Evil plant in my backyard

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Evil plant in my backyard

Postposted on Wed May 30, 2012 10:42 am

I guess from my googling it is a "Bull Thistle"

http://www.google.com/search?q=bull+thi ... 24&bih=616

These things have razor sharp spines that can puncture heavy gloves. Total pain...they grow like crazy as well. I marvel at these weeds that since spring can grow 2 feet high.

Oddly, it also seems that slugs like to live among the roots of these plants. I hadn't seen slugs anywhere in my yard until I started digging these up.

They do have pretty flowers when they bloom but they tend to kill grass in a circle around their root structure. Anyone else have nasty weed experiences?
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Re: Evil plant in my backyard

Postposted on Wed May 30, 2012 10:45 am

We had pretty annoying crab grass last year. It was over 100 for ~60 days in a row last summer though, so that was the main cause. I made sure to take really good care of everything last fall and this spring. We're weed/crabgrass/bull thistle free this year!

I do however have a stump from an old tree that needs to be removed. It seems there is virtually no easy way to do that.
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Re: Evil plant in my backyard

Postposted on Wed May 30, 2012 10:57 am

Hawkwing74 wrote:They do have pretty flowers when they bloom but they tend to kill grass in a circle around their root structure. Anyone else have nasty weed experiences?
I have a couple of these in my front yard, near the ditch. I haven't tried to remove it. My approach to gardening is pretty Darwinian: If it's green, it gets to live.
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Re: Evil plant in my backyard

Postposted on Wed May 30, 2012 11:23 am

Darkmage wrote: I have a couple of these in my front yard, near the ditch. I haven't tried to remove it. My approach to gardening is pretty Darwinian: If it's green, it gets to live.

I mostly have that perspective but I have a 15 month old. These weeds seem the only blatantly dangerous ones in my area. (Other than poison ivy which I don't have)

DancinJack wrote:I do however have a stump from an old tree that needs to be removed. It seems there is virtually no easy way to do that.

I have a few, especially there is a remnant of a trunk that the previous owner put under the deck. Now, it's a draw for carpenter ants. It amazes me how long wood lasts without decomposing, from twigs to stumps.
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Re: Evil plant in my backyard

Postposted on Wed May 30, 2012 11:49 am

Sandburs are far more evil, and can totally ruin the barefoot backyard experience. Seem to be more prevalent in hot southern states. I've heard rumors of them even causing tire problems.
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Re: Evil plant in my backyard

Postposted on Wed May 30, 2012 11:53 am

l33t-g4m3r wrote:Sandburs are far more evil, and can totally ruin the barefoot backyard experience. Seem to be more prevalent in hot southern states. I've heard rumors of them even causing tire problems.

I can confirm that they will very definitely deflate a bicycle tire. One of the many fine reasons why Goop was invented.
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Re: Evil plant in my backyard

Postposted on Wed May 30, 2012 11:54 am

Those bull thistles just look evil. I don't have any of those, but I do have some poison ivy around. Anybody have tips on how to kill it off without killing everything else in the process?
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Re: Evil plant in my backyard

Postposted on Wed May 30, 2012 12:02 pm

Cut the thistly part down with snips and then dig the roots out with a hoe. Burn the remnants.
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Re: Evil plant in my backyard

Postposted on Wed May 30, 2012 12:16 pm

Thistles really suck. We've had a thistle problem along the side of the house for a few years. They really take over if you don't stay on top of them.

