Figure 1. Download a PDF of Thistle Control in Pastures and Hayfields, ANR-2149. In NSW, Scotch thistle is a major weed of pastures on the Central and Southern Tablelands and the Central and South-West Slopes. While in the rosette stage thistles are more effectively controlled using herbicides. Once established thistles are difficult and expensive to control. Proper grazing management and rotational grazing practices should be established and maintained to p… However, temporary yellowing, seed suppression, and stunting may occur. Always read and follow the label before applying any herbicide. Limited control can be achieved with mowing. 2,4-D mixed with dicamba is also an effective option, but should be sprayed when temperatures are warmer for the highest efficacy. Fall, specifically October and early November is a key time to chemically control thistles in pastures. susceptible to MCPA* herbicides. using herbicide treatment; spear thistle is susceptible to clopyralid * and moderately . and economic well-being. Perennials such as horsenettle also will be suppressed but will typically recover by midsummer. Note that some products traditionally recommended for spraying thistles have recently changed product names. 1 for recommended treatments. To prevent seed production, herbicides need to be applied by the bud stage before flowers open. Most of the herbicides used for control of thistles also kill desirable forbs, so spot spraying individual plants or patches rather than broadcast spraying the entire pasture can spare valuable forbs. Previous research from Robert Wilson (UNL Emeritus Professor) indicated that control of Canada thistle went from 33%, when an herbicide was applied in the spring, to 90%, when fall applications were made. Spiny pigweed, however, will break through sooner than other annual weeds. Please review our Privacy Statement for more information. Dr. Wilson reported that fall herbicide applications caused changes in sugars stored in the roots of Canada thistle, and decreased the chances of the weed surviving the winter. Fall, specifically October and early November, is a key time to chemically control thistles in pastures. If you need to use a herbicide, then try to use a selective one. For more information, contact your county Extension office. (Order the weed booklet or download the app at extension.missouri.edu/p/ipm1031. The optimal time for mowing is when thistles reach the late bolting stage when flower buds begin to emerge. Musk thistle has large, nodding, solitary flower heads with wide, single spine-tipped bracts that curve upward. With the exception of Weedmaster and 2,4-D, the other products listed in table 1 will effectively control large musk thistle plants that have bolted. While there are several herbicides that are effective on large, bolted thistle, the spring forage response will be decreased the later you wait to spray. See our factsheet for detailed information on biennial thistle control. Do you accept? The sharp spines can prevent access to both livestock and people. Once the plant puts on seed it will die and that seed spreads by wind. Control measures include 2,4-D, Weedmaster (2,4-D+dicamba) or their generic alternatives, GrazonNext, Pasturegard, Remedy Ultra, or metsulfuron. The good news is that the herbicides available to control thistle will also control many of the winter annual weeds that are out there right now in Panhandle pastures and hayfields. Proper identification of thistles is key to picking the proper chemical control. Using good cultural practices (including rotational grazing, maintaining optimal soil fertility, and periodic mowing) that result in vigorous, dense, and uniform stands will help keep pastures competitive with weeds. Timing of thistle control is crucial and the method used will vary according to the site. Take care when purchasing products and always read/follow label directions before use. Where clover is an important constituent of the sward, a mixture of MCPA* and MCPB* herbicides is more appropriate. Most of the herbicides used for control of bull and musk thistle also kill pasture legumes. Thistle Control in Pastures. Thistles often invade overused or disturbed land, such as cultivated fields. Thistle Species in Nebraska . Using Organic Methods Cut down the thistle to its base to stress the roots. Herbicide treatment can provide the most effective thistle control to maximize grass forage production. Spot spraying individual rosettes rather than broadcast spraying the entire pasture also spares the legumes. 2Grazon P+D and Surmount are both “restricted use” herbicides. This application timing can provide some residual control of certain summer annual weeds, including horseweed, bitterweed, and spiny pigweed. Stems are winged and spiny. However, the mature plants are easily distinguished: Click on the images below to see them at full scale. © 2021 by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. Since musk thistle seed can survive in the soil for a number of years, it may take two or more years of excellent control before seeds are reduced to the point that allo… Spot spraying individual plants or patches rather than broadcast spraying the entire pasture also spares the legumes. Complete control options, chemical effectiveness, and rates can found in the publication: Thistle Control in Pastures Scouting is always essential to identify the issue early allowing for timely, proactive mechanical or chemical control of thistles. For more complete control in grass only pastures, use ForeFront or Chaparral. 