09 December 2012

A Remedy For
Canada Thistle


A young Canada thistle

From the Cultivator & Country Gentleman magazine 
May 20, 1869

The large fields covered with thistles on many farms, and the small amount of labor that can be spared for their destructions, are at variance. We must find some cheap and sure remedy, or pay a thistle tax beyond all computation. Canada thistles bear seed in abundance, some years more than others, and it is scattered by the winds and planted by the frost and rain, so that any acre of land in this neighborhood poorly tilled, will show Canada thistles. Now for a remedy.

In pasture lands, stock heavily, so as to feed close, either with cattle, sheep, or horses, or all together. Carry into the lot twice the quantity of salt that your stock would eat, made into a weak brine and put a little on a thistle here and there until it is gone. Repeat this once or twice a week for a single season. It induces the stock to eat the thistles. They become fond of them and will eat them quite clean.

N.P. Hedges
Wales Centre, N.Y.

Cows eating Canada thistle (photo link)


Anonymous said...

That's a very practical, useful tip! I did some research to see if goats will eat Canada Thistle, and they do. Here is an excerpt:

"Goats and sheep can be very useful in controlling Canada thistle. Sheep will eat the soft, young growth, but goats will eat any stage; the thorniness of the plant does not bother them. The animals must be restricted so that they will be forced to feed on the weedy species, which can easily be done with electric fencing or with trained dogs. Divide the field or paddock into manageable sections and confine the animals to each in turn. Sheep should be brought in when the thistle is very young, but goats can graze any time before the plant flowers. Because Canada thistle will resprout many times before it dies, the animals will have to be brought back each time you find sprouts and before the new sprouts have a chance to flower."


odiie said...

I've heard of spraying with a molasses mixture. Salt would be cheaper. My goats tend to eat the thistle heads in the fall when the pasture starts to run out of food.