sudangrass and canada thistle

adidas(6/7)May 10, 2014

Has anyone here used sudangrass to try and suppress canada thistle? Where do you buy sudangrass seed and if you let the sudangrass go to seed are you creating an even bigger headache for yourself?

If you used sudangrass, could you tell me how you used it?


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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

Maybe you will have sudan grass and scotch thistle. I just grubbed out 5 acres of patchy - thick stuff. I need to go out and check on it again. I bagged all the buds and seed pods. I was a little late, this year.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2014 at 10:10PM
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wantonamara, is that scotch thistle? I have a field of Canada thistle. I would gladly spend time pulling all of it...except that the ground is very hard in the area and I NEVER seem to get the roots or even the crown so I feel as if I'm wasting a lot of time. I read somewhere on gardenweb about a method for killing thistle that involved cutting the flower heads off and allowing the thistles to absorb a lot of water...supposedly, they sort of "drown" and it kills them in this manner. I don't quite understand the mechanics of this and I'm not usually around when the thistle is flowering in the summer but I'm wondering if this might work?

How did you "grub" out the thistle? You did a wonderful job..I love your meadow :)

    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 2:42PM
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Ad, one can't really pull out Canada thistle. It is rhizomatous, meaning there is a deep-running, horiszontal stem from which emerge plant stems above and roots below. When you grasp the base of a thistle of this type, and pull it out of the ground, you're not getting any of this rhizome, let alone the other individual stems growing from it. You're right in thinking it a complete waste of time.

If you're dealing with big-scale plantings, one tactic-albeit, a less than perfect one-is to mow the thistles when they first start to set flower buds. This will do two things-One, it will disrupt one seed cycle, and two, it wil cause the plant colony, which is what it really is, a colony, to waste a lot of its energy producing these flower/weed heads. Then, after it's been mowed, other more desirable plants will temporarily have the other hand in colonizing that area. But, of course this is an imperfect solution.

Otherwise, you're looking at chemical warfare. And it can require some pretty heavy-duty materials to kill this invasive plant. Glyphosate-the active ingredient in Roundup and its many generic equivalents, is only partially effective. Often what happens is the stems you spray will indeed die down and whither away, but by the time this happens, new ones will have emerged from that rhizome, in new locations, and the colony will live on. Repeat applications can eventually kill this thing. And please be aware, glyphosate is a slow-acting chemcial. don't expect to see wilt-down in a day or two.

Otherwise, you have to go to some bigger guns in the chemical world. Let us know if you want further information on that. and some of these products will be unavailable to any but certified applicators.


    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 8:13AM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

I am not big on telling one thistle from another. I thought Canadian thistle and Scotch thistle were the same. Thistles act different down here in the heat of Central texas. They act more as an annual. A lot of perennials do this, Like oriental poppies. OR SO I am lead to believe. Lots of plants can not deal with the extended heat, and dry of no rain in the summer. Our summers do not break till end of September/October. . The rosettes that I am pulling are single rosettes. I have been told to wait till they start budding and then whack the and they will not branch and grow again. earlier I will take a sharpened hoe and flick them out of the ground. This time I cut the blossoms off and bagged them and yanked the plant out. It had rained and they were mostly fairy easy. Where I grubbed last year there were no thistles.

This post was edited by wantonamara on Mon, Jul 7, 14 at 8:58

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 8:55AM
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Could be they do act differently down there. Tell you true, I don't know how you guys stand it down there in all that relentless heat. But if it kills thistles, that's something!


    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 3:20PM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

May and June are the end of moisture on a normal year. Unless a hurricane springs up, we will not see rain till late September if we are lucky. They are saying that the lower Caribbean is not good for tropical development this year. It is all headed to the east coast, so we might even miss rains unless the no show El Niño comes back, Otherwise the drought prospects are looking damn ominous..

I am acclimatized to the heat. I work in non A C, and I have a love affair with water holes and trees. I could not deal with your cold.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 3:31PM
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Sudangrass can be found at Peaceful Valley Farm Supply. I use it as a green manure crop in my garden. It gets quite tall (8ft) and dense. If you cut it about two ft above the ground when it gets ~4ft it sends up even more stalks as well as sends down even more roots. It will shade out just about anything growing with it.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 9:39PM
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