A Thorny Situation & Seeking a Permanent Solution

Whenever I visit my son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren, I get a bit restless during the daytime while they are all at work and at school. I start looking for something to do and inevitably end up in the garden. I don’t know why, but I find it way more enjoyable pulling weeds in their garden than I do at home.

They have this one particularly evil weed that has the thorns from you-know-where! It grows 3 feet tall in the space of a few weeks and is absolutely covered with vicious thorns from top to bottom.

 

The first pair of gloves I purchased on Amazon that were supposed to be designed for working with thorny roses, didn’t cut it. The thorns managed to find their way through the sides of the gloves. I finally found some that were rubberized all around the fingers. Even with those, the occasional thorn finds its way in. OUCH!

In this picture below, you can see the evil weed growing on the side of their home where I haven’t yet weeded. This weed’s only saving virtue is that the honey bees love it. If you look closely, you can see a bee zooming around one of the blossoms below.

 

Here’s a close up…recognize it? My daughter-in-law called it by name but I’ve forgotten it now. It’s a bad weed, a very bad weed!

 

Here’s the area in front where I’ve already pulled it out. I still have a few tiny weeds to remove, but the evil weed is at least gone.

 

This is the other area where I’ve already removed it.

 

I purchased this fabric weed block at a local Ace Hardware. I was thinking of placing it in the areas up front where I’ve already weeded, then covering it over with additional mulch. I know fabric weed block can be annoying if you want to plant something later, but there are no plans for that right now.

As I recall, weed block fabric comes in different thicknesses. Hopefully, the type I purchased will block this nasty weed from coming back in the places I spread it.

 

Have you ever had a super thorny, fast-growing weed in your garden? How did you get rid of it? Have you used the fabric weed block before and did it work?

 

While you’re here, is this plant below a weed? I have a feeling it is but the foliage is so pretty, I wasn’t sure. I don’t want to pull it out if it’s a real plant and not a weed plant. lol I have a feeling it’s just a weed. It’s growing in a couple of places here on the side of the house.

I hope you are having a weed-free summer, thus far! Appreciate your suggestions for fighting this nasty weed above and getting rid of it for good!

 

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Comments

  1. Susan, I have an issue with a different weed that spreads like ground cover. I don’t want to use weed killer since it’s in a bed of plants. I had success with boiling water. Maybe you could try it and get it close to the stem so other plants aren’t affected. We put landscape fabric in this bed and have weeds galore. Most are easy to pull out but we have so many more than before the landscape fabric. From what I’ve researched, this is a problem with landscape fabric. They say 9 layers of newspaper work better. Haven’t tried that yet. Will look forward to what others recommend and what you end up trying.

    • PatinCal says

      Another vote for boiling water. It’s the least ecologically problematic of any solution to the problem. I use it to keep my gravel paths reasonably weed free.

      • Def can’t do the boiling water method. They are approximately three feet tall and there are tons of them so it would take a lot of trips and I know I would burn myself trying to pour boiling water over a 3 ft tall weed. I know my son/dil won’t have time to pour boiling water over them when they start returning after being pulled out…and they will start returning in new places. They spread like crazy.

        • PatinCal says

          I should have said that you cut them back (wearing the Lee Valley rose gloves) first. Then pour the water over the “stump”. Then boil the heck out of the new seedlings.

          • Unfortunately, there are just too many. Carrying boiling water from the stove to the garden would scare me and it would take a lot since there are so many.

            • PatinCal says

              I guess I’m not going to convince you, but…I use a teakettle and grey water.

              • I don’t doubt you at all, it’s just there are sooo many of these things growing up all throughout the garden. I pulled about 75 out just in front two beds and another 25 or so from the rear bed. There’s probably about that many on the side, maybe more. That would be good to do when they start coming up again, but it would be a lot of daily or weekly trips out with hot water. I’m going to try Preen to see if I can at least stop new ones from seeding. From the comments and the info I found in forums online, thistle sounds like a never ending nightmare.

    • Sandy, unfortunately, we don’t have any newspaper. My son & dil don’t take the paper. It would take a lot of it to cover all the areas. We can’t do the boiling water thing because there are so many of them. Also, it would scare me carrying boiling water through the house down the front steps to the garden…just not worth the risk of getting burned. I guess I’ll just have pull them and perhaps try some Preen in the garden. I used that many years ago at home and it did help with weeds, but they weren’t this type weed.

