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Thread: Thistle control - late topping

  1. #1
    stonefarmer
    Guest

    Thistle control - late topping

    I have several small blocks of permanent pasture where the thistle population has exploded in the last few years after buying-in some dodgy silage . I aimed on getting them sprayed at the rosette stage early this spring, but due to family circumstances the job never got done and I'm now left with some rather unsightly clumps of thistles. Just wondering whats the best (if any) control strategy this late in season to bridge the gap until they can be sprayed early next spring.

    Will there be much benefit from topping and spraying the re-growth a few weeks later this late in the season? Or will it be purely cosmetic? The clumps are bad but could be tackled with a knapsack sprayer. Would stubbing the base of the thistles with a spade be more effective?

    What product would you guys recommend? Thistlex? Pastor? Mainly creeping thistles that I'm dealing with.

    Keep remembering the ryhme 'cut in July and they're sure to die', but I don't fancy leaving them too much longer and letting them go to seed

    TIA

  2. #2
    organic guy
    Guest

    Re: Thistle control - late topping

    Leave them until you have flower buds on the main of them,then top. It will hit them hard.

  3. #3
    romneymarsh
    Guest

    Re: Thistle control - late topping

    Thistlex best for creeping, but kills clover, although pastor has same active , clopyralid, but will also do woody plants. Topping controls but do them before flower buds open which this year will be goodness knows when? I get topping early July. Creeping mostly gone here now big trouble with Spear or Gore as we call them , a symptom of short grass farming.

  4. #4
    Oscar
    Guest

    Re: Thistle control - late topping

    If they are running up to flower then still time to spray, Thistlex best I find. You could top and respray regrowth but that will depend on weather in next 2 months. Thistles and docks are best sprayed just prior to going to seed as all the energy is in growing point so chemical gets in well, to many people spray to early with a poor kill as a result. All in my opinion, I m not an agronomist !!!!

  5. #5
    Red Fred
    Guest

    Re: Thistle control - late topping

    I find that weedwipering creepers with roundup is good if you get them when they are coming up to flower, or using thistlex with a micron herbi sprayer if in manageable patches. It's surprising how much you can cover with a herbi and it is light enough to use for hours without noticing.
    I've found the recent wet weather has knocked mine in the floodplain, I don't think thistles like getting their feet wet.

  6. #6
    devils advocate
    Guest

    Re: Thistle control - late topping

    Quote Originally Posted by Oscar View Post
    If they are running up to flower then still time to spray, Thistlex best I find. You could top and respray regrowth but that will depend on weather in next 2 months. Thistles and docks are best sprayed just prior to going to seed as all the energy is in growing point so chemical gets in well, to many people spray to early with a poor kill as a result. All in my opinion, I m not an agronomist !!!!
    I'd go with that. Very true because if sprayed early creeping thistle is producing new shoots almost daily underground. I normally knapsack a field once a week for 3 or even 4 weeks to wipe them out.

    I'd use Sheild though, but same active colpraid (dodgy spelling) pretty much in all the broad spectrum grassland sprays. Only kills Thistles, potatoes, mayweed, bindweed, red shank & clover so if you have docks, ragwort or others use Pastour.

  7. #7
    NeilO
    Guest

    Re: Thistle control - late topping

    Quote Originally Posted by devils advocate View Post
    I'd go with that. Very true because if sprayed early creeping thistle is producing new shoots almost daily underground. I normally knapsack a field once a week for 3 or even 4 weeks to wipe them out.

    I'd use Sheild though, but same active colpraid (dodgy spelling) pretty much in all the broad spectrum grassland sprays. Only kills Thistles, potatoes, mayweed, bindweed, red shank & clover so if you have docks, ragwort or others use Pastour.
    We sprayed a field off a month or so ago, with Thistlex @ 1l/ha. It had a lot of creeping thistle and th odd patch of docks & nettles. I was surprised to see that the docks & nettles look very sick indeed. Will they come back?

    Been out spraying Thistlex today, the creeping thistles having started running to head. Soon be too late for spraying without topping & getting regrowth first though, IMO.

