Treating Thistles in Pasture This Fall - UNL CropWatch, Sept. 20, 2013

Treating Thistles in Pasture This Fall - UNL CropWatch, Sept. 20, 2013

September 20, 2013

Timing is everything, especially with thistle control.

If you had thistles in pastures this year, now is a good time to take a closer look at those areas. Look for thistle seedlings — small, flat, rosettes — that in this stage are particularly sensitive to certain herbicides. Treating them this fall is an efficient way to prevent bigger problems next spring.

Several herbicides are effective and recommended for thistle control, including several newer herbicides, including Milestone, Forefront, and Chaparral. Also effective are Tordon 22K and Grazon. Be careful with all these herbicides, but especially Tordon and Grazon, since they also can kill woody plants, including trees you might want to keep. A 2,4-D application also works well while it’s warm, but you will get better thistle control by using a little less 2,4-D and adding a small amount of Banvel or dicamba to the mix.

Other herbicides that can be used to control thistles in pastures include Redeem, Cimarron, and Curtail. No matter which weed killer you use, be sure to read and follow label instructions and spray on time.

Next year, avoid overgrazing your pastures so your grass stands get thicker and compete with any new thistle seedlings.


Several thistle species are among Nebraska's noxious weeds.  For more information on identification and treatment of thistles, see these Extension publications, developed in cooperation with the Nebraska Department of Agriculture.

Bruce Anderson
Extension Forage Specialist


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