Although some native thistles are beneficial to our landscapes, they’re not usually welcome in the lawn! Native and nonnative species easily take over lawn and planting beds, but if you follow our recommendations you can banish thistles from your yard.
These european invaders of North America have deep roots and are hard to dig out. They have taken over agricultural fields and are found along roadsides and stubbornly growing between the cracks in your patio! They’re easily identified by their lavender flowers and spiny gray-green leaves, which also make them painful to remove! Thistles thrive in wet or dry soil. They are difficult to control, to say the least!
The thistle weed likes to grow where the ground has been cultivated. The fluffy, floating seeds, can be carried for miles by the wind. It also has another trick in claiming its noxious weed title: it can secrete chemicals into the ground from its roots, discouraging the growth of any other plants around it. This ‘Allopathic’ trait, when combined with all the others, makes the thistle weed a highly successful plant.
To combat thistles and other invasive weeds, the first step is to improve your soil. Nourished soil, teeming with beneficial microbes, organic matter, and nutrients will give your landscape and lawn the food it needs to not just grow, but also to thrive. Once your landscape is flourishing, noxious weeds such as the thistle, will find it harder to succeed.
In your personalized plan, defined by your soil test, we include many measures to improve your landscape, and lead to the successful flourishing yard you always wanted. Getting rid of thistles is particularly challenging. We recommend a thick layer of bark mulch covering all of your landscape beds. This prevents it’s prolific seeding. In lawns, thistles may still take root, but the turf will be strengthened by our FertileTea and aeration, and any previously bare spots will be covered with thriving grass, crowding out any weeds.
Earthdance Organics recommends use of organic pre-emergent herbicides to treat weeds. Corn gluten meal is used to prevent new seeds from growing roots when they germinate. The shoots that grow, will die quickly with no root support.
Treatment with organic herbicides is safer than conventional weed killers. They have low toxicity and break down quickly, making it safe for your family and pets to enjoy the yard. These are used to treat any weeds already present. When used in conjunction with the pre-emergent herbicide, the combination can be very effective.
A combination of cultural control (soil treatment) and organic weed treatment, can help you realize your goal of a safe, beautiful, healthy lawn and landscape.
Check out our recent topical blog posts for tips on organic gardening and environmental issues.