How to Deal With Thistles

Updated July 10, 2019

How to Deal With Thistles

What’s hairy and spiny that might be taking over your garden? Thistle is a type of weed that can be very stubborn and tough to eliminate. Thistles can grow tall, and they grow fast, and in a lot of numbers as well. Thistles can grow or sprout during the summer and fall. During the winter, they will appear to be roses or flowers that will also sprout during the spring. Thistle flowers will only guarantee more of this type of weed in your garden.

Having a garden or yard infested with thistles can have harmful effects on your plants, crops or flowers. These include:

  • It can lessen the grass growth in your garden by more than fifty percent.
  • Thistles are also a perfect place for insects and other pests that may attack you plants or crops, most especially insects that can damage tomatoes.
  • These weeds can also suck out some of the nutrients away from your grass as well.

But how do you get rid of the stubborn thistle weeds? Below are some of the things you can do to deal with them:

Managing Thistles

  1. Plant Grass– In order to avoid the growth of thistles in your garden, you should first stop them from having a place to grown in first.


  1. Pull Them Out – If thistles still grow in your garden, what you can do to manage or get rid of them is by pulling out as many of them as you can. Make sure that you are able to pull out the whole weed, up to the roots. This is because if a tiny piece of a thistle survives, it can still grow back and start increasing in numbers again.


  1. Mowing or Grazing – After managing to pull out the thistle weeds, you can now mow your lawn. This will reduce the thistle seed reserve, and it will also be able to get rid of thistles that are still at their early stage of growth. Make sure that thistles don’t grow up to bloom flowers, because you will have a harder time getting rid of them. You can also cut thistles close to the ground by using a hoe.
  1. Use Herbicides – After moving and/or grazing, you can apply herbicides. Herbicides are effective, and they are best applied during the fall, from September through October. You may want to use glyphosate, but make sure that you apply this specifically on thistle infected areas because glyphosate will kill your plants if you accidentally apply it on them.
  1. Mulching – You can also try mulching your soil. By mulching, you will be conserving the moisture of your soil, as well as enrich it. This way, you can prevent thistle from growing in the first place.
  1. Keep Your Lawn Thick and Re-Seed – Another way to keep thistle away is by keeping your lawn thick, and you garden well maintained. A healthy garden can discourage thistle growth. As soon as you see any thistles starting to grow, it is also advisable to pull them away as early as possible.