EXTENSION CONNECTION: Here's how to control thistle

Published: Tuesday, April 8, 2014 at 05:28 PM.

Nine known thistle species exist here in Florida. The weeds — most of which live two years — can be evil-looking in our backyards and pastures.

The key to controlling thistles is to keep them from flowering and producing seeds.

Mechanical or hand removal is effective, but may not be efficient. To hand remove, cut off the entire rosette just below the soil surface or cut off the bolt before it flowers.

This is tedious if you have a large amount of thistle on your property. Mowing can mechanically cut the bolt and stop seed production but is less effective because not all thistles bolt and flower at the same time.

Herbicides are often more flexible and less time consuming. However, timing is important. Thistles in the rosette stage are the most susceptible to herbicides but are hardest to see in the field since they lay flat on the ground.

Once thistles bolt, they are harder to kill with herbicides. Using 2,4-D, thistles are easily controlled in the rosette stage but are only 40 percent controlled at flowering. 2,4-D is an Organo-auxin herbicide, and anyone who applies this herbicide must follow the Florida Organo-auxin Herbicide Rule.



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