Organic farmers face a serious challenge when controlling Canada thistle and other noxious weeds, but insisting that noxious weeds must be controlled by synthetic herbicides is incorrect. Canada Thistle Author: K.G. is an invite-only member network and summit that brings together leaders, from the world’s most innovative companies, along with cultural icons for high level discussions on culture, media and marketing. While most people familiar with Canada thistle will tell you that it’s a good-for-nothing, it’s worth noting that the flowers are filled with nectar beloved by pollinators. Regardless, Canada thistle control likely will have to take place for more than one year. Like any plant, weeds have different life cycles and seeding methods. A small slice is all that is necessary, so do not cut the stem in half. Effective nonchemical methods are valid options for noxious weed control in North Dakota. The plant is beneficial for pollinators that rely on nectar. Introduction Producers in organic farming would like to reduce the amount of tillage used in their cropping systems to limit the detrimental impact of tillage on soil health (Sooby et al. Thistles have a very invasive root system which is one reason why they are so difficult to get rid of. Thistle is one determined gardening foe. ... Cut the stem of each thistle plant with a knife. Organic producers may be able to reduce the need for tillage to control Canada thistle with system design. Since mature plants have root systems that can extend for 10 feet, you will have better luck pulling up immature plants. If left unchecked, a single Canada thistle plant eventually turns into a patch containing thousands of stems. This is a rare win-win situation because the greatest thistle control coincided with the grazing system that gave the best production and best utilization of thistle.” For more information or to receive an electronic version of the booklet, How to Win the War on Canada Thistle, contact Bork at 403-492-3843 or [email protected]. This isn't a magic bullet, but it can be really effective and is a much better tool to get rid of thistles organically than we've ever had. Answer. Thistle – specifically Canada Thistle – appears over a wide area of the U.S. and obviously, Canada (Bull Thistle and Creeping Thistle are closely related). As the root system spreads, it gives rise to new shoots. The key to Canada thistle's weediness is its root system. 2007). Biennials, like musk, plumeless, and bull thistle, live for two years and reproduce only by seed. More Information about How to Kill Thistles Without Chemicals. PTTOW! This is especially important with Canada thistle. There’s just no easy way to say this, my gardening friends: An invasion of thistle in your vegetable garden is bad news. Many organic farmers are reducing tillage and modifying their thistle control strategies. Pull up as many of the existing thistle plants as you can, both mature plants and seedlings, making sure to get the whole root network. This cool season perennial (Zones 2-8), known for its difficulty to kill and its desire to take over your garden completely and totally, is a scourge for gardeners. Still, there are plenty of non-invasive pollinator plants to choose from, so just go ahead and get rid of this menace. To recap the three pronged organic management approach that I’ve come up with to combat Canadian Thistle: 1) Selective removal of plants 2) Graze/mow high 3) Open up the compacted soil. The roots of Canada thistle spread aggressively, and can increase the width of a thistle patch 6 to 10 feet in a season. 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