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Creeping thistle can quickly spread in grassland areas and borders. Once established, it can be difficult to eradicate permanently. You may find that repeated digging out of roots reduces the problem, but chemical control will provide a quicker solution.
Creeping thistle (Cirsium arvense) is a weed that spreads using lateral roots. These roots are brittle and readily re-shoot if broken. They should be controlled if you wish to grow garden plants in the area, since they compete for light, water and food.
Spreading roots mean that the thistles form large clumps of spiny leaves and flowering stems ranging from 30cm-1m (1ft-3¼ft) in height on mainly grassland.
Dark pinky-purple flowers typical of the thistle family are borne July to September.
Creeping thistle (Cirsium arvense) is such a problematic weed because;
The best time to apply weedkillers to thistles is when they are growing vigorously, but have not yet flowered. Digging up the plants can be done at any time of year. They can be controlled using non-chemical or chemical methods.
Cultural control methods are not easy but can work if consistently applied;
In borders and unplanted areas
Inclusion of a weedkiller product does not indicate a recommendation or endorsement by the RHS. It is a list of products currently available to the home gardener.
Weedkillers for gardeners (Adobe Acrobat pdf document outlining weedkillers available to gardeners; see sections 1a, 1b and 4)
Chemicals: using a sprayer
Chemicals: using safely and effectively
Chemicals: using spot and broad-scale weedkillers
Weeds: non-chemical control
Brambles and other woody weeds
RHS video: weed control
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