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View Full Version : Uniquely pretty but a noxious, invasive weed...



HydroPHILE
Mar. 14, 2012, 10:25 AM
While walking in our upper pasture last night, I noticed that several milk thistle plants have popped up (and I mean several as in...too many to control by merely digging them up.) I have been toying with the idea of using Milestone by DowAgra, but I have run into two issues:

1. Where do I buy it? Our Tractor does not sell it nor does our farm/feed store. They carry other DowAgra products, but they do not carry Milestone and "don't really have an interest in stocking it."

2. I have read pros and cons of using it. Among all of the herbicides that can tackle milk thistle, it is the only one without grazing restrictions (well, sort of without restrictions besides letting animals graze on untreated pastures for three days prior to moving to the treated pasture as their urine/manure can carry the active herbicide before the 3-day period.)

While I think milk thistle is uniquely pretty, I also know that it's a non-native noxious weed and a nitrogen hog and must go (besides having a nickname of the "SOB plant" around the pasture when it gets stepped on by one of the dogs.)

If heavier livestock was in the upper pasture (post-treatment,) it *should* prevent the milk thistle from coming back, and there aren't any other plants present on surrounding property either.

Any other ideas for chemical removal of milk thistle?

hastyreply
Mar. 14, 2012, 10:44 AM
You might check with a farmer's Coop. They may carry it or someplace that caters more towards farmers than TSC. I don't know about your state but I think in mine you have to have an applicator's license to purchase most herbicides, except for those watered down for the public. You can also check with your extension agent. Last resort contact DowAgra and find out who is their rep in your area.

HydroPHILE
Mar. 14, 2012, 10:48 AM
Milestone does not require a license for purchase or application as it's not a federally-regulated herbicide. I sent a request to DowAgra online after being transferred four times and then disconnected so hopefully they can shed some light. I'll put a feeler out to some co-ops in the area and see what they say :)

Alagirl
Mar. 14, 2012, 10:57 AM
No idea on the spray but this was interesting:

from Wiki:
Use as food

Around the 16th century the milk thistle became quite popular and almost all parts of it were eaten. The roots can be eaten raw or boiled and buttered or par-boiled and roasted. The young shoots in spring can be cut down to the root and boiled and buttered. The spiny bracts on the flower head were eaten in the past like globe artichoke, and the stems (after peeling) can be soaked overnight to remove bitterness and then stewed. The leaves can be trimmed of prickles and boiled and make a good spinach substitute or they can also be added raw to salads.[26] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milk_thistle#cite_note-25)


My MIL used to have a 'weedhound' weeding gadget...she loved it to pull dandelions...I am sure it would work on the thistles, too....

HydroPHILE
Mar. 14, 2012, 11:41 AM
Yep - milk thistle is often dried and made readily available in health food stores as supplements :) I don't think manually pulling out the thistle plants would work as we're talking a few acres of growth.

Alagirl
Mar. 14, 2012, 12:03 PM
Yep - milk thistle is often dried and made readily available in health food stores as supplements :) I don't think manually pulling out the thistle plants would work as we're talking a few acres of growth.
Unlike golf, it's a walk well spend. ;)

HydroPHILE
Mar. 14, 2012, 01:13 PM
It's not so much the walk as ensuring that every root and plant is eradicated/not in bloom. Once the plants begin to bloom it is incredibly difficult to eradicate without causing them to freak out and send their seeds flying. Also, it is approximately 3 acres of covered thistle so "pulling them out" would actually cause more damage (erosion, etc.) than merely killing them with herbicide.

Simkie
Mar. 14, 2012, 01:34 PM
I've always been under the impression that if you cut off the flower before the seeds form, this stuff just goes away, as it's an annual. I imagine you could just mow it down before it blooms to treat a large area in the same way.

Is that not the case?

HydroPHILE
Mar. 14, 2012, 02:53 PM
Nope. You cannot mow and kill milk thistle.

Simkie
Mar. 14, 2012, 03:45 PM
Curious. I have very effectively managed to get rid of them in my backyard by lopping off the heads. I do have to make a point to do the same to the neighbors, though. A couple pop up from seeds blown in every year, but it's nothing like the field o thistle we started with.

Alagirl
Mar. 14, 2012, 04:02 PM
I've always been under the impression that if you cut off the flower before the seeds form, this stuff just goes away, as it's an annual. I imagine you could just mow it down before it blooms to treat a large area in the same way.

Is that not the case?


anything with a root like thistles, you have to go all out.

You might - eventually - have some success keeping at it. At one point the roots do get exhausted...

Or you could get donkeys....:lol:

Or a think like this:
http://www.amazon.de/Wolf-Garten-IWM-WOLF-Distelstecher/dp/B0009I9Z3G
http://www.hound-dog.com/products/detail.aspx?ProductId=1392&LineId=171

suz
Mar. 15, 2012, 09:40 PM
donkeys? do they eat milk thistle?