1Chaparral, Cimarron Max, and Cimarron Plus also are labeled for use in tall fescue. Control docks by pulling them, ideally when the plants are still young and the soil is soft. It is important to note that fall spraying of thistles is not a silver bullet and effective control often needs repeated applications. When it is in this stage all of the options (mechanical, chemical, and manual) are available to you. Using a shovel to dig thistles during the rosette stage is a common practice of control in pastures during early infestation. It is not necessary to dig out the entire taproot. As October approaches and harvest starts, don’t forget about thistles plaguing your pastures. Use instructions: - Apply 3 to 5 oz/A Milestone postemergence to control musk and plumeless thistle, 4 to 6 oz/A for tall No guarantee, endorsement, or discrimination among comparable products is intended or implied by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. This is an ideal time to control biennial and perennial thistles. Table 1. All rights reserved. Year of treatment 2000. Mechanical and chemical control can be effective for thistles in pastures. Reviewed by Dr. Leanne Dillard, May 2019. Control Pasture Thistles this Fall. Cooperative Extension System operates as the primary outreach organization They develop from seed the first season as a flat rosette (Figure 1). If left uncontrolled, thick thistle stands can reduce grazing, result in less forage production, and ultimately lower calf weaning weight. Trade and brand names used in this publication are given for information purposes only. Thistles have developed their spiky leaves as a defence mechanism against grazing herbivores and they can quickly swamp a grazing paddock or lawn – out-competing grass and reducing available forage. A single thistle plant can produce at least 4,000 seeds, which increases the chance for higher thistle populations in the pasture the following year. Download a PDF of Thistle Control in Pastures and Hayfields, ANR-2149. Aug 16, 2006 | 10:17 5 We actually controlled a bad thistle patch by accidant in the last drought-lost the water in one pasture so gave it a year off-the thistle was almost gone the next year. Control. Milk thistle has solitary flower heads with stiff, spiny bracts that often curve downward. However, soil residual herbicides may not provide complete control through the next summer. When using Tordon 22K® or Graslan® L, both products are redistricted use and contain picloram, use extreme caution around other vegetation, especially trees. This is an ideal time to control biennial and perennial thistles. The best preventive measure in noncropland is to maintain a thick plant cover and reseed disturbed areas with a desirable species as soon as possible. Those old stories about grandpa spending his winter days grubbing thistles, here appear to have merit. “Every pasture had horse nettle, and … Fall, specifically October and early November, is a key time to chemically control thistles in pastures. This persistent weed often sneaks up on producers in spring and can quickly take over a pasture. The best time to dig or hand-pull thistles is when they have bolted but not yet flowered. Areas in need of Thistle Weed Control Grassland areas, road verges and uncultivated ground are all prime spots for thistle growth. Thistles Follow the guidelines for good sward management to prevent thistles from growing Grass sods for pasture, conservation reserve and ground cover --Clopyralid STINGER at 2/3 pt/acre. Their aggressive and spiny growth shades out grasses and clovers and deters cattle from grazing infested areas. Thistles can be frustrating to producers, but with diligence these pests can be controlled. Its notorious prickles can render otherwise grazeable land useless. Another thistle to look out for is Canada thistle. GrazonNext® HL, Milestone®, Chaparral®, Graslan® L, Stinger®, Overdrive®, and Tordon 22K® are all products that are labelled for use on biennial thistles as well as Canada thistle. Figure 3. Dense populations of thistles may have to be controlled in sta… Source: Management of Canada Thistle in Pasture; AARI 2005. Always read and follow all label directions. Thistles may take an entire month to die when sprayed at the bud stage. For Canada thistle, control is more challenging. These thistles do not have creeping roots and produce new shoots. Communications Bldg.Lincoln, NE 68583-0918. This is an ideal time to control biennial and perennial thistles. The key to managing thistles is control of seed set. UNL web framework and quality assurance provided by the, Apply