Canada Thistle (Cirsium arvense) Response to Clipping and Seeding of Competitive Grasses


Chemical restrictions, ecological concerns, liability issues, and public sentiment present challenges to land managers attempting to control highly invasive plants like Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense [L.] Scop.). Although herbicide application can be an effective control strategy, increasing limitations force managers of sensitive environments (e.g., national parks, wildlife refuges, protected water-bodies or waterways) to search for effective control alternatives. A greenhouse study was conducted to test the effectiveness of clipping (to simulate field mowing) and grass seeding as alternatives for Canada thistle control. Two native North American grasses (western wheatgrass [Pascopyrum smithii {Rydb.} A. L?ve] and streambank wheatgrass [Elymus lanceolatus {Scribn. & J.G. Sm.}Gould ssp. lanceolatus]) and one sterile hybrid cross between common wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and tall wheatgrass (Thinopyrum ponticum [Podp.] Z.W. Liu & R.C. Wang) called RegreenTM were used. The effects of clipping and grass seeding on Canada thistle growth, and the effect of Canada thistle on grass growth, were evaluated using 14 unique treatments applied to potted Canada thistle and grass plants. Clipping inhibited Canada thistle growth (by 60%), while grass seeding had no effect. Presence of Canada thistle inhibited grass growth for all seeding treatments except when RegreenTM and western wheatgrass were seeded together with Canada thistle. Planting multiple species for restoration of Canada thistle-infested sites may be important (RegreenTM + western wheatgrass treatment), and cutting Canada thistle may be useful for reducing its growth in restored areas.

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J. Knudson, P. Meiman, C. Brown, G. Beck, M. Paschke and E. Redente, "Canada Thistle (Cirsium arvense) Response to Clipping and Seeding of Competitive Grasses," American Journal of Plant Sciences, Vol. 3 No. 9, 2012, pp. 1252-1259. doi: 10.4236/ajps.2012.39151.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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