      • You can get outdated grocery store ads. I have used newspaper for years. You wet it in a bucket of water and even though it falls apart, it lasts forever. I hate that black cloth weed blocker. Weeds grow through it, then you can’t pull the black cloth up later. My weed isn’t just like that and it numbs your fingers. Somebody said it’s thistle. So for me, old newspaper and pine bark work best.

      • Connie Anzelone says

        Check around the grocery stores. They usually offer free newspapers that you can take and use. I have used the newspapers and they last the whole summer. A lot of work but so worth it. White vinegar works, but I dont know that I would put it in the actual garden. I use it on a hot sunny day in the cracks of my sidewalk. Good luck!

        • So, thistle can’t break through the paper? This stuff is so thick/strong…wondering if the paper will block it. Maybe it will when it’s just coming out of the ground. Thanks!

    • Sandy, good luck with your weed! I know how frustrating it is to have one that’s hard to control.

    • Jo Marie Gray says

      Sandy, Yes, we have used newspaper….wet it and mulch on top of it. It lasts for a few years.

      Susan, The thorny weed, we call Thistle….nasty stuff.

      And, yes, that second picture you showed is a weed.

      Our weeds are doing very well this year… lots of rain…UGH!

    • You can use cardboard, newspapers or magazines (maybe 1/3 cm thick?) to block weeds. Cover with mulch and it lasts for years.

  2. I do not know what your weed is, but isn’t there a local horticultural organization that can tell you what it is? In the county in which I live, there is one connected to the University of California.

  3. No idea the name of the thorny plant but interesting to find out. Can you tell me what the square stone work on their home is called? My childhood home was built like this but was torn down yrs. ago….would love to know what it was called. Love everything you post – have used many of your ideas. I’m south of Atl. Thank you !!

  4. Looks like whistle to me.

    • That is what I thought too. We have them in New Hampshire and they grow every year in the same spot. Since they are out there in the woods I leave them alone. Thistle is a cousin of the artichoke!!

  5. Anne Shaheen says

    I meant thistle!

  6. The thorny weed looks like Thistle. The other plant looks like the perennial Artemisia. It spreads rapidly.

  7. Patricia Mason says

    Your son and dil’s garden looks beautiful ! Isn’t it funny – I hate pulling weeds at my own house, but I go nuts at my daughters home pulling weeds and it feels so good !

    • lol Me, too. I don’t know why it’s more rewarding here…maybe because it feels like I’m helping them and it’s just no fun doing it at home.

  8. Susan Waters says

    The thorny “weed” is a field thistle. Clip the blooms off and pour salt over the left over plant. Once the plant is dead, use a hoe to remove the leftover plant. Hoe up those little thistles before they bloom.
    https://plants.usda.gov/factsheet/pdf/fs_cidi.pdf

    The second weed looks like either mugwort or common ragweed. A close up of the flowering part of the weed would be very helpful in making an accurate identification.
    http://identifythatplant.com/is-this-mugwort-or-something-else/

    • Thanks, Susan! I’m going to tell my son and dil that they have to be pulled before they bloom. Thanks for the links, I’ll check those out!

  9. I have that Artemisia and it spreads like wild fire. we used black plastic extra large garbage bags where we put down mulch and for 30 years seems to be working we get a weed now and then but they are easy to pull up. for the flower bed that is mulched I use Preen and that works very well. rls

  10. Kathryn H Peltier says

    Yes, that is common Thistle. It is prolific and hard to kill. Personally, I despise landscape fabric, because you need to cover it with something – usually mulch – which, along with other debris breaks down, and then provides a good environment for weed seeds to grow. Rather than pulling Thistle, which often doesn’t get the entire root, try spraying with a mixture of Dawn soap and vinegar. The soap keeps the vinegar on the plant. It may need several applications, but eventually it should kill the root, but it won’t hard the environment.

