I was pulling weeds and ran into the nastiest thorns ever. I’ve seen a few plants similar to this, but never one with thorns like this- normally they are tiny 1/8" or 1/16" stubs off the stems and parts of the leaves. Maybe this is a thorny variant.
On seeing this, I immediately took off the gloves you see in the pic (good for getting a grip on easy weeds, but not for things like this). I put on thick leather ones, then cautiously gripped it, until the thorns went right through the leather. I managed to remove it with a shovel and two fingers cautiously positioned. I hope I don’t start to see more of this…
I don’t even bother touching them anymore. I have a few plants in the orchard. when they are really small you can grab them with two fingers right below the soil. If they are like that, it is a sharp spade thrust below the soil.
Darn thistles, yep they will go through a leather glove like a hypodermic needle. We used to have some in a hay field, when they were smashed up in a bale of hay you couldn’t hardly see them until you picked it up and some of the thorns stuck in your leg.
I was going to do a post related to this stuff… as in how many times i’ve had to dig stuff out of my fingers…last week it was several black raspberry spikes buried in 2 of my fingers. I’ve had one of these needles before in my hand. I knew i got poked, but i couldn’t figure if it was in there or not…well…a day later it was still red and tender in that spot so i dug around with a needle and must have pushed in the right spot because out shot a long…long spike right out of my hand. Can’t believe how long that thing was. I try to wear gloves when i can…but something i just forget.
We have a ton of these things…they grow year after year in the same areas. And yes, a tiny bit of root left behind allows them to regenerate new growth. Anyone have any suggestions on how to get rid of these for good?
They will eat the blossom off which helps stop their life cycle. I think part of the problem is a single blossom can produce many thousands of seeds. Some of these will blow away in the wind but often a huge mass will fall all around the mother plant. Many will sprout the next spring but some will remain dormant and a few will sprout every spring for many years.
I have those in patches around my property, and they are the most difficult weed to handle and the second most aggravating for me. (The first being something we call horsetail- no thorns but it takes weed killers like it takes water, spread like crazy, grow very large, and come back every year!)
@MuddyMess_8a , As a goat owner, I can tell you with absolute certainty that goats will NOT eat these, and that is really saying something since my goats eat almost anything. As Jason said, they do often eat the tops before the thorns harden and the blooms, but thats it.
I found a picture of Bull Thistle online. While close, I think this one had longer spines. Just like there are different cultivars of apples, maybe I’ve found a particularly long-thorned Thistle. I’ll have to keep an eye on that spot and destroy anything coming back from the roots…
The gloves help a bit, but not if you grip it firmly…
Maybe a flame thrower? Err…Propane torch. Though it feels like a flame thrower…
This would take the top spot for me if it shows up more. Bindweed and Japanese Knotwood can be pretty annoying, but at least they don’t hurt.
If you’re not opposed to chemicals, a systemic herbicide would help get rid of that thistle. Roundup is what most people reach for, but Triclopyr (Bayer Brush Killer Plus, or Garlon 3A) has worked pretty well for me in the past. Plus Triclopyr doesn’t kill grasses.
It has a smooth stem with no thorns and a smell that you will never forget if you smash it.
That photo looks like what we call bull nettles, if you are hauling hay and get dried bull nettles in your shirt you might as well through it away because they never come out. Of course my weed knowledge is regional and just what passed down to me.
I had to learn - and make herbarium sheets - of all the common poisonous weeds/plants, when I was in vet school, and my job today still requires me to occasionally identify those plants - either in the field, brought in by producers - or in the GI tract of dead animals.