How to Get Rid of the Thistle Weed


Thistles are an invasive weed, spreading through their root systems. Thistles thrive in home garden conditions--areas that are moist and sunny. These weeds are detrimental to your garden, choking out your garden plants and taking up valuable nutrients from the soil. Thistle weed removal can be accomplished through hand weeding or using weed-removing chemicals. One of the most effective methods for removing thistles is using a rototiller. While it is a little more time-consuming, it is a surefire way to remove all of the existing weeds.

Step 1

Snip the flower from any thistles that have bloomed. Snipping the flowers prevents the seeds from spreading. Use a clean pair of garden shears and snip the flower just below its head. Dispose of flower heads in a trash can or bag.

Step 2

Rototill the soil to a depth of 8 inches. Dig the tines of the rototiller into the soil until it begins to loosen. Continue tilling until you have dug to 8 inches. Work in a straight line in rows.

Step 3

Pull the thistles by hand. Pull the thistles straight up from the ground once the soil is loosened from tilling. Thistles should easily release from the ground.

Step 4

Rake the thistle remnants together. Place these remaining pieces in the trash.

Things You'll Need

  • Rake
  • Shears
  • Trash can or bag
  • Rototiller


  • Ohio State University Extension: Controlling Weeds in Nursery and Landscape Plantings
  • Colorado Gardening: Q&A Weeds
  • Colorado State University Extension: Tilling Your Soil
Keywords: thistle weed, thistle weed removal, removing weeds

About this Author

Sommer Sharon has a bachelor's degree in IT/Web management from the University of Phoenix and owns a Web consulting business. With more than 12 years of experience in the publishing industry, her work has included "Better Homes and Gardens," "Ladies' Home Journal," "MORE," "Country Home," "Midwest Living," and "American Baby." Sharon now contributes her editorial background by writing for several Internet publications.