicals

  • Step 1: Purchase an Organic Weed Killer. WEED BEATER FE.
  • Step 2: 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.
  • Step 3: Mow the Lawn.
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    Thistle Is A Pioneer Plant

    Thistle is whats called a pioneer plant, like dandelion: Give them bare earth, and they will fill it in promptly. This pioneering actually provides a great service in the wild, by protecting the soil from erosion until larger plants can take over, and by feeding pollinators like bees and butterflies where little else may exist. And by virtue of thistles deep tap roots and extensive root systems, many air pockets and water pathways are created in the hard soil, encouraging the soil ecosystem along. So dont hate on thistle too much its only doing its job.

    What Is Canada Thistle

    How to easily remove thistles without chemicals

    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.

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    Relieve Soil Compaction By Aerating

    Compacted soil means nutrient-deficient soil.

    Soil compaction occurs when the lawn is used often. This might be the kids playing on it or the dog using it to do their business or using a certain part of the lawn regularly. Goalposts, washing lines or where the postman walks to get to your front door are all good examples.

    The particles of soil beneath the grass get pressed together over time which squeezes out air and water. It also prevents air, water and other nutrients from getting into the soil so the grass cant consume them, produce food and grow.

    Again, the result is a patchy lawn, sometimes with complete bald spots of hard soil.

    Weeds love this kind of environment!

    Aeration involves either spiking the surface of the lawn or removing cores of turf via hollow-tining .

    This creates space in the soil to allow water, oxygen and nutrients to penetrate. It also relaxes the soil, making it easier for roots to grow and establish themselves, resulting in a healthy lawn full of healthy grass.

    Read: Lawn Aeration: Everything You Need to Know About Aerating Your Lawn

    Seedlings And Small Plants

    • Plant prolifically. Thistle seedlings germinate in empty, unshaded soil. Pulling them may leave a portion of root behind, which will re-sprout in time. In your flower or vegetable garden, plant densely around the thistle. As your chosen plants mature, their shade ultimately weakens and kills the sun-loving baby thistle weeds.
    • Cover it. Mulch eliminates thistle seed germination and smothers new plants. Use it around new plants as they gain size, and cover vacant soil.
    • Snip smart. In lawns, snip small thistle at the soil level. While mowing prevents it from maturing, it does not kill it. Snipping must be done regularly to eventually weaken and kill the small plant.

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    Other Methods For Getting Rid Of Thistle And Bamboo Weed

    People have used other methods of getting rid of thistle and bamboo. Managed livestock grazing programs have been used to get rid of both thistles and bamboos. Some herbicides and other weed control products have also been used. For other ideas for getting rid of bamboo and thistles, contact your state extension service. They may know other methods that work best for your area.

    Purchase An Organic Weed Killer

    Thistle Facts

    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.

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    Can You Choose Thistle Meals

    Customers within Thistles local delivery zone, which includes certain cities in California, Oregon, Washington, and Nevada, can select meals and adjust their plan to accommodate allergies or food preferences. However, customers outside this zone receive a preset selection of meals based on their plan.

    When Does Canada Thistle Grow

    Because its a perennial plant, Canada thistle never dies. It comes back every spring and, if left unchecked, can become a real nuisance.

    Once firmly anchored in the ground, it can spread quickly via a robust root system. Vertical tap roots can penetrate up to six feet into the soil searching for water and nutrients. Sideways-growing rhizomes, 12 to 18 inches underground, can grow up to 12 feet per year, allowing Canada thistle to aggressively spread and propagate. That makes killing it difficult.

    And as if that wasnt enough, each of those beautiful purple flowers will distribute up to 5,000 seeds, effortlessly spread over your landscape by the wind. Seeds can stay viable in the soil for up to 20 years before germinating when conditions are right.

    Canada thistle can be found in all 12 Canadian provinces and territories and 43 of 50 U.S. states, avoiding the South and Southeast for the most part. Canada thistle is considered a noxious weed in most states, meaning its control is required by law.

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    How To Prevent Canada Thistle

    Weed prevention always begins with promoting a healthy lawn. Weeds are the result of a bad lawn, not the cause of it. Weeds exist because theyre opportunistic.

    These are your best defenses against Canada thistle:

    • Fertilize your lawn regularly, two to four times a year depending on where you live.
    • Core aerate at least once a year to relieve soil compaction and stimulate grass growth.
    • Do your best to keep your lawn well watered. This can be difficult without an in-ground sprinkler system, but do your best.
    • If you detect thin areas in your lawn, overseed with a quality grass seed mixture.

    Aerating Your Lawn Can Work Wonders

    How to Get Rid of Thistle – 3 Tips

    Walking on your lawn is bad for grass and good for weeds. It compacts the soil and prevents air, water, and nutrients from reaching into the ground. If the conditions in the soil are poor, grass cannot grow, but thistles still can.

    Invest in an aerator even a cheap, manual one and use it occasionally. It works best if you take the time to cover your whole lawn and not merely where you have a problem with weeds. Again, anything that is good for grass growth is bad for weeds.

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