“I have a problem with Thistle in my landscape beds at our lake house in Syracuse, IN. How do I get rid of them?” — Lake Wawasee Client of WLM, Inc.
Canadian Thistle is an invasive weed reaching 2-5 feet in height that is difficult to eradicate because it is a perennial, in addition to being a prolific seed producer. The seeds can survive for more than 20 years and germinate quickly when conditions are just right in Warsaw, IN and Syracuse, IN. This plant also has an extensive underground root system that will germinate more weeds.
It’s a cool season perennial and actively grows in the spring and fall in the Warsaw, Syracuse, Culver, Ft. Wayne, Winona Lake, Leesburg, and Columbia City areas. Growth slows during hot weather like we have during our summers. Flowers are generally produced in early to mid June with seeds fully developed by early July in the Warsaw, IN areas. The timing can vary each year depending on growing conditions. As we have seen here in the Warsaw, IN area, landscapes woke up later than most years even though we had a very mild winter for the second year in a row.
Controlling Thistle: A key to controlling Thistle in your Warsaw, IN landscaping is to treat early before it has a chance to produce seeds and develop a large network of rhizomes under the ground. If you lack the time to take more aggressive action in summer, then make sure to cut off the flowers before they seed. Mowing and repeated cutting of the plants will prevent the production of seeds and slowly starve the plant, but will not likely kill them. The extensive root system means that you will need to dig out the roots for a LONG period of time as they will quickly start to come back and make more.
Herbicide Treatment: We have found with our Warsaw, IN & Syracuse, IN customers that treating thistle with herbicide works really well along with repeat Landscape Maintenance Visits. Fall is probably the best time to treat thistle with herbicide if you own a house in Warsaw, Syracuse, Winona Lake, Culver, Ft. Wayne or Columbia City. Another good time to treat is in the spring. There are selective herbicide options but we warn that spraying these chemicals without experience can cause other landscaping issues like killing other desirable plant material. Spraying thistle in your landscaping will also require several treatments over a long period of time and we have found that homeowners in Warsaw, IN and Syracuse, IN just don’t have the time and forget to spray on a regular schedule.
A healthy and well maintained lawn and landscaping in Warsaw and Syracuse will promote dense turf and healthy plants that will compete with these weeds.