How to Kill Russian Thistle

Russian thistles are most commonly known as tumbleweeds.
Russian thistles are most commonly known as tumbleweeds. (Image: Cursed thistle image by zogyri from

Russian thistles are commonly referred to as tumbleweeds and can be a pest to gardens and gardeners. The Russian thistle was first introduced to the United States in 1873 by Russian immigrants who planted flax seed that was contaminated with Russian thistle seed. This weed is a summer annual and can be controlled with herbicidex and planning.

Things You'll Need

  • Gloves
  • Pre-emergent herbicide
  • Post-emergent herbicide
  • Lawn mower

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Killing Russian Thistles

Spray the area where Russian thistles grow with pre-emergent herbicide in the early spring. This will help to kill the thistle before it gets a chance to start growing.

Mow the affected early in late spring with the mower blades on the lowest setting. This will prevent any thistle seedlings that survived the pre-emergent herbicide from developing and being able to seed. Continue to mow the area through the summer keeping the blades on the lowest setting possible.

Spray the area with post-emergent herbicides in mid to late summer to kill any thistles that managed to germinate.


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