  8. #8
    andybk
    Guest

    Re: Thistle control - late topping

    Quote Originally Posted by Oscar View Post
    If they are running up to flower then still time to spray, Thistlex best I find. You could top and respray regrowth but that will depend on weather in next 2 months. Thistles and docks are best sprayed just prior to going to seed as all the energy is in growing point so chemical gets in well, to many people spray to early with a poor kill as a result. All in my opinion, I m not an agronomist !!!!
    agree with you and DA ,always found best take when flowering or autumn ,

  9. #9
    Poorbuthappy
    Guest

    Re: Thistle control - late topping

    What's the active ingredient of thistlex?
    I've always used mcpa/agroxone for thistles with good results and its kind to clover.
    Agree with Oscar about spraying later.

    If thistlex is similar to what I've been using Neil, the docks will be looking healthy enough in 6 weeks!

  10. #10
    NeilO
    Guest

    Re: Thistle control - late topping

    Thistlex is clopyralid & triclopyr. The clopyralid is the thistle killing ingredient in Pastor & Grazon too, but in a higher concentration in Thistlex. The triclopyr should kill docks & nettles, and there is as much of that in 1l/ha of Thistlex as in 2l/ha of Pastor, so nearly half the price at 8/ac. I was surprised at how effective it looks to have been on the docks, which would have been roundup'd out in the Autumn or next Spring anyway.

    Definitely better than MCPA for long term control.

  11. #11
    b slicker
    Guest

    Re: Thistle control - late topping

    If you are just treating creeping thistle, there is no point in paying for mixtures which also control nettles and docks.

    Chlorpyralid is a dedicated herbicide for creeping thistle. It's expensive but if you are knapsack spraying, about 50 ml in 10 litres ( 0.5%) should be adequate.

    I have copied and pasted some trade names from a website.



    Reclaim, Stinger, Transline, Confront, Lontrel, Curtail and Millenium Ultra.

  12. #12
    Poorbuthappy
    Guest

    Re: Thistle control - late topping

    Quote Originally Posted by NeilO View Post
    Thistlex is clopyralid & triclopyr. The clopyralid is the thistle killing ingredient in Pastor & Grazon too, but in a higher concentration in Thistlex. The triclopyr should kill docks & nettles, and there is as much of that in 1l/ha of Thistlex as in 2l/ha of Pastor, so nearly half the price at 8/ac. I was surprised at how effective it looks to have been on the docks, which would have been roundup'd out in the Autumn or next Spring anyway.

    Definitely better than MCPA for long term control.
    But not clover safe? Rules it out for me except in bike sprayer/ knapsack.

  13. #13
    NeilO
    Guest

    Re: Thistle control - late topping

    True, but I don't think there are any effective thistle killers that are clover safe.:cry:

    I'm still at the stage where there are so many thistles, I want to take them out before introducing proper clovers. The wild whites will come back anyway.

  14. #14
    John Maddock
    Guest

    Re: Thistle control - late topping

    From my experience of wiping "creeping thistles" (we know them as Californian thistle or Cirsium arvense) Clopyralid is the appropriate chemical.

    Trials in Tas many years ago showed that even up to the white (pappus) stage, creeping thistles wiped with an 8% solution died. There was no check on the viability of the developing seeds. In NZ, Metsulfuron methyl has also been used successfully, with one rep. claiming to me that it would make developing ragwort seeds non-viable.

    And of course wiping does not put clovers at risk - provided the wiper does not drip.

    Anecdotal information is that there needs to be adequate soil moisture for the Clopyralid (and presumably also the Metsulfuron methyl) to work well, suggesting that the plant must not be in any way dormant, because in that state it is not moving the herbicide into the roots where it needs to go.

    As I understand it, neither Clopyralid nor Metsulfuron methyl is registered for use through wipers. However, I've seen literature from another major herbicide manufacturer which says to follow the wiper manufacturer's recommendations on herbicide choice and concentration.

    That is passing the buck, - as the Yanks would say "big time"!

  15. #15
    Marches Farmer
    Guest

    Re: Thistle control - late topping

    Cut 'em in June, back again soon. Not sure how this applies this year as we presently seem to have April weather.

