The seeds are one tenth to two tenths of an inch long, with plume-like bristles on the tip. Prevention: Bull thistle only reproduces by seed so prevention of seeding and takign care not to spread seeds are key to preventing new infestations. They grow from seed the first season as a rosette (a taproot with a cluster of leaves on the soil surface). Urophora stylat… The seeds are short‐lived and most on or near the soil surface do not remain viable for more than a year. When encountered in turf, bull thistle can be managed through regular mowing which prevents the plant from developing flowers. Large individuals may produce tens of thousands of wind-dispersed seeds. Thistles that are actively growing and in the rosette to flower stage of growth can be controlled with a post-emergence herbicide application. See the biological control page for more information. Those flies lay eggs in developing bull thistle flower buds. Take care to remove the entire fleshy taproot for best results. Remove stems from site if plants are cut or pulled with flowers. Herbicide Use. This gall fly’s larvae induce and feed on gall tissue in the developing bull thistle seedhead, reducing seed production up to 60%. The early leaves of its young plant are also oval with a spine-like fringe. Other Info: Similar to Canadian thistle, the more robust bull thistle was introduced to the United States in the 1800’s from Europe and Asia, and has now spread to 42 states, being declared a noxious weed in 16. Do not leave cut stems of flowering bull thistle on the ground because they are likely to form viable seed after they are cut. After spraying, wait two weeks or more to give the herbicide time to work. The Bull thistle also provides seeds to granivores (consumers of grains and seeds) such as goldfinches. Bull thistle (Cirsium vulgare) is a plant that is related to the sunflower family but has none of the charm and beauty of those sunny-nodding flower heads. and get spread around with abandon. Carduus nemoralis E.H.L.Krause. Thistle seed bird food is great for year-round feeding. In summer the plant grows a scented flower that resembles a spiny globe topped with fringed pink petals. Also, goats and sheep have both been used for grazing management of bull thistle. Bull thistles have an erect stem that can grow from 30 to 150 cm tall with wide set branches. Bull thistle is a biennial plant that can grow up to six feet tall. We can provide advice on how to control bull thistle, but there is generally no legal requirement to do so. Chemical treatment is most effective on the first year rosettes of bull thistle plants. The plant has the ability to produce around 5,000 seeds in a season. Bull thistle prefers sunny, open areas and can tolerate a wide range of conditions, from moist to dry soils, and is typically found in disturbed areas such as roadsides, trails, logged areas, vacant land, pastures and cultivated land. What's more, one individual plant can produce up to 5,000 seeds, making it quite prolific. Bull thistle can reach a height of 3 feet. Seeds germinate rapidly and are spread by wind. If cut too early before flowering, plants may re-sprout and flower again that season. Bull thistles are biennial and only bloom every two years. As the stem gets thicker, the wings start drying and disappearing. These attach themselves to any object that brushes against them. Melissa King began writing in 2001. It is a prickly biennial that grows freely in disturbed soils, pastures, ditches, roadsides and unmanaged spaces. https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/forb/cirvul/all.html Cirsium vulgare, the spear thistle, bull thistle, or common thistle, is a species of the Asteraceae genus Cirsium, native throughout most of Europe (north to 66°N, locally 68°N), Western Asia (east to the Yenisei Valley), and northwestern Africa ( Atlas Mountains ). Bull thistle reproduces only by seed. Bull thistle seeds are numerous and straw-colored. Digging the plant out with a spade or hori hori is the best approach to mechanical bull thistle control. Weedy characteristics: Bull thistle is highly competitive and aggressive, and forms dense colonies that choke out native vegetation important to wildlife and pollinators. Because control is not required in the county, it is on the list of Non-Regulated Noxious Weeds for King County. Seeds. Note: Chemical control should only be used as a last resort, as organic approaches are more environmentally friendly. As mentioned earlier, they thrive in disturbed soils.) If the bull thistle population is large enough to support a good sized population of this insect, it can be an effective way to reduce seed production of the bull