Question From: B. Fulkerson - MICHIGAN
Q: Help. A few years ago I had 5 drift roses planted along with some junipers in a section of our landscape. Each year after, thistles popped up. I didn't know what to do, but prided myself with working so hard to did deep with my dandelion remover to pull out the long roots! And of course, each year my thistle crop expanded. Now they have overcome the garden and I can't rally see the roses or junipers! I understand you can't cut Canada thistles, but I won't be able to spray with round up since they are intertwined with my plants.. please help with a solution. I have enjoyed your columns and have cut out articles from you, and Jeff, for many years. Thank you for your ideas.
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A: There is no easy remedy. Begin by cutting back the thistles now and painting the stubs with Roundup. In spring cut them back as soon as they emerge - a string trimmer should do the job. As they emerge and grow to a couple inches in height, cut them back again. Continue this process until fall and allow them to grow to 4 inches or so and paint the leaves with Roundup. If they emerge again in spring hit them with the Roundup again. By keeping them cut back for a year you are starving and weakening the plants. Lots of work I know, but it worked for me. Best And Happy Yardening, Nancy