  16. #16
    Poorbuthappy
    Guest

    Re: Thistle control - late topping

    Cut them in early July, they'll be back too, late July and a large proportion will have gone to seed.

  17. #17
    hesstondriver
    Guest

    Re: Thistle control - late topping

    cut in may, back next day
    cut in june , back soon
    cut in july sure to die

    spray in september , job jobbed !!! as they say

  18. #18
    marsh_bor
    Guest

    Re: Thistle control - late topping

    Never seen so much thistle this year, everytime I want to spray the wet bits rains again, few rush to control also, now budding up so might have to scrap spraying idea, mcpa and 24d, now, topping I dont like.

  19. #19
    marsh_bor
    Guest

    Re: Thistle control - late topping

    How long does it take to see results with shield in a knapsack?
    Got some thistles to spray in some hay would like to be cutting asap tho oops.

  20. #20
    4wd
    Guest

    Re: Thistle control - late topping

    Quote Originally Posted by marsh_bor View Post
    Never seen so much thistle this year, everytime I want to spray the wet bits rains again, few rush to control also, now budding up so might have to scrap spraying idea, mcpa and 24d, now, topping I dont like.
    Creeping thistles you should be OK up to flowering, in fact I think it works better as do them sooner and a lot of small shoots are only just emerging.
    You'll only weaken them, a bit like topping really, Pastor or Thistlex are better by far but cost so much best done as spot weeding with quad or knapsack unless really bad.
    Probably about 10 days for chemical to go down into roots.

  21. #21
    romneymarsh
    Guest

    Re: Thistle control - late topping

    Quote Originally Posted by John Maddock View Post
    From my experience of wiping "creeping thistles" (we know them as Californian thistle or Cirsium arvense) Clopyralid is the appropriate chemical.

    Trials in Tas many years ago showed that even up to the white (pappus) stage, creeping thistles wiped with an 8% solution died. There was no check on the viability of the developing seeds. In NZ, Metsulfuron methyl has also been used successfully, with one rep. claiming to me that it would make developing ragwort seeds non-viable.

    And of course wiping does not put clovers at risk - provided the wiper does not drip.

    Anecdotal information is that there needs to be adequate soil moisture for the Clopyralid (and presumably also the Metsulfuron methyl) to work well, suggesting that the plant must not be in any way dormant, because in that state it is not moving the herbicide into the roots where it needs to go.

    As I understand it, neither Clopyralid nor Metsulfuron methyl is registered for use through wipers. However, I've seen literature from another major herbicide manufacturer which says to follow the wiper manufacturer's recommendations on herbicide choice and concentration.

    That is passing the buck, - as the Yanks would say "big time"!
    The main problem for me is Gore thistle or Spear thistle, also referred to as Scotchmen by our shepherd when I was a boy. ( no shepherd now)

    I have been using clopyralid, Shield but now Thistlex through a weed wiper on this farm for about 15 years . Its just a chemical spud. Very effective on the ones it touches , useless on the ones it doesn't! but it is a form of control in sensitive areas.

    Unless you spend a fortune and forget the clover you have thistle control is an art form not a science. A mixture of weed wiping , knapsack and ultimately a topper get the pasture looking decent again by the autumn. I also find an all over spray with MPCB , Clover safe, about every five years makes for any easier following couple years. Some years are worse than others . Sadly MPCB has had its grassland recommendation removed, now only for peas , something to do with money and licences . So it's now an off label use!

  22. #22
    Yantantethera
    Guest

    Re: Thistle control - late topping

    Yep, topping when just about to flower definitely hits them hard and is definitely clover safe.

  23. #23
    NeilO
    Guest

    Re: Thistle control - late topping

    Quote Originally Posted by romneymarsh View Post
    The main problem for me is Gore thistle or Spear thistle, also referred to as Scotchmen by our shepherd when I was a boy. ( no shepherd now)

    I have been using clopyralid, Shield but now Thistlex through a weed wiper on this farm for about 15 years . Its just a chemical spud. Very effective on the ones it touches , useless on the ones it doesn't! but it is a form of control in sensitive areas.