thistle. The white pappus “parachute”or “hair”, is about ¾ inch long (20+ mm). Caution: Plants have spines along leaves and stems. Find more gardening information on Gardening Know How: Keep up to date with all that's happening in and around the garden. Bull thistle - Cirsium vulgare or Canada thistle - Cirsium arvense).As a biennial it reaches flowering stage in year 2 before dying off. Program offices are located at 201 S. Jackson St., Suite 600, Seattle, WA 98104. principle to bull thistle control is preventing seed production. For grassy areas, it is best to use a selective broadleaf herbicide to keep the competitive grasses intact. (When we first moved here, the place was overrun with thistles. Most seeds germinate rapidly, usually in the spring and fall. For more information, see Noxious Weed Lists and Laws or visit the website of the Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board. Wildflowers Of WisconsinWild… The bull thistle is a biennially growing plant. Bull thistle rosette (left). The seeds survive in soil for more than 10 years. The leaves of a bull thistle are large, woody and are flatted and basal rosette during their firs… In agricultural situations, the introduction of a bull thistle seed head gall fly has been proposed as a biological agent. Roots. All biennial thistles considered noxious are native to Europe or Eurasia, and were introduced into North America as seed contaminants. Seeds buried at a depth of 5 inches may remain viable for up to three years. Cutting off only the flower stalks will merely make the plant sprout another shoot; also, cut flower stalks left on the ground are likely to produce viable seeds, even after they are cut. Additionally, native thistles are noticeably less prickly than weedy, non-native thistles, like bull thistle (Cirsium vulgare) or Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense). Bull thistle spreads by seeds. Because bull thistle is so widespread, property owners in King County are not required to control it and we are not generally tracking infestations. Biennials require portions of two growing seasons to reproduce. Bull thistle starts life as a spiny leaved rosette. A tough weed to kill, the flower heads on thistles possess thousands upon thousands of thistle seeds, which allows them to spread at an exponential rate both above and below the soil. This plant bears leaves that end in extended, very sharp thorns and are beige in colour. Casual removal with this method is likely to leave behind the genesis of a plant in spite of the foliar amputation. Cultivation and tilling can also be effective to control bull thistle. Flower Seed Head. Clemson, SC. The types of sprays used in agricultural scenarios are dicamba, glyphosate or 2,4D. There are several herbicides that are effective on bull thistle, but it is important to carefully match the product with your site, local conditions and regulations, and other weed and land management issues, and always follow the label directions for the product you are using. Seeds spread by wind and have high dispersal rates. The flowers are produced at the ends of the tangled stem growth and last for several weeks before producing tiny striped seeds capped with white downy hairs. Seedling: Cotyledons of the bull thistle are oval-shaped, being broadest at the apex. Seeds on the surface typically do not survive for more than a year; seeds buried may remain viable for up to three years. It is a prickly biennial that grows freely in disturbed soils, pastures, ditches, roadsides and unmanaged spaces. Chemical control: For information on herbicides and recommendations for control, please see the Pacific Northwest Weed Management Handbook. Comparatively, Canada thistle is a perennial that reproduces through underground rhizomes and wind-blown seeds. Knowing which birds eat Nyjer can help birders choose the best birdseed and appropriate feeders for their backyard flock. This thistle plant I’m testing is a bull thistle, and the spines are huge and rigid. The species name, altissimum, means “the tallest.”It is a biennial with a tap root, not a rhizomatous root like some agressive, non-native thistles (i.e. Reproduction is performed only through the seeds. Read about the presence and treatment of bull thistle after the 2012 Reading Fire. It's no wonder this species might take over a pasture in a few short years. Contaminated hay is a primary means of spread of this species so be careful to purchase weed free hay or watch closely for new plants in the areas hay is kept or spread. To contact staff, see the Noxious Weed Control Program Directory, send an email, or call 206-477-WEED (206-477-9333). …and without the pappus. Bull thistle