Thistles out of lawn

maidinmontana(Zone 5 Billings MT)March 15, 2009

Hi, I'm trying to get ahead of these little buggers before they start to grow. I don't know what kind they are, they are fairly small in size and when I use the plucker on them, the root is very long and usually only one as opposed to several. But plucking them only helps for a while, soon they come back in full force and I can't get them all.

I want to know if there is something I can put on the lawn to get rid of them. I have tried weed n feed but only applied it twice in a season, it didn't seem to help. Should I be doing it more regularily? Just when I think I have it licked, they appear in the early fall. My lawn was in pretty bad repair when I moved here, so I thought if I thickened it up the grass it would choke out the weeds, NOT!

I have done some reading, but nothing really seems to hit on just thistles.


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What kind of grass do you have? If you have cool season grass, Speedzone will do the trick. Just spot spray as you see them come out. Will work in temperatures above 40 and below 85 or so. Type in your zip code to the left on the webpage to find out who sells it. Just copy and past the address below into your browser.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2009 at 4:20PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

I have done some reading, but nothing really seems to hit on just thistles.

Maybe you need to read different stories to your thistles, heh, heh.

How often do you water?

How high do you mow?

How often do you fertilize?

What kind of grass do you have?

Where do you live?

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 11:42AM
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maidinmontana(Zone 5 Billings MT)

dchall, funny, funny

I water on the average 2x's a week,
I mow once a week not on a low setting
I usually weed n feed in the spring, not a frequent feeder :( just due to laziness)
I believe the grass is Kentucky blue grass
I live in south central Montana (not in the mountains, more in the plains)

I did a search for the speedzone, sounds like it might do the trick. And there are several places nearby to buy it.

I recently bought Eleanors VF-11 and plan on using it for the lawn as well as flower beds, so hopefully I will see some results w/the combination of the two. Thanks for the help.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 12:25PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

I suspected the answer to the fertilizer question. When stickers grow in a lawn it usually indicates infertility. I suggest the following.

1. Never use weed n feed products. Use one or the other, or both, but the combination product is not working for you (or anyone else).

2. Assuming you use chemical fertilizers, wait until your grass (not weeds) is growing enough that you have to mow it for the second time. Then fertilize with a plain fertilizer at the recommended rate and water it in.

3. On Memorial Day, fertilize again with a regular fertilizer.

4. On Labor Day, fertilize again. If you really have KBG then it should have completely filled in by this time.

5. On Thanksgiving, fertilize again.

or, if you are interested in trying an organic approach, you can use ordinary ground up animal feed (corn meal, alfalfa pellets, soy bean meal, cottonseed meal, or whatever you have ground to powder or pellets at the local feed store). The application rate is 10-20 (or even 30) pounds per 1,000 square feet. You can start using that 3 weeks before the grass starts to grow. I use the "last frost" date as a guide. After the first app of organics, follow the same schedule with Memorial Day but you can also apply on July 4th.

I realize none of this is totally lazy, but you're going to have to do it to get rid of the stickers.

I also want to suggest that you are watering far too frequently. During the cooler part of the year, which is most of the year in Montana, you should be able to water once every 2 weeks. You'll have to water more deeply, but it will work out better for you in every aspect of your lawn care. This is a much lazier approach to make up for the less lazy approach to fertilizing above.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 5:34PM
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I'm not sure how early winter hits on the plains in MT, but depending on conditions, Thanksgiving might be too late for the last application. You want to fertilize the last time while the grass is still green, but after the top growth has stopped. Around here, that might be late October or early November. Waiting until Thanksgiving would likely mean I'd be fertilizing snow.

One other thing I'd add is that if you aren't already mulch mowing, you should start. Mulch mowing returns about 1/3 of the nitrogen your lawn uses and also reduces the need for watering.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 5:47PM
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