How to Get Rid of Thistles Permanently

If you’ve been gardening for a while now then you must know that not all plants are good, and that there are a lot of species that require getting rid of.

Some are trickier to kill than others, which is why you need exactly which harmful you’re dealing with in order to know the correct way of neutralizing it.

Thistles are one of these species that can damage the nearby plants in your garden. If you have decided to kill it and you want to know how to get rid of thistles permanently, so this guide is written for you to help you with all the available methods.

How to Get Rid of Thistle for all

Thistles are very stubborn and hard to kill, and it might take you up to 3 growing seasons for you to completely get rid of them. this might sound like a lot of work, but with the right methods, you’ll do it very effectively.

Let’s discover the method you can follow to kill this plant!

How to Get Rid of Thistles Organically


Start by cutting the thistles when they reach about 6 inches tall in early June right before the flowering stage. You should also cut it again when you see new growth to prevent it from spreading seeds.

The flowers should be cut before drying out.

cut Thistle

How To Get Rid Of Thistles By Removing Its Roots

If the plant only has a few sprouts then you should dig out its roots. You can use a shovel to dig it out if it’s in the ground too deep. Then remove all roots and throw them in the trash.

Cover It

Cover the area where the thistles are growing with carboard or plastic. Because the plant needs a lot of sunlight to grow, it will likely die with time under that cover.

How to Get Rid of Thistles Permanently 1

Let It Compete For Nutrition

Plant grass in the same area where the thistles are to make them compete for nutrition. You can do that by sprinkling grass seed over the are where you have thistles. Make sure you leave no spot empty of grass or else thistles will grow there.

Livestock Can Eat It

Get Rid of Thistle

Let livestock eat it. If you have an open space where cattle can go around and feed, let them. Livestock that will eat it include cattle, donkeys, llamas, sheep, goats, and ponies.

Insects Can Eat It Too

You can use some insects to destroy it. Release any of the following insects into the field where there are thistles and they will love to eat it.

  • The Adult Thistle-Head Weevil
  • Thistle Rosette Weevil
  • Thistle-Stem Gall Fly
  • Flower Weevil
  • Stem-Mining Weevil
  • Yellow Star thistle Bud Weevil
  • Yellow Star thistle Hairy Weevil.
How to Get Rid of Thistles Permanently 2

How to Get Rid of Thistles Using Natural Herbicides

Method #1 Vinegar

Get Rid of Thistle using vinegar

Put your household white vinegar in a bottle, then spritz it into the thistles until they are soaked and are dripping with it. After a few days, the thistles should be dead.

Method #2 Epsom Salt

Salt is known for killing some plants or at least preventing their roots from growing. Sprinkle the salt directly at the base of the plant so it deprives it from its nutrients and eventually kills it.

How to Get Rid of Thistle using salt

Make sure you sprinkle enough of it to effectively kill the plant.

Method #3 Organic Herbicide

Organic herbicides are available at your nearest gardening store. Make sure the kind you get doesn’t kill the plants you want to keep. Follow the instructions you’ll find on the bottle and you’ll be good. You can find here more natural DIY weed killer methods.


How To Get Rid of Thistles By Applying Chemical Herbicides

There are systemic weedkillers that you can get your hands on that target the weed directly. This means that you won’t need to worry about killing the nearby plants.

These weed killers have glyphosate in them which is the one responsible for the direct targeting of the weeds.

If you’re dealing with a large area that is full of these thistles then you’re going to need something that is stronger.

The non-selective broadleaf herbicides that have clopyralid in them can kill pretty much every plant they find. The thistles have no chance of surviving them.

How to Get Rid of Thistle permanently

These herbicides are available in all gardening stores and online on Amazon.

Mix the herbicide according the instructions shown on the label and then start applying it to the plants directly in order to kill them. 

Applying this one is tricky because you might end up killing the nearby vegetation. You need to apply it very carefully.

This herbicide is applied best during growing season which usually comes either in spring or fall.

Protective gear is a must, because this product may harm your skin. Protect all of your skin, eyes, nose and mouth.

Now all you have to do is wait for about a week before you’ll start to notice the plants dying. The herbicide usually takes its time with them but is very effective nonetheless.

How to Get Rid of Thistle using chemical solutions

You need to keep an eye on the thistles to make sure the herbicide is working properly. The first thing you’ll start to notice is the color fading and turning to yellow. After that it will start dying.

Finally, if the thistles show up again after a while, this means that the roots are still alive and still getting their nutrients from the ground. Simple re-apply the herbicide and it’ll do its job all over again killing them.

Applying it even for a third is good because it will completely destroy the plant and its roots. The instructions on the herbicide usually says how long you must wait before you can apply it again.