Know anyone with a thyroid problem - lots huh? Possibly even yourself.
Better yet, if I knew a way to naturally prevent them, I'd be even more happy. I've done some research but alas, nothing yet.
When the ag department says in their research so far using vinegar has shown a low impack on the environment, it doesn't mean for some plants as they are dead but that's okay too. That's the point, I want to kill some of the plants without it remaining in the soil long and causing a problem. Vinegar is bio-degradable.
So if my lawn looks like a reversed spotted Cheetah, I don't mind. The grass will grow back and I'm starving the roots of the thistle by killing the above ground plant which nourishes them. Studies have found that the 5% percent vinegar you buy at the store is as effective as Roundup, maybe even better they say. Some plants like the Canadian thistle are especially vulnerable to vinegar but they don't mention star thistle, Russian thistle etc. so if you've got it, please give it a try and report back so the rest of us can benefit from your findings. I have none other species of thistle in my yard to experiment on. Oh, I'm not complaining mind you but if we move someday, I may be dealing with a wider range of species and I'd like to have the knowledge already in place.
Keep in mind that the Ph of your soil will be changed for 24 hours only after spraying and the ground is sterilized for a short period of time so don't spray and then plan on planting right afterwords. Besides the thistle may come up again and you will need to starve the roots once more. Perseverance is the key to elimination. My research said you could use a syringe and squirt some down into the plant but I want it gone, all gone. So I'm dousing the leaves by spraying them liberally and not taking any chances for it only takes a inch or so piece to start the plant up again.
I guess vinegar has sparked quite an interest with the ag department as they have test trials going on in corn fields They are using a different percentage than 5% of vinegar but have found a rate that kills 90 to 100 percent of the weeds in commercial corn fields without damaging the corn. They did caution commercial organic growers to be careful what kind of vinegar is used as some could cause you to loose your organic license. Not sure what that is all about. If you are an organic gardener and sell produce you'll have to check that out.
www.unitedstatesag/vinegar.html is a good site to check out some of the studies being done.
I also looked into why thistle is thriving in your yard. No, it's not because the neighbor introduced it, for if the conditions of your soil were not favorable to it, it wouldn't grow. One is lack of calcium. That is probably why my garden does not have thistle when it is growing all around it. I've been throwing all my egg shells into it this winter. Calcium prevents blossom rot on tomatoes. As you might remember, I put milk at the base of a few plants as an experiment. This is suppose to cause a micro-organism explosion of population growth. Milk would also be great in preventing thistle. Now I'm wishing I had more so I could spray my whole yard.
I looked up a some experiments on using milk as a fertilizer and one farmer in conjunction with his ag agent is using 20 gallons per acre with liquid molasses and fish emulsion with very impressive results on poor pasture land. The ground he sprays with milk does not freeze nearly as quickly in the winter. That would be great for us in the spring as our ground is very slow to warm and quick to freeze in the winter.
Now I hardly have fields to treat so I checked and it is 1 part milk to 4 parts water. Whey is great too so after making cheese, goat or dairy cow lovers, use it on the garden. Got to try it on my flower bed that I'm fighting thistle in. So much better to prevent it than fight it.
I'll keep you posted on my experiments but for now I've not enough much milk as we are still feeding kid goats. Have any of you tried milk yet? Some on the Internet said they saw no results, while others said it made a huge difference. I'd suspect it was due to the nutrients lacking or present in abundance in the soil already.
One last thought, remember, the milk fed pumpkin in the children's book Farmer Boy, by Laura Engalls Wilder? I love that book it always gets me into a self-sufficient mood. Can't wait until the munchkins are old enough to enjoy it so I can read it to them. Just curious, I looked up to see if anyone was still growing big pumpkins feeding them milk and the answer was YES!
I sprayed the thistle covering the leaves completely and go back the next day and checked to make sure they are dead. I'm still finding more thistle and treating it. Today, I won't as vinegar is washed away with water and it's effectiveness with it. We had a big rain last night. Hurray! it will give the alfalfa that was cut a good start on growth again. The country was drying up and we've no irrigation. Some of you said you were going out to try spraying weeds with thistle, how did it go?