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    Creeping Thistle Removal & Control

    Creeping Thistle Removal & Control - thumbnail

    The overview

    Common Name: Creeping thistle
    Latin name: Cirsium arvense

    In Detail

    • Plants form a deep tap root up to 70cm long in the first year.
    • Creeping thistle spreads via lateral roots which produces new shoots.
    • Roots are brittle and easily broken, fragments can regenerate to form new plants.
    • Large clumps are either male or female and will not self-fertilise, cross pollination can occur where male and female clumps grow adjacent to each another.
    • Seeds are airborne and readily germinate in warm weather.
    • Although the species can be invasive, seeds are an important food source for a range of farmland birds including linnets and finches.

    Who we help

    We have a long track record of managing some of the most complex sites in the country and have worked with the Environment Agency on several large flood alleviation projects, as well as providing advice to the majority of house builders and developers in the UK.
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    Bolton CouncilBritish WaterwaysBerkeley GroupKnowsleyLogoSkanskaBarnfield Construction

    Habitat & Distribution

    • Creeping thistle can be found throughout the UK and is our most common species of thistle. This native species is commonly found on farmlands, road side verges, woodlands and gardens.

    What’s the problem?

    • Creeping thistle can quickly spread creating large colonies which outcompete other species for light, water and nutrients.
    • The plant forms an extensive horizontal creeping root system by which it spreads.
    • Creeping thistle is an injurious weed species and is listed under the Weeds Act 1959.


    • Creeping thistle is a tall biannual species, the flowering stem typically grows to 1 – 1.5m in height usually in the second year.
    • Leaves are elongated, narrow and spined. The upper surface of the leaf is waxy and the underside downy.
    • Flowers heads appear from July to September with lilac-purple florets.
    • Seeds have a downy pappus which aids wind dispersal. The flower stems die back after producing seed.

    Legal Implications? *England

    • The Weeds Act 1959 aims to prevent the spread of listed species onto private land (Ragwort, Broad-leaved Dock, Curled Dock, Creeping Thistle, and Spear Thistle).
    • The Act allows for powers of enforcement requiring land occupiers to take action to control infestations to prevent the spread of Injurious Weeds onto neighbouring land.
    • Failure to comply with enforcements can result in penalties and convictions.

    Control Methods

    Chemical Control

    Creeping thistle can be successfully treated with herbicide, applications are most effective whilst the plant is actively growing and before the flower heads show colour. Established infestations may require several treatments.

    Mechanical Control

    Digging thistle can make the problem worse are broken fragments of root will regenerate forming new plants. Infestations can be weakened by repeated cutting over a number of years before the plants produce seed.

    If you have concerns over Creeping thistle on your land, if you are unsure of your legal responsibilities, or if you would like a quotation for control, please contact one of our specialist surveyors. Treatment costs start at £380.00 + VAT.


    Where we have worked

    We operate nationwide with a Rapid Response Team on standby 7 days a week, to deal with the most urgent client enquiries.

    We’re a dedicated team of professionals who share a great deal of experience. We invest heavily in the continual training of all our employees, ensuring you always have a highly qualified team working on your project with the latest industry accreditations.

    Our process

    1. Identify

    Our first step is to identify if you have an invasive plant. For a quick ID, you can send us some photos. Alternatively, we can carry out a full site survey to confirm the extent of the infestation.

    2. Solution

    We will provide a range of treatment options individually tailored depending on your site requirements.

    3. Quote

    A detailed breakdown of costs for each phase of treatment will be provided, including on-going monitoring programmes with insurance backed guarantees.

    4. Removal

    Our experienced and professional in-house teams will carry out the treatment to the highest of standards to achieve full eradication. All works are carried out in accordance with the INNSA Code of Practice.

    5. Treatment

    A range of treatment solutions are available, from in-situ herbicide application to excavation and removal or burial. All carried out in-house by our experienced team.

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