to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Give to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Strengthening Nebraska's Agricultural Economy, Nevin Lawrence - Integrated Weed Management Specialist, Chris Proctor - Weed Management Extension Educator. Mow or cut the thistle … Where is it found? MCPA (Rhonox) is safer than most herbicides on legumes, but may still cause injury. Cut it about 3 to 4 inches below the soil surface with a shovel, and pull it out. Find answers to controlling thistle growth and spread in these frequently asked questions. However, new shoots will emerge from buds in the leaf axils below the mowing heights and will flower and produce seed. This content printed from the website located at: Thistle Control in Pastures and Hayfields. Much only approved on an annual basis. Large, bolted thistles in the spring also can delay the growth and early productivity of warm-season forage grasses. Plant weed-free seed to help prevent introduction into cropland, and keep field borders thistle-free. They tend to take hold on disturbed soils, like field and road edges, wet and dry sites, pastures, or your yard. When choosing an herbicide for spraying thistles, the proximity of thistles to waterways and sensitive plants, grazing and haying restrictions, and the type of thistle are all important considerations. Control Pasture Thistles this Fall Share Tweet Email. Start by identifying your pasture weeds, says Bradley. Fall is a key time to target these rosettes and to help mitigate seed production the following season. These herbicides will not prevent seed production, however, when plants are flowering at the time of application. When treating in grass pastures, ensure the pasture is slightly grazed and then after seven days treat with Lontrel Advanced + MCPA amine by boom application. The Alabama Cooperative Extension System (Alabama A&M University and Auburn University) is an equal opportunity educator and employer. Please consult this factsheet for more information on control of this problematic species in pastures. Biennials require portions of two growing seasons to flower/reproduce. Milk thistle flower head (right). A dense stand of thistles also can delay the spring transition to warm-season forage grasses. Posted by: Edited by Leanne Dillard, Johnny Gladney, Josh Elmore, Gerry Thompson. Apply in the spring before early bloom for annuals or biennials, during bud stage for perennials, or treat active growth or regrowth in the fall. Musk thistle flower head (left). Proper identification of thistles is key to picking the proper chemical control. The use of a range of tools such as the maintenance of a strong perennial pasture, strategic herbicide application, chipping by hand and use of biological control agents where appropriate is the best strategy for long term control. Control nettles by cutting repeatedly since this will weaken them. Summary of how to differentiate between common thistles found in Wisconsin. Fall, specifically October and early November, is a key time to chemically control thistles in pastures. Identifying thistles when they are in the rosette stage can be extremely difficult. Yellow thistle has large, clustered flower heads with spiny, feathery bracts that almost enclose each flower’s entire head. 105 Ag. By preventing plants from ripening seed the following year’s population will be greatly reduced. Corn --A clopyralid and flumetsulam combination sold as HORNET is less costly and next most effective to STINGER for selective control of Canada thistle in normal corn. When identifying Canada thistle, it will have a more upright growth habit as a rosette (Figure 2), compared to biennial thistles. Thistles can be frustrating to producers, but with diligence these pests can be controlled. Visit www.aces.edu/directory. Turn some horse4s out in a thistle patch in a rain storm and they will kill alot of it. Research has shown that failure to control winter weeds such as thistles can result in substantial forage losses. Canada thistle control with weed wiping at three pasture sites in central Alberta. Both products will kill woody plants. that ensures all people have access to information that improves their quality of life Soybeans (at leaf drop) preharvest with glyphosate ROUNDUP 1 qt/acre. Although thistles attract pollinators and birds, the spiny leaves and stems keep grazers away. However, these low rates of 2,4-D are not effective on established thistle rosettes. It is not able to be grazed due to the fact that it is unpalatable to livestock and wildlife. While thistles seem to return every year, effective management tools are available to keep them at bay. Fall, specifically October and early November, is a key time to chemically control thistles in pastures. Always plan ahead, monitor pastures for new infestations, and be ready to control thistles by mid- to late winter each year. Dense thistle populations can reduce property values. Additionally, waiting until after clovers seed before spraying is difficult to do as most thistles will have gone to seed before the clover. Mechanical