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Author Topic: Thistles- What gets rid of them  (Read 3719 times)

minibn

  • Joined Jun 2012
Thistles- What gets rid of them
« on: June 13, 2018, 05:15:38 pm »
Hi,
I have an issue with thistles, they seem to be multiplying by the year. I have strimmer them all back without success. I don't like using weed killer as this seems to kill everything.

Anyone got any ideas or found anything that works? The fields are grazed by 5 horses and 4 sheep. Only one field seems to have major issues. The fields are not over grazed as I rotate the horses/sheep. Not even the sheep are interested, even though they will each pretty much everything.

Thanks for reading

Emily

landroverroy

  • Joined Oct 2010
Re: Thistles- What gets rid of them
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2018, 05:41:36 pm »
Donkeys!
Rules are made:
  for the guidance of wise men
  and the obedience of fools.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Thistles- What gets rid of them
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2018, 07:22:20 pm »
There has been another thread on this topic just a few days ago, so check out the answers there.


There are two main type of thistles which are a nuisance in pasture - creeping thistle and spear thistle, and they need different treatment.


Creeping thistle can be eliminated by regular cutting, best with a lawnmower which collects the clippings.  Eventually (a few years) the creeping thistle will have lost any energy it ever had and will stop growing. 
Spear thistle can be dug out by hand but timing is important.  Wait until a flower shoot has come up, but the first bud is just short of opening (usually May-July), then dig out, tap root and all.  The plant has then invested all its energy in its flower stalk so is less likely to regrow if you have accidentally missed a bit of the root.  Depending on your acreage, clearing spear thistle by hand can seem daunting, especially as they do reappear next year, but we have virtually eliminated them on our land, without a single drop of weedkiller. 
Spear thistles are mainly biennials so spread by seed, whereas creeping thistles are perennials, which spread by roots.
Spear thistles have drawn up plenty of nutrients from deep down, so are very nutritious and would be a useful source of compost, if you could get the heap hot enough to kill any seeds.  We usually burn ours but we are aware that it's a huge waste of a great resource.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2018, 07:28:32 pm by Fleecewife »
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

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SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Thistles- What gets rid of them
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2018, 10:08:58 pm »
My Fell Ponies will eat the flowers of spear thistles, which is very helpful :). They only take the heads off when the plants are in flower, though, so you'd need to have them in the field at the right time ;)
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Derbyshire Hillbilly

  • Joined Apr 2016
  • Derbyshire
Re: Thistles- What gets rid of them
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2018, 09:34:37 am »
I used to wait until July (unless they were going to seed earlier) and top them. Then when they greened up again give them some Grazon 90 and to be honest I don't really get any anymore.

Penninehillbilly

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • West Yorks
Re: Thistles- What gets rid of them
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2018, 01:55:53 pm »
I was digging ours out with a Ragfork at the weekend, goats found a gap in the fence (flattened it actually) and came to help me, they were happily taking the flowers while I was digging others up. Teamwork  ;D .

Backinwellies

  • Global Moderator
  • Joined Sep 2012
  • Llandeilo Carmarthenshire
    • Nantygroes
    • Facebook
Re: Thistles- What gets rid of them
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2018, 02:28:32 pm »
depends on type of thistle 
Linda

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Black Sheep

  • Joined Sep 2015
  • Briercliffe
    • Monk Hall Farm
Re: Thistles- What gets rid of them
« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2018, 09:07:59 pm »
I was digging ours out with a Ragfork at the weekend

Oh how I know that feeling! Have filled a builders ton back with ones I've pulled so far!

mart6

  • Joined Sep 2014
  • Notts / Yorkshire border
Re: Thistles- What gets rid of them
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2018, 06:34:59 pm »
I was digging ours out with a Ragfork at the weekend, goats found a gap in the fence (flattened it actually) and came to help me, they were happily taking the flowers while I was digging others up. Teamwork  ;D .
My boers love thistles and docks  field was full of thistles (before)


(after)
« Last Edit: July 05, 2018, 06:44:49 pm by mart6 »

bazzais

  • Joined Jan 2010
    • Allt Y Coed Farm and Campsite
Re: Thistles- What gets rid of them
« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2018, 10:04:44 pm »
I've sharpened up the edge of a golf club and take my anger out on them when i take the dogs out for a walk.

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Thistles- What gets rid of them
« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2018, 02:04:27 pm »
Exactly, Scarlet Dragon!  Please will you pass on details of my new business to any frustrated executives you know?  £50 buys you an hour in my paddock with a sharpened golf club and all the thistles you can swipe at!
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

cans

  • Joined May 2013
Re: Thistles- What gets rid of them
« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2018, 02:46:56 pm »
Womble, the way work has been going lately I would have cleared your paddock !  ::)  :roflanim:

cans

  • Joined May 2013
Re: Thistles- What gets rid of them
« Reply #12 on: July 29, 2018, 07:42:14 am »
Womble, the way work has been going lately I would have cleared your paddock !  ::)  :roflanim:

Wow, work must be paying well Cans!

You must be joking!    :roflanim:

Id use my hard earned almost non existent tips which I dont spend each month as am saving up for a haircut and a new ........ you donít need to know that bit!!!

A lot of frustration can go a long way




 
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