Thursday, June 1, 2023

Exterminating thistle

I seemed to have found the magic potion to kill Canadian Thistles.

Efforts in previous years had poor results. In retrospect, the primary problem is that upper surface of the thistle leaf repels water...and spray. It has a waxy coating and spray seems to bounce off.

This year I bit the bullet and bought a bottle of Dawn dishwashing detergent. The "kids" bought some for dishes and it is clearly far more concentrated than the cheaper Ajax I have been using as a surfacant (wetting agent) in my spray.

I start each load of broadleaf herbicide with a generous squirt of Dawn dishwashing degergent...a good two or three ounces. Then about a teaspoon of swimming pool pH reducer (lower pH changes leaf surface and increases penetration rate of herbicide. It also captures "tramp" ions like Ca++, Mg++, Fe+++ that want to bind with 2,4-D molecules), then a gallon of soft-water (again, to reduce the tramp ions). A couple of ounces of 44% 2,4-D concentrate. Mix. Spray at low pressure to ensure big droplets that do not blow and have enough momentum to "splash" the leaf surface to break-down the resistance to wetting.

This is a very good time to spray Canadian Thistle in my part of the world. The plants are still growing upward and the 2,4-D mimics growth regulators. The faster the plant growth the more it messes them up.

In other news

I drove by Erickson Power Station in Delta Township. Eckert added a gas turbine a few years ago.

I saw that the construction crews were taking down the cooling towers. Good-bye 159 MW of coal generation.

Ecologists are cheering.

I regret that they did not leave the capacity in-place as a back-up.


  1. Same thing is happening here with the TVA coal plant. You may have heard of it, biggest coal-ash spill ever in Kingston, TN? Buncha fancy houses where that spilled now... anywhoo, TVA said they're phasing out of coal, will either shut the peaker plant down entirely, or convert to gas. Spent eleventy-billion dollars on the 'clean coal EPA certified smoke stack'... old one from the 40's still stands (too contaminated to take down, lol).
    This green thing IS going to be the death of our society. You can argue what and why for all day, but I focus on the results. They ARE killing the grid. Wether it be on purpose or with good intention is debatable. What isn't, is that we can kiss our old reliable energy goodbye. As more plants get closed, and more cars and things switch electric... do the math!

  2. Thistles are biennials. First year roots (late fall or very early spring before the talk stalk starts developing) can be cooked or eaten. My favorite part in to peel and eat the tender core of the stalks when they are a foot to a foot and a half tall.

  3. I started using a 'wetting' agent called Accel that I got from my local Intermountain Farmers Association (IFA) store. It has made a big difference in the effectiveness of my spraying. Well worth it.

  4. From my years with G.E. Apparratus and Repair, I learned that it takes a minimum of 13 years from inception to completion to build a power generation plant using steam-powered turbines.
    And on another note...ya ever wonder if the power companies are using the "green" excuse to off load the old, worn out plants, and when that is done, get the next generations to build their replacements- with public funding, of course, meaning our tax dollars.

  5. I read many years ago that repeated plantings of HEMP will crowd out the thistle and eliminate it from your property. Unfortunately there is a war on anything and everything that looks like hemp...but its a great plant.

  6. Cogeneration sets (gas turbines with bottoming steam plants) are VERY efficient, the turbine side can run higher temperatures than a pure steam fossil-fired plant AND the steam generated from the gas turbine exhaust takes the final cycle temperature down gaining more efficiency. My brother worked at a site with gas fired supercritical steam plants (705F, 3,200 psi) that were all replaced by gas fired combined cycle units because of the higher efficiency.

    It takes a long time to fire up a pure steam plant and make it ready for load so I'm not too surprised they retired the coal plants.

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  8. FWIW I mix in a good spoonful of water softener crystals, NaCl not CaCl with the weed spray. For the really tough stuff I picked up some "Outrider", spendy, but at 6 GRAMS to a 15 gallon tank with a splash of 2,4 -D backer I killed some head high Johnson Grass and other tuffy weeds stone cold dead last fall and didn't hurt my Vetch, Clover, or Fescue for this year. They are filling in where it used to be.


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