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Country Discussion Topics
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Thistles and nettles.
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EJ    Posted 04-28-2003 at 16:02:40       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I've got a small pasture (4-5 acres) that is steadily being overrun by various kinds of thistles and stinging nettles. I've tried cutting them down, plucking them out and spot spraying with Roundup but nothing so far has made an appreciable difference. Short of spraying the whole thing with a herbicide, plowing it under and starting again, does anybody have any ideas that might help control these things?
Thanks in advance.


rhudson    Posted 04-29-2003 at 23:20:30       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Hi EJ, if its realy bad, try boom spraying 24d. will not kill grass, but does a number on any clover thats in the field. if not so bad or you finally get it under control try backpack spot spraying 24d. like others said, it will always be somewhat a problem. i have a small 12v sprayer mounted in a gator. my son and i make sport of spot spraying the pastures every dozen or so days. you might want to try torching any blooms that come to seed.


DL    Posted 04-29-2003 at 23:19:23       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Thistles are designated as obnoxious weeds here. The soil here is heavy clay. Most pasture are covered by rye grass. However, the roots of rye grass is less than an inch deep. It does very little to improve the soil. On the other hand the main root of the thistle is thick and can go almost one feet deep in this heavy clay soil. It helps to improve the soil. I have not seen any place that is over taken by thistle. Mostly they are scattered and isolated. So I'm wondering that maybe a couple thistles here or there is ok.


screaminghollow    Posted 04-29-2003 at 11:59:14       [Reply]  [No Email]
I read in the Lancaster Farmer that spraying the pasture with a 5% vinegar solution kills thistle but not grass. Now where you get Vinegar that strong is beyond me. Imagine the whole neighborhood smelling like a pickle factory.


farmerwilly    Posted 04-29-2003 at 05:45:01       [Reply]  [No Email]
if it pasture land check the fenceing good then run u some goats in there....they seam to like the bad weeds better then the grass


Tom A    Posted 04-29-2003 at 04:27:03       [Reply]  [Send Email]
EJ:

Fighting these things, especially the thistles, is a never-ending battle because only one that goes to seed will spread tens of thousands of potential new plants. You have to aggressively wack out any blooming thistles, no mercy, no exceptions. I'll walk half a mile out of my way if I see a thistle bloom in the distance. Then, kill the existing plants...I use a weed puller in the spring and walk my pastures with it and a bucket to get as many as I can; first couple of years I spot sprayed with Roundup, too; some of these things are really tough and would require more than one spraying to actually kill.

Over time--took about 2 or 3 years for me--they'll suddenly become greatly reduced, but they will never go away...let one or two bloom and they'll be back the next year in spades!

Tom


Hal/WA    Posted 04-28-2003 at 23:15:27       [Reply]  [No Email]
You might want to contact your County Extension Agent for recommendations on how to control the weeds. Some thistles are not too bad to deal with, but Canada thistle is a real challenge once they are established. I have tried using Roundup with some success, carefully spot spraying, but it seems like I can never get them all. The broadleaf herbicides knock the Canada thistle down, but it usually comes back again.

You also might want to talk to some of the real farmers in your area to see what they use. Lots of the chemicals require a license to get and/or use them, but some of them work lots better than the stuff you can buy over the counter. The farmer might be set up with the proper license and with the equipment to spray acreage. Possibly he would be willing to do a little custom work on your pasture for a fee.

In my area, nettles only grow where it stays wet all year, like creek banks. We never had much trouble with them, as it seemed like the cattle ate them very well. We even had a cow that preferred the immature blooms of Canada thistle to anything else, but that is a different story. Good luck fighting the weeds. You are not the only one.....


Sid    Posted 04-28-2003 at 20:08:19       [Reply]  [No Email]
I keep a sharp short handled hoe handy when I see a thistle in my pastures or hay field I stop chop it off and put a small handful of stock salt on the stump. No expensive sprays just a little effort I do not spend the entire day doing it just make it a part of normal routine. Yes I will miss one or two but I find fewer and fewer each year. As for the nettle if it is the same thing we call bull nettle. If I do not cut for hay I will mow that pasture at least twice a year and fertilize grass and sow clover seems to crowd it out. It is not an overnight cure but does not require a lot of expense. Just my thoughts on what works for me.


Linda    Posted 04-28-2003 at 16:35:52       [Reply]  [No Email]
There is a current discussion on getting rid of thistles on www.agforum.net. Go to The Front Porch & click on the "Stinkin' Thistles" thread.


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