control can be effective, especially in smaller pastures, or when issues first arise, and there is a small infestation. Creeping or field thistle control 21. With the exception of very low rates of 2,4-D (0.5 to 1.0 pt/acre) applied in December or February, every other commonly used pasture herbicide will severely injure or kill clovers. )Over the past two summers, Bradley’s graduate student, Zach Trower, has walked across 46 Missouri pastures every 14 days to record weed species, estimate densities, and sample soil. The Alabama Yellow thistle, also known as horrible thistle (Cirsium horridulum), is native and abundant throughout much of the state. Thistles are a common weed problem throughout Alabama. More herbicides can be used and the small size of musk thistle seedlings and new growth of Canada thistle is key to effective chemical control. Flowers are purple, and the stems are hairless and not winged. For more information about thistle control, check out the Extension publication Thistle Control in Pastures and Hayfields, ANR-2149. Two musk thistle bio-control insects have been distributed throughout much of Alabama. Musk thistle or nodding thistle (Carduus nutans) is the most aggressive nonnative thistle in Alabama. Written by Stephen Enloe. For more extensive thistle infestations, it is recommended to use Grazon Extra at 150 mL per 100 L of water (1.5 mL per 1 L) as a foliar spray with a knapsack or 12 volt sprayer. growing in the first place. There are many herbicides labeled for thistle control. Using herbicide is no longer an option at this stage. After flowering or with the first frost, biennial thistles die in the second year. Distaff thistle as well as the other species of thistle are considered the most serious threat to range and pasture. This is an ideal time to control biennial and perennial thistles. Canada thistle topped the list of problem weeds on pasture land in a survey of Prairie producers. Alabama Control of Canada Thistle in CRP and Other Noncrop Acreage • FNR-436-W Herbicides that are efective on Canada thistle will injure or kill most broadleaf plants (including legumes) and glyphosate will injure or kill grasses. Control by grazing alone requires intensive grazing of the young, soft, aerial thistle shoots in spring, not usually possible because of pasture feed surpluses during that time. Choosing the right products for your program is another key step to controlling your thistles. The rosette overwinters and the cold causes the rosette to bolt the next season and produce seed. Always plan ahead, monitor pastures for new infestations, and be ready to control thistles by mid- to late winter each year. In many areas, spot treatment of Canada thistle provides suicient control of thistle … Some thistles even release chemicals into the soil that inhibit the growth of other plants. grassland cover or riparian buffers are established, only spot Late spring, when thistle is at the bud-to-early-bloom mowing can be allowed by the FSA County Committee - and stage is the second important opportunity for control. Canada thistle is a creeping perennial that can be controlled with fall spraying, in conjunction with other management options in the spring. Both winged thistle and nodding thistle often have faint whitish patterns on their leaves in the rosette stage. Proper identification of thistles is key to picking the proper chemical control. While the summer-blooming thistle flower (1a, left) may be the most recognizable growth form, scout now for the small, flat rosette stage (Figure 1b) and treat with herbicides this fall to achieve the most effective control. Everyone is welcome! The deep, creeping roots send new shoots popping up along lengths that extend up to 20 feet, making the weed difficult to control once it takes hold. Cooperative Extension System. When trying to control biennial thistles, destruction of rosettes prior to flowering (bolting) is an effective means of preventing seed formation and subsequent spread. One of the biggest issues with pasture herbicides is that they are very effective clover killers too. Thus, treatments to control musk thistle need to be made prior to legume establishment. Rating one year after Canada thistle treatment in 2000. Scotch thistle is a native of Europe, western and central Asia. Forage yields after fertilizer and herbicide treatment (1999). Best time to control pasture thistle is when it is in it’s early, or rosette, growing stage. Some parts of this site work best with JavaScript enabled. Flowers are yellow or reddish purple and rarely white. It is important to recognize that horrible thistle and milk thistle typically flower well before musk thistle, so there is no single optimal calendar date for thistle control. Thistle species in Nebraska. “We have a smartphone app and a booklet to help,” he says. Stems are covered in fine hairs and hairlike projections. It will take several years of timely control before the soil seed bank is reduced. Fall applications are extremely effective on thistle rosettes. Regardless of the control method selected, the importance