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How can I permanently rid an area of thistles without using a chemical spray?

My neighbor erected a large berm across the back of my yard-125 ft by 6 ft wide. Only weeds and Thistles grow on this berm. I pulled and sprayed them last year and I put mulch down on the entire berm. I would spray again, however, my vegetable garden is at the base of the berm and I do not want any toxic run off of chemicals into my garden. The thistles are back in full force and I absolutely do not know how to rid myself of these invasive weeds. Please help. Thanks, Karen
Submitted by krb319

Hi, Well thistles are a very difficult problem that I've dealt with myself many times on my Iowa farm. Really the only way I've found to work is with chemical sprays. Mowing frequently does help a lot and not letting the plant set seed is essential, but ultimately a spray is the only thing that can really knock back something as strong as a thistle. Now, there's no reason you can't spray and not have it run into your garden. In fact, if you follow label and spraying directions on most any chemical herbicide you should not have any run-off or drift. I don't see why your veggie garden would have problems as long as you spray on a calm day and only spray the thistles without overdoing it.

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