Adams County
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Musk and Scotch thistle

Management

Musk Thistle

The key to controlling musk and Scotch thistle is to prevent seed production since that is the only way these plants reproduce. Each plant is capable of producing up to 20,000 seeds.

Scotch Thistle - After
Scotch Thistle after the herbicide "clopyralid" was applied

Chemical: Herbicides are highly effective in controlling musk and Scotch thistle. Applications should be made in late spring/early summer and again in the fall.

Herbicides that are recommended for use on musk and Scotch thistle, either independently or in combination, are: picloram(Tordon 22K), clopyralid(Transline, Stinger), clopyralid plus 2,4-D(Curtail), chlorsulfuron(Telar), glyphosate(Roundup/Rodeo), dicamba(Banvel), and 2,4-D. Always read and follow label instructions when making any application. Consult your local pesticide dealer, County Weed Supervisor, or Extension Agent for specific recommendations.

 

Mechanical Control of Scotch Thistle

Mechanical: Continual mowing or chopping is most effective when musk and Scotch thistle plants are just beginning to flower. Unfortunately, these weeds do not bloom as individual plants at the same time; thus, epeat treatments are necessary. As biennials, these weeds can also be effectively controlled by grubbing, or digging below the crown level. Doing so at the rosette stage is the easiest. Severing the tap root below the soil surface with a shovel can also effectively kill the plant. This should be done in areas where there are only a few plants though as this option is quite labor intensive and time consuming.

Bio-Controls: One insect control agent for musk thistle is the seed head weevil (Rhinocyllus conicus), which is well distributed in the county and spreads on its own. The larval stage of this weevil devours most of the seeds in a head that it infests. This insect alone does not affect total control of musk thistle infestations. The crown weevil (Trichosirocalus horridus) attacks the crown and reduces the flowering potential of musk thistle. When used together, the crown and seedhead weevils provide fair to good control. No insect species effectively controls Scotch thistle.  Good grazing practices stimulate grass growth which results in healthy pastures and rangeland. Overgrazed sites result in bare spots which are prime targets for noxious weed infestations.

 

Musk/Scotch Thistle Management Calendar

 

 

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

June

July

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

Active Growth

 

 

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

 

 

Bio-Control 

 

 

 

 

 

X

X

X

 

 

 

 

Mechanical 

 

 

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

 

 

Herbicide Application

 

 

 

X

X

X

 

 

X

X

 

 

 

 


 

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