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How to Get Rid of the Thistle Weed

By Sommer Leigh ; Updated September 21, 2017
Thistles are an invasive 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.

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.

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.

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.

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


Things You Will Need

  • Rake
  • Shears
  • Trash can or bag
  • Rototiller


  • Repeat thistle removal as often as needed until there is no regrowth.

About the Author


Sommer Leigh has produced home, garden, family and health content since 1997 for such nationally known publications as "Better Homes and Gardens," "Ladies' Home Journal," "Midwest Living," "Healthy Kids" and "American Baby." Leigh also owns a Web-consulting business and writes for several Internet publications. She has a Bachelor of Science in information technology and Web management from the University of Phoenix.