    • Joan Clanton says

      I have had very good luck with vinegar, salt and dish detergent. buy a gallon of vinegar. take the label off and with a sharpie, write WEED KILLER: 1 GALLON VINEGAR, 1 CUP SALT, 1/2 CUP DISH DETERGENT. pour a little vinegar into a measuring cup and add the salt, shake to mix then add the dish detergent. add as much reserved vinegar to fill the jug. add the rest to your dishwasher or a load of towels. pour some in a sprayer and spray in the morning on a hot, sunny day. your weeds will be brown by noon! use needle nose pliers from the dollar store to pull the weeds. works great!!!!

      • Ooohhhhh, I’m going to try this method…thank you, Joan!

      • Thanks for this recipe, Joan! I’ll share it with my son/dil and maybe they can use when the weeds/thistle starts coming back.

      • Don’t use SALT. It will poison the ground for your other plants. There is a type of vinegar sold at our grocery store called Cleaning Vinegar. It is a much stronger acid concentration. It is a better plant killer but doesn’t harm the soil unless your soil is already highly acid. You will still have to pull the roots, but with the tops gone it is easier. Needle nose pliers are a good tool or there are some week pullers you use standing up. They are good.

    • Thanks for those suggestions, Kathryn!

  11. I also believe it’s a thistle, the kind you see in pastures on a farm. I would get some Roundup and spray at the very base of the plant where it goes in the ground of course being super careful not to hit any other plants in the area. And make sure you spray any new ones that might come up long before they get to this stage. My father even went into his cow pasture and sprayed (and/or pulled) these he disliked them so much. I would assume they were bad for the cows since he went to that much trouble and his pasture was probably at least 40 acres.

    • That’s def what needs to be done here…they need to get pulled as soon as their start coming up again, before they get so big. I sympathize with your, Dad and admire his determination to try and get rid of them. I can’t imagine having to do that on 40 acres! Thanks, Alicia!

  12. Susan, I, too, think the pink weed is thistle. If it isn’t a bad spreader, maybe you could leave it for the bees. I also do some gardening for my Ohio relatives When I visit.

    • Susan, I also did a little reading and some thistles are native and not invasive and are recommended. If that is what you have, check and be sure if it’s good for your area.

      • These are covered in stickers and are very invasive. Unfortunately, they completely cover up all the shrubs…everything. I’m surprised the boxwoods they were surrounding hadn’t died. They are a nuisance and painful so they have to go. Plus, they try to take over the world.

  13. Robin Lambert says

    It is thistle. You have to pull them when they are short; don’t let them bloom and spread all those seeds! Mine all seem to grow in my perennial beds, so I have to pull them. After a rain is best when the ground is soft. The root is white and a few inches long. It does not come from feeding the birds what is commonly called thistle; that is actually niger seeds and doesn’t grow.

    • Yup, that’s the problem with them spreading here…they are not being pulled soon enough to avoid that. Robin, most of the thistle plants have had a 6-7 inch tap root but one plant in the backyard was impossible to get out. I had to take a shovel to it and still had trouble. When I finally, finally got it out, the root was about two feet long!!! I couldn’t belive it! It was the only one I saw in my weeding that had a root like that.
      Oh, yes…I know what you’re talking about with niger seeds, I’ve bought those for my Goldfinch feeder in the past.

  14. Lu in TN says

    The first weed is Canada thistle. Some folks call it field thistle. There is a free app you can use to identify plants. It is called PictureThis. Try it!

  15. Margaret says

    The thorny weed looks like thistle. Be careful, if you rake your skin across
    the leaf it will sting your skin.

  16. Carol Lupiani says

    Susan, Recently a friend told me there were apps for your phone to identify plants. We moved last year and I have lots of plants and weeds that I don’t know. I used one of the apps and now I can tell their names. I have an Android phone but there must be the same apps for IPhone.

  17. You might want to consult a local nursery or the local county Federal Extension Agency for the best way to get rid of the thistle problem. Some thistles have a web of thin roots, while others have a tap root. Leaving any part of the root will likely result in the thistle regrowing. In any case, cut off and get rid of the blooms immediately, so they won’t produce seeds to multiply the problem.

  18. Leslie Watkins says

    This is Thistle…national flower of Scotland. I love it. But then I haven’t had to deal with invasive issues in my own yard. Just know I loved it when I saw it in Scotland.