Our current strategy consists of planting other things that have a fighting chance of out-competing them: Raspberries and hops! The raspberries (planted a couple of years ago) are already starting to get a bit out of control themselves, but at least you get some tasty fruit for putting up with a thorny plant that wants to spread and take over your yard. Still too early to tell what's going to happen with the hops... :wink:
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Re: Evil plant in my backyard

Postposted on Wed May 30, 2012 12:24 pm

we had something similar in colorado. We dug them out, and they came back. Next year we dug those out, then poured tons of rock salt into the ground and mixed it in to kill them. We wouldn't have bothered but they were taking over at an alarming rate.
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Re: Evil plant in my backyard

Postposted on Wed May 30, 2012 1:01 pm

Hawkwing74 wrote:I guess from my googling it is a "Bull Thistle"

http://www.google.com/search?q=bull+thi ... 24&bih=616

These things have razor sharp spines that can puncture heavy gloves. Total pain...they grow like crazy as well. I marvel at these weeds that since spring can grow 2 feet high.

Oddly, it also seems that slugs like to live among the roots of these plants. I hadn't seen slugs anywhere in my yard until I started digging these up.

They do have pretty flowers when they bloom but they tend to kill grass in a circle around their root structure. Anyone else have nasty weed experiences?


One way to kill them is to simply cut them as low as possible - and then continue cutting them when they try to grow back. Eventually the plant will starve. A lot of people make the mistake of cutting them once or pulling them up (which invariably leaves roots behind) and then get frustrated when they come back again, and assume that cutting isn't an option.

The trick is to keep cutting. Never let them get to the point where they can process sunlight, and eventually (couple of weeks) they should just wither and die.
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Re: Evil plant in my backyard

Postposted on Wed May 30, 2012 1:11 pm

When I lived out in the country in Colorado, these were a pretty big problem down near our pond. They have an amazing ability to regrow; I would hack them down to the base with a hoe, then dig up the roots with a shovel, and they still often times found a way to regrow.

You should eliminate them with extreme prejudice if you live in a temperate climate. As previously said, they really can take over a lawn.
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Re: Evil plant in my backyard

Postposted on Wed May 30, 2012 1:32 pm

Scrotos
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Re: Evil plant in my backyard

Postposted on Wed May 30, 2012 2:08 pm


That's pretty funny. I was wondering which plants if any in the back yard are edible.
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Re: Evil plant in my backyard

Postposted on Wed May 30, 2012 2:12 pm

Hawkwing74 wrote:

That's pretty funny. I was wondering which plants if any in the back yard are edible.

Well, we've eaten dandelions from our yard before. Maybe we ought to try the thistles too! :lol:
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Re: Evil plant in my backyard

Postposted on Wed May 30, 2012 3:48 pm

Pro tip: The spikey parts aren't good fer eatin'!
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Re: Evil plant in my backyard

Postposted on Wed May 30, 2012 3:54 pm

just brew it! wrote:Well, we've eaten dandelions from our yard before. Maybe we ought to try the thistles too! :lol:

Dandelions are for making wine. Given the outbreak I had earlier this year I should have grabbed Dad's recipe.
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Re: Evil plant in my backyard

Postposted on Wed May 30, 2012 3:59 pm

You can kill nearly any plant with the liberal application of salt. Every time it rains (or you water), the brine will draw water out of the roots. A plant that can't move water from the roots into the leaves cannot respire and will die. Some cacti will tolerate this treatment, but most non-succulents will be dead in a few weeks.

Rock salt on the soil or worked in will take care of the problem. I prefer top treatment so I can stop it when the plants are dead.
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Re: Evil plant in my backyard

Postposted on Wed May 30, 2012 4:10 pm

So said the Romans at Carthage.
It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them. Ralph Waldo Emerson.
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Re: Evil plant in my backyard

Postposted on Wed May 30, 2012 5:52 pm

Thistles, not so bad. Knotweed or kudzu = world domination!

Now, if we go beyond plants, there's mosquitoes and goats (wait a minute; people?)
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Re: Evil plant in my backyard

Postposted on Wed May 30, 2012 7:46 pm

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Re: Evil plant in my backyard

Postposted on Thu May 31, 2012 3:01 am

I spent a good deal of time with a spade chopping thistles out of pastures and from between a few fields and treelines which abutted an abominable housefarm (whose residents would complain to the county if nearby thistles went to seed). Found a few arrowheads while at it over the years...

