Canada Thistle - is it in your free range area

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by joebryant, Jul 3, 2008.

  1. joebryant

    joebryant Crowing

    Here's a letter that Anne sent this week to and was published in our local paper. Please feel free to paraphrase it and send to your local paper, especially if you're in Indiana. Indiana law requires your township trustee to eradicate it, but NOT ONE in the state is doing it; all they want to do is maintain the graveyards and have their secretaries write welfare checks. We have fought Johnson County political puppets for a year now. They disbanded the weed board because the political-campaign-funding real estate developers complained about having to eradicate it from their land.
    A letter to the Daily Journal of Johnson County, Indiana. June 26, 2008

    Printed July 1 with the title “Everyone should help remove Canada thistle”.

    Canada thistle is gaining ground in Johnson County

    My husband and I are asking for your help in finding and destroying the Canada thistle in Johnson County and the surrounding counties. This is not the large thistle that goldfinches like to eat. It has the same kind of purple flowers, but they are much smaller, and there are many blooms on each plant. It grows to about two or three feet tall, usually in patches because it spreads by the roots as well as by seed. If you look around, you will definitely see it, because it is prevalent, and it is blooming right now and beginning to make seed.

    Canada thistle is on the list of noxious weeds for the state of Indiana. We are especially concerned about this weed because a few years ago we spent a great deal of time, effort and money, to plant an acre of our property in native grasses and wildflowers to restore the land to a more natural condition and to benefit wildlife. Canada thistle took it over.

    When the first small patch of thistle appeared, we did not know how aggressive it was, and we just cut it down. The following year it spread to a much larger area, with little patches coming up everywhere. The only solution was to cut, burn and spray the entire meadow.

    It was then that we started to notice all the Canada thistle along the roadways. We investigated and found out that, according to Indiana law, our township trustee is in charge of weed control. The highway department also has the obligation to control the weeds on the county rights-of-way. The Johnson County Commissioners had formerly established a weed board to find and control Canada thistle and the other noxious weeds on the Indiana list, but a few years ago they decided not to fund it. Now NO ONE IS LOOKING FOR THE NOXIOUS WEEDS and, therefore, many are growing unchecked.

    Canada thistle is especially bad because the roots go down at 16 feet or more, then spread out ten feet in one growing season, seventeen feet by the third year. Mowing is ineffective. It takes spraying to kill the roots. Roundup or its generic, glyphosate, will work. Mowing before the thistle begins to bloom can at least stop the formation of the seed heads and stop them from blowing around. But the plant will still come back the next year, bigger than before. If you mow after the thistle begins to bloom, it can continue to form seeds. The average number of seeds per plant is 1530. Last year, before cutting and spraying the meadow, we cut every bloom head we could find, filling several garbage bags. We sprayed the field again earlier this spring, and there are still plants reappearing.

    This plant is very, very hard to get rid of, and the longer we wait, the more it will spread, the worse the problem will become, and the more effort, time and money it will take to get the job done. This is the time to get it, before it goes to seed. It is fairly easy to spot the patches of almost-waist-high plants with many small purple flowers or, as time passes, fluffy white seed heads.

    As any Canadian farmer will tell you, plowing it up just spreads it more, as some of the roots are cut into little pieces that create more plants, leaving most of the root deep in the ground to continue spreading rapidly. Even a tiny segment of root can start a new plant. One researcher planted a six-inch root that produced 644 feet of roots and 336 feet of above-ground shoots in 15 months.

    Canada thistle is actually from Asia and Europe, but we associate it with Canada because it is estimated to have caused greater crop losses than any other perennial broadleaf weed for Canadian farmers.

    Here’s what’s at stake: 1) economic loss to farm crops, 2) economic loss to home and business owners who want to naturalize their properties, and 3) increasing expense to taxpayers and property owners to fight Canada thistle and other noxious weeds as we allow them to get even more out of control. We would like to replant our wildflower meadow when we are sure we have eradicated Canada thistle from our property, but we are hesitant to do so when we see so many sources of reinfestation all around us.

    If you have Canada thistle or other noxious weeds on your own land, please destroy them by spraying with Roundup or one of its many generic forms containing glyphosate. If you see them somewhere else, please notify your township trustee, who is required by law to keep them under control. You will be helping yourself and your neighbors.

    You can reach your township trustee at the following number:
    · Blue River 812-526-5113
    · Clark 317-862-2883
    · Franklin 317-736-7511
    · Hensley 812-597-4568
    · Needham 317-738-3778
    · Nineveh 317-933-2097
    · Pleasant 317-535-7571
    · Union 317-422-9444
    · White River 317-422-1143

    If you would like to know more about the Indiana Code on the destruction of detrimental plants, Google “IC 15-3-4”. To learn about the Weed Board, Google “IC 15-3-4.6”. The Indiana Code on cutting weeds along roadsides is “IC 36-2-18”.

    Anne Bryant
    4491 Stones Crossing Road
    Greenwood, Indiana
  2. ibpboo

    ibpboo Where Chickens Ride Horses

    Jul 9, 2007
    always changing
    can you post a picture of it?
  3. Farmer Kitty

    Farmer Kitty Flock Mistress

    Sep 18, 2007
    This is tough stuff! I have been battling a patch of it in the ditch by us for years now and it just keeps coming back! That reminds me, I need to get the sprayer and go check on it again!
  4. Justino

    Justino ♪♫ Rockin' Rooster ♪♫

    Dec 21, 2007
    we have some in our neborehood down by river but not in our yard THANK GOSH!
  5. ibpboo

    ibpboo Where Chickens Ride Horses

    Jul 9, 2007
    always changing
    Thanks for pic link, that is NOT what is growing here!!
  6. ThreeBoysChicks

    ThreeBoysChicks Songster

    Sep 19, 2007
    Thurmont, MD
    I am in Maryland and fit this weed all the time. I cut off the blooms and spray the plant with round up. I only had two come back in my 3 acre field, but I do not give it one inch because it will take a mile.
  7. rooster0209

    rooster0209 Songster

    Apr 7, 2008
    North Dakota
    Oh yes, its in ND too.

    The farmers are good at using roundup to kill it. The worst is the railroad. They dont spray along the tracks, or at least father than just next to the track. Some of those areas are full.

    It even tries to grow in my yard :mad:
  8. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    We fight it here in Kansas too.
  9. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    It isn't really true that mowing "isn't effective". For small, e.g. residential-sized, patches of canada thistle, it actually works pretty well to mow it to the ground as frequently as possible (never ever let it get more than about 3" high, max). Or, better, use a weeder blade or a breadknife or something like that to dig it out from as far down the root as you can reach, and do that repeatedly every time it resprouts.

    Yes, it will take a few years to get rid of it this way, but it does work.

    Frankly herbicides do not work that well EITHER on a well-established stand of it, and requires multiple (correct) applications.

    Easiest thing is to just smother it out with a complete, thick mulch for a few years, then replant the area (and hand-pull any last lingering bits that might sprout up).


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