CropWatch April 16, 2010: Spring Musk Thistle Control in Pastures

CropWatch April 16, 2010: Spring Musk Thistle Control in Pastures

April 16, 2010

Got Musk Thistles? Get Control Now

If you had must thistles last year, you’re likely to have them again this spring. Favorable rains and short pastures last fall provided the perfect recipe for lots of thistles this spring.

The rosette growth form is the ideal stage for controlling thistles this spring. If you spray herbicides soon, there will be less hand digging later.


Several herbicides are effective for musk thistle control, including Milestone and Tordon 22K. Both will also help control other weeds that usually appear later in the season. (Tordon also kills woody plants, including trees you might want to keep.)

Other herbicides used for musk thistle control in pastures include Redeem, Grazon, Cimarron, Overdrive, and Curtail. A tank mix of dicamba and 2,4-D also works well. With any herbicide be sure to read and follow label instructions and spray on time.

All these herbicides will work for you this spring if you spray soon, before musk thistles bolt and send up their flowering stalks. After flowering, though, the shovel is about the only other control method.

Also, since thistles invade short, weakened pastures, make it a point to keep your grass as thick and vigorous as possible this year to reduce future problems.

Bruce Anderson
Extension Forage Specialist