Fall is upon us, and it is a good time to attack next year’s thistle crop. The three primary thistles that grow in MFA’s trade territory are the Bull Thistle, Musk Thistle and Canada Thistle
In a nutshell, if you see rosettes in the fall, we are dealing with the Musk or Bull Thistle. When looking at plants that have bolted upright already, if the stem has no spines, we are looking at the Canada Thistle.
If the vegetation in our pasture and hay fields will allow spray to reach the rosettes, then we can expect a fall spraying to reduce our spring thistle population greatly. We have to remember that we will be hitting Bull and Musk Thistle only in the fall. Canada Thistles can be addressed next spring.
A November or early December application of 2 pints of GrazonNext HL per acre or 2 ounces of Chaparral per acre will do a nice job. Don’t forget to use Astute as your surfactant at the proper rate of 1 quart per 100 gallons of solution. This means the difference between success and failure because good surfactant causes the solution to spread out on the leaf surface and stick to the plant better. To spot spray, mix 2 ounces of GrazonNext HL and ½ ounce of Astute per gallon of water. In addition to cleaning up thistles you’ll also do a nice job of preventing many winter annuals, such as henbit and chickweed. Spray on a day that is at least 45 degrees and the ground is not frozen.
I am often asked, “At what point should I sacrifice my clover to kill my weeds?” After looking at many of these fields, I have come to the conclusion that if you are asking the question, then it is usually time to spray now. A healthy, weed free grass stand will produce more pounds of beef per acre than a weedy field with clover. Producing more pounds of beef per acre improves efficiency and your bottom line. After the weeds are controlled, and the residual herbicide has dissipated, we can reintroduce clover.
Fall is also a great time to soil test. Knowing what nutrients are lacking and what the pH is can help us to formulate a plan for healthy grass stands. Sign-up your acres for Nutri-Track today for accurate grid sampling along with expert recommendations to efficiently utilize your lime and fertilizer inputs. Act now so we can go into spring in better shape than we are today.
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