NORTH PLATTE, Neb. — Did you have musk thistles last year? If so, I’m sure you’ll have them again this spring. And even through you may have done some herbicide control last fall, there are always those that may have been missed.
This warmer spring weather and recent moisture probably has you anxious to get into the field for planting. Don’t forget, though, that this also a very good time to control musk thistles. And I’ll also bet that you can get into your pastures to spray at least one or two days sooner than you can get into row crop fields to plant.
The current short rosette growth form in the spring is the ideal stage for controlling these plants. That means spray herbicides soon, while your musk thistle plants still are in that rosette form, and very few plants will live to send up flowering stalks.
Several herbicides are effective and recommended for musk thistle control. Some popular herbicides include Milestone, GrazonNext, and Gunslinger P+D. These herbicides will help control other difficult weeds like common mullein as well.
Other herbicides that can control musk thistles in pastures this spring include Chaparral, Cimarron, and Curtail. A tank mix of dicamba and 2,4-D also works very well. No matter which weed killer you use, though, be sure to read and follow label instructions, and be especially sure to spray on time.
All these herbicides will work for you this spring if you spray soon, before musk thistles bolt and send up their flowering stalks. After flowering, though, the shovel is about the only method remaining to control thistles this year.
— Jerry Volesky, Nebraska Extension
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