  19. Linda Rubin says

    It’s a weed

  20. We had great luck with layers of newspaper covered with mulch. Some weeds still grow since their seeds landed on the mulch afterwards, but then they were soooo easy to pull up.

  21. Yes, the pink blossom is a thistle; don’t know the other one, but as some have already commented, there is a nursery or county extension agent who could most likely identify it for you. As for gloves, if you ever need any again for thorny shrubs, plants or weeds, go to leevalley.com and search rose gloves. I would not attempt any thorny things without these gloves! Nothing penetrates them! I have had mine for years and just recently got a hole in the tip of one finger. Bought a less expensive pair from a local store, wore them once and threw them out. They only came in one size and did not fit my hands well and were not impenetrable like the rose gloves from Lee Valley. The cost of the rose globes are well worth it! Happy gardening.

    • Thanks, Ina…I will def check those out! I can’t believe occasionally a thorn can get through these rubbery things I purchased in Ace, but somehow they do.

  22. Jane Franks says

    Hi Susan! Your “weed” is Scottish Thistle, the national flower of Scotland!! Yes, they are indomitable, like the Scots!! You’ll enjoy (maybe!) this article!! We have them here to, and their roots must go to China! Bless your heart for weeding your son’s garden. You must be their favorite guest!
    https://www.scottish-at-heart.com/scottish-thistle.html

    • They have these long tap roots. Most come out easily but one in the backyard, I had to use a shovel and I swear the root was about 2 feet long!!! It was the granddaddy of allllll roots! lol Thanks, Jane…I’ll check out that article!

      • Jane Franks says

        The funny thing about the article is that the history is that the thistle helped the Scots win the battle against the Vikings way back when because the Vikings thought they would be clever and sneak up on the Scots in bare feet! Only one of the first Viking warriors to land stepped on one of the thistles and let out a howl that roused the Scots!! The rest, as they say, is history!! LOL

  23. I think it’s thistle. The only way we have been able to control it is to dig it up. Then we keep a close watch for new little plants near the first plant. Eventually, we get the area clear if the thistle. We live in the country, next to pastures. It grows in our lawn. We are northeast of Atlanta.

  24. I agree w/ Marcia on both plants. Artemisia is usually very invasive. Please don’t use Roundup. I have never used boiling water but have heard that before. I hate landscape fabric and have used the newspapers before; some refer to it as the lasagne of gardening because of the layering!

  25. It looks like a thistle to me. Spreads like wildfire

  26. Susy Howard says

    Hi! Love your posts, and thank you!
    l was wondering if you are going to change the logo at the top from winter to summer?
    l might be the only one who
    notices…or cares!! ♡

  27. Download Plantsnap App on your phone amd it will tell you what kind of plant is. Great for identifying all plants and flowers.

  28. Bonnie Gutierrez says

    Thistle it is! They pop up in my flower garden and they can be invasive and awkward to handle because of the thorns so definitely get the gloves. My best advice is to pull them before they get too big. I have never seen them flower so even though I knew they were Thistle, I didn’t think of the weed and flower as one and the same. Funnily, they were a component of my daughter’s wedding bouquet and it was beautiful!

    • I guess that’s why they keep popping up all over the place…they aren’t being pulled in time. I know, the flowers are actually rather pretty.

  29. Alice Genzlinger says

    The weed is thistle. A very noxious weed . The seeds will fly through the air and next year there will be a yard full.

  30. Hi Susan, A friend was just telling me this afternoon,that she poured white vinegar on the thistle after she had cut it off at the ground level and it hasn’t come back since. I don’t know if this will work, but it’s a cheap and easy fix if it does.

  31. Sandra D in Joliet says

    If you don’t want to carry boiling water but want to burn them…how about a blow torch? Some people put down the weed barrier and use a small blow torch where they want to plant a flower but I would be afraid to do that. I cut an X and dig out the dirt then plant the new plant. I’ve never used boiling water but I have poured a lot of salt at the base of poison ivy and it eventually dries it up. Never burn poison ivy as it gets in the air. I love DeWitt Pro Weed Barrier and it comes in different thicknesses. I go with at least 12 but love the 25 if I can find it. Those look like thistles and there’s an old saying “Cut your thistles before St. John or you will have two instead of one”. I heard that from a woman that designed a cross stitch pattern with the saying. She did some research and said poor people used to stuff pillows with thistle down so apparently they didn’t cut their thistles by St. John (June 24th). Sorry to say Your Late.