    Unless you spend a fortune and forget the clover you have thistle control is an art form not a science. A mixture of weed wiping , knapsack and ultimately a topper get the pasture looking decent again by the autumn. I also find an all over spray with MPCB , Clover safe, about every five years makes for any easier following couple years. Some years are worse than others . Sadly MPCB has had its grassland recommendation removed, now only for peas , something to do with money and licences . So it's now an off label use!
    Thistlex is an off label use in a weed wiper too. Grazon 90 is the only similar thing that has a recommendation for a wiper.

  24. #24
    John Maddock
    Guest

    Re: Thistle control - late topping

    Quote Originally Posted by NeilO View Post
    Thistlex is an off label use in a weed wiper too. Grazon 90 is the only similar thing that has a recommendation for a wiper.
    Thanks NeilO.

    Didn't know that.

    JV

  25. #25
    ladycrofter
    Guest

    Re: Thistle control - late topping

    Just spray the bast*rds. I did last week Grazon 90, some at rosette, some 2' tall, spear and creeping. All in various stages of death two days later.

    I cut creeping for years at flowering and it made no difference at all, just another form of recreational tractor driving.

    Resist the temptation to pull up spear thistle, you will expose seeds which need light to germinate. So where there was one, you will now have five.

  26. #26
    andybk
    Guest

    Re: Thistle control - late topping

    sure i,m right in saying most creeping thistle seeds are sterile , so as said topping is a waste of diesel , and will just make them spread more underground , best take is always autumn as they take chemical back down to roots over winter .

  27. #27
    Topground
    Guest

    Re: Thistle control - late topping

    Have used Grazon for several years with success, now down to a few stubborn areas. During recent dry interlude, spot treatment and they have been hit hard. Seems to be most effective during good growing conditions.

  28. #28
    stonefarmer
    Guest

    Re: Thistle control - late topping

    And so the consensus is ............... :lolk:

    Hmm, some guys saying late topping just before flowering hits them hard, others saying its a waste of diesel and should still consider spraying . So still unclear of the best way to hit them hard!

    Just to be clear, I am dealing with thistles that are now 2-3ft high on average, with some smaller ones scattered in between, so I would have thought that spraying would have limited impact??

    Until reading some of the posts on here I had more or less decided to go in with the topper next week just before they seed and then hit the regrowth in 2-3 weeks time, and continue spraying into autumn. Now I'm not so sure............

    Thanks for all the replies so far anyway!

  29. #29
    Topground
    Guest

    Re: Thistle control - late topping

    Quote Originally Posted by stonefarmer View Post
    And so the consensus is ............... :lolk:

    Hmm, some guys saying late topping just before flowering hits them hard, others saying its a waste of diesel and should still consider spraying . So still unclear of the best way to hit them hard!

    Just to be clear, I am dealing with thistles that are now 2-3ft high on average, with some smaller ones scattered in between, so I would have thought that spraying would have limited impact??

    Until reading some of the posts on here I had more or less decided to go in with the topper next week just before they seed and then hit the regrowth in 2-3 weeks time, and continue spraying into autumn. Now I'm not so sure............

    Thanks for all the replies so far anyway!
    Spray some, Top some and compare the plots over time and then let us all know what works please!

  30. #30
    NeilO
    Guest

    Re: Thistle control - late topping

    Quote Originally Posted by stonefarmer View Post
    And so the consensus is ............... :lolk:

    Hmm, some guys saying late topping just before flowering hits them hard, others saying its a waste of diesel and should still consider spraying . So still unclear of the best way to hit them hard!

    Just to be clear, I am dealing with thistles that are now 2-3ft high on average, with some smaller ones scattered in between, so I would have thought that spraying would have limited impact??

    Until reading some of the posts on here I had more or less decided to go in with the topper next week just before they seed and then hit the regrowth in 2-3 weeks time, and continue spraying into autumn. Now I'm not so sure............

    Thanks for all the replies so far anyway!
    Your suggestion of topping before seeding, then spraying the regrowth from he already weakened plant, will give you the best control. That's what Dow say as well. If you've missed the ideal 'rosette' stage, then top & spray the next lot of rosettes instead.

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