Summit County Thistle

Noxious Weed Removal: FDRD + ESWA

We recently had the opportunity to partner with Eagle Summit Wilderness Alliance to learn about the different types of noxious weeds present in Summit County and how we can effectively go about removing them.

Jim Alexander, an expert on weed identification and removal, led this volunteer effort on the Maryland Creek trail. We specifically focused on thistle, the most present weed in the area. The Musk, Canada, and other noxious thistle are easily spotted by their bright pinkish heads. If they haven’t fully matured, these heads are mere buds. Regardless, they hold thousands of seeds and should be cut off before they have the chance to scatter. After cutting off the bulbs and putting them in trash bags, we proceeded to pull the entire weed, making sure to include the root. Together we pulled up to 800 thistle.

Noxious vs Native Thistle

A noxious weed is an invasive species and can be harmful to its surrounding environment. However, it is important to keep in mind that not all thistle are noxious. There are slight discrepancies between native thistle and the noxious ones. Let’s distinguish between the two and prevent the inadvertent spraying or pulling of native species.

Native thistle:

-Reddish stems

-Shorter in height

-Found as individual plants or can grow in small groups of 2-4

Noxious thistle:

-Bright green stems and leaves

-Can grow up to 6 feet tall

-Solitary stem or several stems from one base, high branched above

Join us next time!


Written by Abby Wineland