  32. Last year I had a part of my vegetable garden that didn’t get planted and a patch of thistle started in that area. When it bloomed (what can I say it was a terrible year) the garden was filled with bees and butterflies. I enjoyed the show and vowed this year to catch it sooner when they are small. I am tempted to leave a few off in a corner somewhere. Between the thistle and the milkweed my garden smelled heavenly.

  33. Nancy Hauge says

    Cut the weed at the base with long handled lopprrs. Use a pitch fork to load in wheel narrow. Dig the root out. No touching the thorns!

  34. I had spent the morning carrying one small pot of boiling water at a time to pour on this weed. Fortunately it’s not too far from the kitchen. It would be difficult to do it if you have to go very far or have too many weeds or steps to navigate. Not worth the risk of getting burnt. I got the Picture This app and it says it is Marsh seedbox, a primrose willow. Looking that up it says it’s found in boggy areas. We never get rain here so I don’t know if that is what this weed is. I’ll try the Plantsnap app and see if I get the same result. Good to know about the newspaper working and I had wondered about black garbage bags working.

  35. In situations like that one, I’d bite the bullet and use Round-up. I’m not afraid of it for spot spraying or spraying small areas, I use kitchen disposable gloves to protect my skin. Mix it in a spray bottle you’d use for ironing, and label the bottle. Use a stronger dose than required. Pre-mixed Round Up is worthless. An elderly couple with a beautiful yard told me the trick to using Round-up for spot spraying for protecting plants you don’t want to die. Cut a piece of cardboard to put between the weed and good plants, then spray. However with weeds that tall I’d chop them close to the ground before spraying, that way you don’t need to use as much spray. Seriously, if you want it gone, you need to use R.U. Thistle is a big no-no in my state.

  36. Get the Picture This app for your phone. It’s for Android or Apple. Take a picture of the plant and it will tell you what it is.

  37. I’m with Pam – rubber gloves and Round-Up – You probably need to make sure you kill the roots or remove all of them. I’d also give the whole garden a generous dose of Preen to try to keep the seeds from germinating (maybe a couple doses this summer and again before stuff sprouts in the spring of 2020).
    It is a shame that the bees love it (I love to watch honey bees).

  38. Margaret Chappell says

    Could the second plant be some sort of Mugwort?

  39. Jean from Georgia says

    The above was my thought, also. Lop it off at the bottom, then did up the root. It is a nasty weed.

  40. Melissa Rogan says

    Per the second plant. It nearly took over our yard. All I did was pull it up for three years. Planted 1 tiny clump. It was a pale pink mum looking plant. Roots were deep and spread everywhere.Do all of the suggestions!!!

  41. Robin Consani says

    “We can complain that a rose (thistle) bush has thorns, or rejoice that a thorn bush has roses” (thistle blossoms). All a matter of perspective. But invasive is hard.

  42. Don’t waste your time with landscape fabric. The weed seeds get on top of the fabric and mulch and the roots from those seeds can easily grow through the fabric. The fabric was designed to stop the green growth not the roots. What works the best is to weed the area and then put down Preen, a weed preventer.

  43. I have had great success with vinegar and salt. Cut the thistles and mugwort to the ground. Put straight white vinegar in a spray bottle. Spray the roots and soak them on a hot day. I also sprinkle salt on the wet weed. The vinegar gets them every time. the salt is absorbed by the wet plant and usually gets the roots. Skip the weed fabric. It is a hassle and never really defeats tough weeds like thistles. Once the weeds break through the fabric, you will have to start all over again.

  44. Yes, the first is thistle. We chopped and chopped in the bean fields. The second one, dear lady, my daddy called this hemp/marijuana when I was in those same bean fields 60 years ago. My husband just confirmed that is what they called it as well.

    I must say, with the rarity of bees these years, if I could have ruined their food supply and cause them to leave and not pollinate other real flowers. Poor bees.

