It takes many to destroy Canada thistle

Farm Forum

Do you ever have an ongoing problem that never seems to go away? We do, and it is becoming a real headache. I am talking about the nasty, epidemic of Canada thistle throughout the entire K-Farm.

Now, this isn’t just a come up quick problem. For the past 20-plus years, we have been spraying this awful weed, and sometimes I wonder if I ever get ahead of it. We have spent thousands and thousands of dollars on this scourge of the prairies and, of course, this year we are already into another huge expense for spray that kills it for good.

There are areas where we have made concerted efforts to eradicate this scourge, but we just happened to sort of overlook a large slough on the farm and, upon closer inspection, we found the entire slough just inundated with Canada thistle. Now it is beginning to head out, and spraying soon is of the essence.

I journeyed to Performance Agriculture and bought a bunch of spray, got the big sprayer out, hooked it up to our Mule, and waded into a growth so thick, it was necessary to keep the Mule in 4-wheel drive just to work its way through the growth of thistle. It was depressing to see such a growth of weeds. Of course, after a few trips through this undergrowth of stuff, the old Mule rebelled and, suddenly, the red overheat light came on. Needless to say, that was the end of that operation for the day.

Lately, we spray until the red light comes on and then we quit. It will probably take days before we will finish spraying this entire slough for Canada thistle.

We have managed to keep our CRP acres quite free of thistle, but the entire K-Farm needs attention. Some of our pastures are populated by this pesky weed.

According to Curt at Performance Agriculture, it is of no use to spray with the expensive weed-killer during this time of year. The only time the complete Canada thistle plant will die is early spring when it is growing rapidly or late fall right after the first freeze, when the killing spray travels down into the roots. But, we still can’t stand by and let this terrible weed continue to take over, so now we use a strong, strong mixture of plain old 2-4-D and really wet down the plants by very slowly traversing round and round this slough so inundated with this scourge of the prairie.

Traveling around the community, it is not only the K-Farm that is stricken with this infestation. Many, many of the neighbors are dealing with some pretty awful growths of Canada thistle.

It will take a concerted and united effort to rid our fields, sloughs and pastures of this life sucking weed from the face of our land.

Yes, it is easy to ignore and use the Mother Nature method of ridding our world of Canada thistle. That is: “Mother Nature put it there, let her take it away.” That method is not going to work. Everybody must pitch in and destroy these growths on their property.

Yes, it is costly, but it is also painful to see very productive land laid to waste by this heavy infestation of such a costly menace to agriculture.

We would make the clarion call: Let everybody do their part to destroy this terrible weed.

Nuff said.

Gerald “Jerry” Krueger is a retired educator, coach, commercial pilot and farmer.