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Re: Evil plant in my backyard

Postposted on Thu May 31, 2012 7:53 am

DancinJack wrote:I do however have a stump from an old tree that needs to be removed. It seems there is virtually no easy way to do that.
I had a similar problem. In the end, it took a stump grinder and three chains to get it out. Find a tool rental place and brace yourself for a long day.
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Re: Evil plant in my backyard

Postposted on Thu May 31, 2012 9:21 am

sluggo wrote:You can kill nearly any plant with the liberal application of salt.


Didn't help them here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0963794/

But I guess you can blame the Americans for that...
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Re: Evil plant in my backyard

Postposted on Thu May 31, 2012 10:25 am

I keep trying to convince my wife to say the hell with it and plant yucca and prickly pear in our yard :lol: Less mowing and watering.
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Re: Evil plant in my backyard

Postposted on Thu May 31, 2012 11:26 am

Huh. I've always mistakenly referred to these as nettles. Actually, I see one of the wikipedia pictures for Bull Thistle is named Nettle.jpg.

I get these (or something very similar) in my yard in Indiana a couple times a year. While spot treating with Round Up is often an ugly affair, for this plant I gladly make an exception. I've never noticed the same plant come back.
If it's already 2' tall, though, cut/mow it first and get it on the rebound. A full 2' plant is too large to cover in a controlled manner.
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Re: Evil plant in my backyard

Postposted on Thu May 31, 2012 12:24 pm

I find I can kill most 'weeds' in my yard by peeing on it. Unfortunately, I don't have enough beer for the three acres. :o
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Re: Evil plant in my backyard

Postposted on Thu May 31, 2012 12:40 pm

We have knapweed.

Originally this stuff came from Russia apparently.

It will EAT your lawn mower alive if gets too big. I've been mowing along happily, run into a big one and have it stop the engine so fast it has bent the timing gears. Usually it just stops the engine then you gotta cut the stuff out. Its like running over a shaggy rug with the vacuum cleaner.

Very few animals will eat it, mildly poisonous, and one damn hardy weed it just laughs at michigan winters.
Goats will eat it but then they eat ANYTHING. Sheep will eat it if it is the only thing left. Cows and horses can't eat it without tummy troubles.

Seeds are naturally, resistant to most pesticides and can stick around in the ground for up to 7 years and then suddenly sprout again.
Weird enough, this plant does not like good soil. So we have planted alfalfa and that seems to do a better job of keeping the weed in check than all the spraying we did.
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Re: Evil plant in my backyard

Postposted on Thu May 31, 2012 1:48 pm

Common household Bleach will kill any living thing---when it gets down into its roots .
Just pour some onto the base of your "Evil Plant".
It might take a couple days while the plant sucks up the Bleach, then the deadly Bleach will go to work.
I had these 'practically-unkillable "creeping vines (they have big broad leaves and can grow many feet tall).
I bought a $15 dollar "Bleach Sprayer" at Home Depot Warehouse. (Has NO metal parts, cuz Bleach destroys metal).
Then I bot a dozen 1-gallon jugs of common household bleach at local supermarket (the cheapest).
Sprayed it onto leaves of the vines---and did this for several days. The leaves "sucked-up" the Bleach ("Ah, delicious !")
After a couple days the vine's leaves started lookin' kinda unhappy (the Bleach was now way down in its root system)---finally the plant withered up and died (as I kept at it).
Caution :Watch where you use it, cuz Bleach kills everything that grows, from grass to poison ivy-to flowers, to weeds...and maybe even small trees.
Finally.... NEVER mix Ammonia and Bleach--it forms a Gas, lethal-to-humans.
Good luck....
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Re: Evil plant in my backyard

Postposted on Thu May 31, 2012 2:34 pm

BiffStroganoffsky wrote:I find I can kill most 'weeds' in my yard by peeing on it. Unfortunately, I don't have enough beer for the three acres. :o

I would worry more about having enough liver and kidney.
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