  45. Judy Carrino says

    I have 3 thistles in my front garden and the best way to get rid of them is to dig them out. I dug one out two years ago and I guess I didn’t get it all. I don’t want to use boiling water, since it stands next to a rose bush that might be affected.

  46. It is thistle. We have it all over our beds now:( Joe sprays it with Roundup almost weekly!It is a real PIA! I THINK it grows on runners which is why it is so hard to get rid of. I am gory the vinegar, salt, Dawn suggestion too.

  47. The first thorny one is definitely a Thistle. I live in Indiana and they are everywhere in my flower beds. I never allow them to bloom before I pull them, but I’ve fought with them for decades. It must be a Midwest thing, and they have been especially bad this year with all the rain we’ve had.
    The other plant is a weed also, although not quite as nasty as the thistle. Thistles can survive just about anything you try to treat them with. They multiply prolifically and I swear they survived from prehistoric times just like cockroaches.

  48. Chris Wallace says

    The first plant does belong to the thistle family and it is a nuisance!!! In New Jersey, we have that weed but also a larger and much bigger, stronger, taller type of thistle. It’s a single thick stalk reaching 4-5 feet with purple flowers and seeds. It is also an herb that might be used for kidney function. This second thistle is a favorite of our state bird, the gold finch. I leave some of these thistles alone because I do enjoy seeing the birds play and pick at the seeds and fluff.

  49. Yep, thistle and mugwort. It’s so funny because I like the image of the thistle flower, but you are so right about it in the garden beds – it’s awful! Those tiny thorns are as if they know how to get on your skin’s nerves, literally. Bet your head was congested after being in all that weeding too, right? You did a great job in the areas you worked!

    A few years ago I helped my sister dig out old plants that were planted beneath that landscape fabric and you talk about you know what, it was nearly impossible to cut in order to get tangled roots out of it. Preen’s a good idea. I’m like you now, would rather weed in another’s garden than to do my own. I don’t miss it one bit!

  50. Elizabeth says

    Looks like Thistle to me. They have a tap root that reaches to China. Pulling said weed out does not usually work due to the deep tap root. Time for Roundup or a generic Roundup product. Roundup does not migrate and only attacks the plant it is applied to. I suggest when this plant reappears that it be cut to about 4 inches then the herbicide applied according to manufacturer’s directions.

  51. Definitely a thistle, maybe Canadian or Bull Thistle. Check with local garden center for Ohio State Extension for advice. The underground root system is extensive and your photos suggest extensive invasion so Roundup may be only solution and it will take more than one application. I would want to know if it is a waste of time and money to put down the landscape fabric until the weed is eradicated.

  52. A word of caution. Don’t ever get salt on concrete walks or driveways. If you use it on plants be careful and consider the areas where it might run to if it washes away. A good intentioned neighbor put salt on our driveway one winter and it damaged the concrete big time. It will do the same for walkways.

  53. It’s thistle, and it’s from you-know-where all right. Some people dig it up by the roots with a maddock.

  54. It appears to be Thistle. There are a lot of different varieties but they are all noxious weeds. Here’s a recipe my husband found on Facebook and the picture that accompanied it, was of about a one-foot wide area around a foundation that was devoid of all plant life. I haven’t tried it yet but plan to. This is what the post said and the recipe:

    “This is how well the vinegar, epsom salt, dawn dishwashing soap works. I sprayed around the outside of the garden on Wednesday and this is how it looks now one day later. 1 gallon of vinegar, 1 1/2 cups epsom salts and 2 tablespoons dawn dishwashing soap. No Roundup needed!! #simplyclean”

    Definitely worth a try.

  55. Biodynamic Barb says

    I think thistles are beautiful! And, they’re edible: http://www.eattheweeds.com/thistle-touch-me-not-but-add-butter-2/. We had a planter box garden on our roof deck 15 years ago and planted them on purpose.

    I know this isn’t what you want to hear, but our bee population is in decline. Anything they love, we protect.

    Given that you’re intent on eradicating them, if you look for something called blackberry gloves, they should protect your hands. Most have long leather cuffs to protect your arms, too.

    I’ve never heard of Preen but please don’t use Roundup. It’s carcinogenic.

