Thistles in ivy

Asked September 17, 2019, 8:15 PM EDT

I'm not sure if I have submitted this question already. My computer ran out of battery as I submitted it. I have a bed of ivy that has thistles in it. I have pulled them all in the spring but they are back. Is there a way to get rid of these permanently or a better way to combat them without destroying the ivy too. They are not bull thistle. Thank you.

Oakland County Michigan

1 Response


If it isn’t bull thistle then it is likely Canada thistle. Here is the control option from

“Canada thistle is typically labeled difficult-to-control. Applications of 2,4-D, MCPP and dicamba will not usually provide acceptable control of Canada thistle. Triclopyr and clopyralid used alone or in combination with each other or phenoxy herbicides provides the best results in the trials at MSU. Fluroxypyr, the replacement for clopyralid in many pre-mix combinations, does nothave activity on thistle. Primary application timing should be targeted for early-fall. Multiple applications (28-day interval) may be necessary.

Disclaimer:Always read, understand, and follow the label directions. Mention or exclusion of specific products does not represent an endorsement or condemnation of any product by Michigan State University.”

Since this is in your ivy, you will have to paint the thistle with the chemical, being careful to drip as little as possible on your groundcover. Use a disposable paint brush. It might be helpful to make a cardboard shield to hold while painting the thistle. Let the treated thistles stand for several days so the chemical has time to move down to the root. Now is the best time to treat these plants, as they are sending sugars to their roots to store it for winter- this process will carry the chemical down to the roots as well. As noted, you will likely have to retreat the area. Keep the flowers clipped off to minimize any seed dropping to the soil.

I hope this is helpful. Thanks for using our service.