How to Get Rid of Thistle Weeds with Homemade Solutions

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Everyone wants their yard to be beautiful and lush all year round. This is why so many people spend countless hours with multiple products to fight weeds, rake leaves, and cut grass. Each season brings about a new wave of terrors, to the homeowner’s dismay. These terrors are most often in the form of weeds, which plague the yards of so many people across the globe.

When it comes to killing weeds, specifically thistle weeds, it can seem like a lost cause, but there is hope. If you are trying to answer the question of how to get rid of thistle weeds for good, we have some homemade solutions to help make the process easier.

1. Use Some Mulch

Thistle weeds are tricky since they are known to have a very extensive rooting system under the ground that you can’t see with your naked eye. Perhaps this is why it is difficult to learn how to get rid of thistle weeds. These weeds tend to sprout up in the worst of places, especially flower beds. One way in which you can help stop the growth of thistle weeds in your flower bed is to put a layer of mulch to help stop the seeds from sprouting in your flower bed.

Why It Helps

Mulch can consist of anything like pine needles, pecan hulls, wood chips, or more. The mulch also helps to push back that nasty root system of thistle weeds that are already in the soil. Make your mulch layer at least two-inches deep to help prevent the seeds from sprouting and taking root.

2. Dig and Dig

Another way that you can get rid of small patches of thistle weeds is to dig them up. Yes, it seems a little too easy, but it’s not. As you dig, you need to make sure that you use your hand or a small shovel. In this way, you can make sure that you are getting the deep roots that surround the plant. You also need to get every bit of the thistle weed plant that is grown.

Why It Works

Digging is only effective if you catch them before they start flowering. After you have dug up the entire plant and its roots, you need to store them in a bag that is knotted tightly. At this point, you can then discard the bag in the same way you would discard garbage. Thistle weeds shouldn’t be thrown to the side because they can spread seed and take root in a new place.

3. Grazing

Considering how to get rid of thistle weeds in your yard might not lead to certain things. This home remedy might not be for everyone, but it is an effective option.

How to Do It

If you have cattle or goats on your land, you can use them to help get rid of the thistle weeds. Allow them to graze for a few days, especially if you are trying to get rid of thistle weed infestations in green lands or pastures. The animals will jerk the thistle weed from the ground and indulge in what they think is a tasty treat.

4. Mow the Grass

It is an easy fix for the winter time, but mowing your grass just before the first freeze is a great way to help get rid of those pesky thistle weeds. The only reason why this works as a cure is that you are mowing down the flowering and the winter does the rest of the work. When the freeze happens, it freezes the plant, not giving the thistle weed time to grow back and recover from your mowing.

Important Tip

Remember, you should mow down your thistle weeds just before the first freeze or even after winter begins in your area. If you mow too soon, the thistle weeds will regrow before the cold weather can freeze the plants.

5. Insects to the Rescue

To answer the question of how to get rid of thistle weeds, you could use an unconventional method. Believe it or not, there are certain insects that you can put in your yard that eat up the thistle seeds, preventing them from taking root. These insects are called thistle-head weevils. For yards with large infestations, these weevils are a great option to help get rid of the thistles and stop them from coming back.

Why It Works

The insects lay eggs on the heads of the thistle flower, and the larvae feast on the thistle seeds. This helps the seeds from dispersing further and creating more weeds. There is a thistle rosette weevil that eats the rosettes of the thistle to help prevent the growth of the older plants. Likewise, the gall fly eats into the stem of the plant to kill it off.

6. Block the Sunlight

One great way to help kill off smaller patches of thistle weeds is to block off the sunlight. To start, you should lay down a piece of plastic on top of the thistles. The plastic will block the sunlight from reaching the weeds, and it will, in turn, kill the plants. When no sun can reach the plants, they die because of lack of oxygenation.

Extra Tip

Though this tip doesn’t work for larger, more dense patches, you can use the plastic to cover up smaller patches for a few days. Finding a more opaque plastic will do a better job of blocking the sunlight from reaching the plants, making it more effective in starving the plants of sunlight.

7. Weed Killer

Of course, you can always purchase a weed killer that is made specifically for thistle weeds. Learning how to get rid of thistle weeds takes time, and sometimes the home remedies just don’t cut it. Instead, you could use a weed killer that is designed to kill off just the weeds and not the grass in your yard.

Why It Works

Weed killer is sold at many home and garden stores as well as hardware stores. Always ask a professional to help you choose the right one to kill the thistle weeds in your yard.

In Conclusion

When you are considering how to get rid of thistle weeds, weed killer might be your first option. Instead, you could first try a few home remedies to help get rid of the weeds and keep your yard looking fresh and amazing all year round. Following a few of the tips above can help you learn how to get rid of thistle weeds in your yard and get rid of them for good.


Jonathan E. Bass

Graduated from Middle Tennessee State University. I am currently a gardener. I have a small garden behind my house. I love it.

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