    • Thankfully this isn’t an either/or situation. We don’t have to have plants in the garden that cause pain to those who garden in order to help the honey bees. It’s possible to have plants they love (like my hydrangeas at home) without the nightmare of a plant that is extremely invasive and full of thorns. This is a nuisance plant and it has to go. I’ve been wearing long sleeves and the rubber coated gloves I found at Ace and that works great. Thanks for your suggestions!

  56. Thistle! I was battling them for a couple of years till I realized the popular bird seed in the feeder included thistle seeds to attract certain birds!

    The only gloves that seem to protect are heavy work gloves with leather palms. And pulling them out (near the base of stem usually is not as thorny) after a soaking rain so the entire root comes out. Good luck!

  57. Wow this is a long feed. Thistle. I live in Nebraska and our local PBS station has a show on every week in the summer called Back Yard Farmer. It’s an hour with the Nebraska Extension and they answer all questions about yard, flowers, bugs, and weeds. They’ve even had questions from England! You can find them NETV.ORG. Everyone should check it out. I’m watching right now.

  58. Thistles are the bane of many a gardener. There is a bird seed place down the road from us and it proudly proclaims that it sells thistle seeds for the birds. I find all kinds of plants in my gardens that I know the birds have dropped the seeds and they have sprouted. Nature at work…just wish it wasn’t the thistles.

  59. Cyndi Raines says

    We’ll, I guess by now you know it’s thistle, Lol and the second sounds like mugwort. Good to know, thank you readers. With all the rain we have had my weeds are pretty high and I promised the yard and myself that I will get at it starting next week. June is a busy month with graduations and weddings, etc. And yes, I get it about pulling weeds for some one else, much easier than for ourselves. When I was a little girl, I felt that way about dusting, loved to do it for my aunt, but not so much at home! Haha.

  60. Brenda Lawrence says

    It a thistle weed Susan and they are hard to kill but can be done. Yes, you can use round up, and might need a few applications to get it gone. Please don’t use salt as salt can make the ground sterile and then you can’t grow anything in said soil. Here is a home made solution that really works well, but you have to be very careful not to get it on anything other plants you don’t want to kill. Sorry it is a video, but she is amazing and shows you how it works. I use vinegar here in PA, but store bought vinegar and it won’t kill the thistle weed, I have to use either a few applications of round up or this recipe, which I prefer because I’m not putting chemicals in the ground water or anywhere else. Hope this helps you out!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQKlfapI2bo

  61. jinny spencer says

    A positive side of thistle is that late breeding gold finches use the fluffy thistle flowers to line their nests.

  62. Up two weeks ago in our area little was blossoming due to cold weather however with the heavy rainfalls we’ve been having I cannot believe the amount of weeds! If only the flowers would grow as well or as fast … ☺. All said; I will be digging them out and those in between our patio/paving stones and in the river rock beds I will be using road salt (not table or swimming pool salt) to ‘kill them dead’. To conclude; good luck Susan with your task and wish that I could have been of more help.
    -Brenda-
    P.S.: Just yesterday I had my husband dig out some wild rhubarb that I couldn’t get out by myself and he couldn’t believe the length of its roots.

  63. Hi Susan — I got a load of mushroom mulch and premium mulch before that apparently had these seeds all thru it. Had a mess. I used vinegar to eradicate them. It helped some but you have to catch them before they go to seed. And if you put out Thistle seed for song birds it can be a problem. Birds fly away and drop the seeds and voila! Plants everywhere … I snip them off with long handled clippers, pour on the vinegar and burn the plant, otherwise the birds again will get them … vicious cycle …

  64. Hi Susan! I’m a big fan of Weed Block. When we bought our current home many years ago, the previous owners had a lovely landscape already in, but the beds were a mess with weeds. Most of the shrubs were still small at the time, so we weeded completely and then took on the task of laying Weed Block throughout all the beds, cutting an “X” through the piece wherever we needed to fit a shrub through (my husband called them “shrub dresses”). Covered it all with a good layer of mulch, which we replaced every spring. The cloth kept the weeds at bay until the shrubs were large enough to block most of the light in between. It eventually breaks down, but ours lasted as long as we needed it, about 15 years! It’s great stuff, something I learned about from a neighbor across the street from our first house — she was an avid gardener and used professional landscape cloth back in the 80’s. Weed Block is the bomb!

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