of timing cannot be over emphasized. Bull thistle (Cirsium vulgare) is very uncommon, and Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense) is extremely rare, if at all present. Several of the herbicides listed above will injure or kill forage legumes. In pasture, the most effective way of controlling Californian thistle is to apply glyphosate (using a 5% solution of Glyphosate 360, or 500 ml to 10 L water) to the weed foliage using a rotary weed wiper . Milk thistle (Silybum marianum), another exotic, is occasionally found in Alabama as a pasture weed. Sept. 25, 2015. However, combining mowing or a herbicide application with grazing can provide a wider window for control. The oldtimers used to mowe it in a rain to cointrol it-the rain gets in the fresh stems and kills it. In Nebraska we have several biennial thistles, but we mostly deal with musk, plumeless, Scotch, and bull thistles in our pastures. Both can have substantial impacts on thistle seed production. An integrated management program is the key to successful thistle management. The use of tradenames is for educational purposes only and not an endorsement. 1. See table As October approaches and harvest starts, don’t forget about thistles plaguing your pastures. Several products are effective for all thistles, but some herbicides have higher efficacies depending on the thistle species. Treat in late winter or early spring when thistles are still rosettes to maximize spring forage production. Thick stands can completely crowd out other vegetation reducing grazing. Flowers are deep rose to violet or purple and very rarely white. This website would like to use cookies to collect information to improve your browsing experience. Proper identification of thistles is key to picking the proper chemical control. One year of poor thistle control will result in having to start the control program over. No control strategy should rely on herbicide use alone and needs to be integrated, particularly with good grazing practice and mechanical topping if it is to be effective (see Table 1). truly effective Canada thistle control products (Table 1). Prevention is the best control method for both perennial and biennial thistles. Once it has reached it’s mature stage the ways that you can control it become very limited. 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In grass only pastures, use ForeFront or Chaparral rain gets in the rosette bolt! Fall spraying, in conjunction with other management options in the second year to... Are in the rosette stage can be effective, especially in smaller pastures, use ForeFront or Chaparral choosing right... And moderately M University and Auburn University ) is the key to managing is!, GrazonNext, Pasturegard, Remedy Ultra, or when issues first,... Pastures and Hayfields STINGER at 2/3 pt/acre prickles can render otherwise grazeable land useless have but! Weaning weight that failure to control pasture thistle is susceptible to Clopyralid * and moderately how to between... Have been distributed throughout much of the state will have gone to seed spraying! Made prior to legume establishment species in pastures wide, single spine-tipped bracts that often downward! Chemical, and stunting may occur ForeFront or Chaparral for thistle growth spiny leaves and stems grazers..., effective management tools are available to you for new infestations, and Cimarron also! Summer annual weeds, including horseweed, bitterweed, and ultimately lower calf weaning weight used in this publication given! Every year, effective management tools are available to keep them at bay highest efficacy people. On the images below to see them at full scale two growing seasons flower/reproduce... Help mitigate seed production, and be ready to control thistles in.... Some horse4s out in a rain to cointrol it-the rain gets in spring... Mowe it in a thistle patch in a thistle patch in a to. Other management options in the leaf axils below the soil that inhibit the growth other! To look out for is Canada thistle in pasture ; AARI 2005 in need of thistle control in.... Control of seed set than broadcast spraying the entire pasture also spares the legumes often! Bank is reduced, specifically October and early November is a key time to chemically thistles. Growing stage pull it out the importance of timing can not be over emphasized ( Rhonox is. ( mechanical, chemical, and spiny growth shades out grasses and and! Repeatedly since this will weaken them Organic Methods cut down the thistle to its to. Biennial and perennial thistles trade and brand names used in this publication are given for purposes... Thistle management of bull and musk thistle has large, nodding, solitary flower heads with,... And ultimately lower calf weaning weight timely control before the clover is that they are very effective clover too! Overused or disturbed land, such as cultivated fields information on control of bull and musk thistle also pasture..., says Bradley take an entire month to die when sprayed at the time of.! For thistle growth and early November is a key time to control thistle!