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Thistles- A Lawn Care Problem

There are two main kinds of thistles that get into lawns. One is the Scotch thistle and one is the Canada thistle. One is easy to remove and eradicate; the other is very difficult. Both can be a pain to the barefoot in the grass folks. They both have sharp thorns. The pain of walking on them is not pleasant but it is worse if the thorn breaks off and ends up as a sliver in one’s skin. How do you get rid of them?

The Scotch thistle is the easy one. Although if left to flourish it can reach a height of 3 feet, it normally will tolerate being mowed. Its purple flowers are large and interesting. It is dark green in colour and has a wider leaf than the Canada thistle. It grows as a single plant and one could dig it up and remove it. It also is easy to control with the usual lawn weed killers.

The Canada thistle is the toughie. It has a lighter green foliage that is narrow. It can also reach heights of 3 feet and also has purple flowers. Both thistles have seeds like dandelions that can blow in the wind. In the summer, I have been driving along some city roads when the air is full of the seeds blowing in the wind, much like dandelions parachuting their way into new territory. I know they are thistles because the seed heads can be seen along the roadsides where the weeds have not been cut.

Canada thistle spread by underground rhizomes. Rhizomes are underground stems. If you see one Canada thistle, it is likely attached by a rhizome to another plant a little distance away. If you are planning to dig out the Canada thistle, make sure to dig out the rhizome. If you don’t it will regrow, and you will still have thistles. Canada thistle does not respond well to herbicides. The plants will be killed off, but often the rhizomes continue to live and soon they will send up new sprouts from underground. Only continuous attacking of the Canada thistle will suffice to eradicate this pest from your lawn or garden.

This morning, I went to pick up the paper.  At the road, as I came towards the house, I found about a hundred leatherjackets on the driveway. (No, it wasn’t Friday, the thirteenth and my driveway doesn’t go to Port Dover).

I’m not sure why they were crossing the road. Was it because they like damp areas, and the lawn on the right is wetter than the left. Leatherjackets do prefer the damp, moist areas. When we are trying to assess a lawn to see if they are present, we look in the low spots or under the down spouts, because the leatherjackets are more likely to be found where there is more moisture. On the other hand, maybe it’s because it’s supposed to rain today. Often leatherjackets will come up out of the soil during a heavy rain. People then call because their driveways or patios are teeming with thousands of leatherjackets that have come up out of the waterlogged soil. (They like damp soil, but not if it is waterlogged.) I’m thinking to myself, that these are the leatherjackets who have weatherman’s arthritis. You all know the people who can feel it in their bones. “Yes, sir. . . rain’s coming at 3 o’clock.” Maybe these particular leatherjackets had the ability to know that it’s going to rain, and came up out of the ground to avoid the rush.

By the way, leatherjackets are the larvae of Crane flies. They can damage lawns by eating the blades, roots or crowns.

 Leatherjacket Larvae can feed on Lawns

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Today, I saw a dandelion that was just starting to bloom. Definitely spring is a little late this year. Later than last year for sure, but last year was an early spring. Some years I have seen dandelions as early as mid-April. The first dandelions that I see in April is usually found in a "warm" lawn - a lawn, often by the road, where the asphalt absorbs the sun's rays and then heats up the soil - a lawn that is always in the full sun and in a spot facing south. If the lawn is on a hill, I think the slope allows more of the sun to warm it up more quickly.

All said and done, it means that the rest of the dandelions won't be far behind. The Lawn Care season is in full swing now.

 

If you have a lawn/tree/shrub that needs some Tender Loving Care - get The KING OF GREEN – The Lawn Care Experts

Turf King Home

Click here to Request a Quote Online -

or call us at 905.318.6677 or 1.888.TURFKING (887.3546)

If you would like more information, please Contact us

Follow us on Twitter  http://twitter.com/turfkingofgreen

Join our Facebook page  http://www.bit.ly/FacebookTK

Copyright 2007 Turf King-Hamilton. All Rights Reserved.

 

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