thrives in sunny areas in a variety of soil types and conditions. The plant has colonized much of North America and is a pest plant in the garden and in agriculture. When roasted, the thistle's seeds serve as a coffee substitute. Weed Photos: Courtesy of Dr. Lambert McCarty. It has a central taproot so does not spread by rhizomes. An individual plant can produce up to 100,000 seeds. The outer rim of the flower is green and spiny itself, and contains many disk shaped flowers that are reddish-purple. The hairy, prickly leaves overwinter to develop stems and branches of up to 2 feet in spring. For widespread control, mowing twice per year has been effective in reducing the population by preventing seed heads. This insect will not get rid of the bull thistle, however, just reduce its impact. After hatching, the larvae burrow into the seed-prodcuing tissues to feed, forming galls and reducing seed production. Bull thistle is a Class C Noxious Weed in Washington, first listed in 1988. Nyjer seed also commonly known as niger or thistle seed is popular with many backyard bird species, particularly seed-eating birds and winter finches. Hand-pull and dispose of flowering plants in trash to prevent seed spread. Prevention: Bull thistle only reproduces by seed so prevention of seeding and takign care not to spread seeds are key to preventing new infestations. In this video, I show you how to identify Bull Thistle Seeds in the Fall. A common type of weed most homeowners and gardeners hate to see sprouting up on their turf is thistle. The goldfinch is particularly attracted to the thistle. Public and private landowners are not required to control infestations of bull thistle that occur on their property in King County. Thistle is the common name of a group of flowering plants characterised by leaves with sharp prickles on the margins, mostly in the family Asteraceae.Prickles can also occur all over the plant – on the stem and on the flat parts of the leaves. Even horses will help by picking out many of the nectar-rish flowers and eating them before they go to seed. Spiny-winged, hairy stems elongate during the second year, often branched up to 7 feet tall. Bull thistle may also dominate forest clear cuts and reduce growth of tree seedlings. Harvest Tall Thistle lives up to its name, growing up to seven feet in height. By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist. Though bull thistle is difficult to contain, frequent mowing before it flowers can help keep it … The Bull thistle was used by early humans as a warm medicinal tea. Around here it’s not too hard to find a thistle plant, and our main variety is common Bull Thistle (Cirsium vulgare). Red to purple, usually solitary flower heads consisting of only disk flowers are … Mechanical control: Mowed thistles will produce new branches from basal buds but close cutting or cutting twice per season will usually prevent seed production and reduce the population over time. Seeds usu-ally germinate in the spring and fall and have a 95% germination rate. Bull thistle is distasteful to most grazing animals, giving the thistle a competitive edge. The flowers are located at the end of stems covered in spiny hairs. Bull thistle might be confused with native thistles as well as more serious noxious weeds such as milk thistle, a Class A noxious weed in Washington, and Canada thistle, a Class C noxious weed that is much more difficult to control. Bull thistle plants can produce approximately 7000 seeds. Bull thistle can be controlled most effectively by cutting the root several inches below the ground. The seed of bull thistle remains viable for only a few years, but structures similar to those on dandelion seeds enable new bull thistles to drift downwind into the park. Bull thistle control can be manual or chemical with an emphasis on seed control. On smaller plants, the whole stem and branches are spiny-winged. Thistles are found throughout the United States and Canada. Coarse hairs of bull thistle (right). Pasture Thistle, also called Field Thistle, is a biennial or short-lived perennial. Most King County offices will be closed on December 25, for Christmas Day. A single field thistle seed with pappus. More more effective control, cut plants with a sharp shovel at 1-2 inches below the soil surface prior to flowering. Contaminated hay is a primary means of spread of this species so be careful to purchase weed free hay or watch closely for new plants in the areas hay is kept or spread. However, it has been shown to have limited effectiveness. Pull thistles before they bloom so their seeds don't spread in the wind. Clemson University. 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