Sunday, April 10, 2016

Extending the battlelines against Malta star

As you drive along scenic Hill Country highways and byways, you can clearly see invasive bastard cabbage due to its bright yellow blooms. Not so with invasive Malta star-thistle. It is very covert and homely-looking in its diabolical quest to take over the world. See all the green stuff in the photo above? That's a thick crop of Malta star. I personally know how deceptive and sly this bad thistle species is because it pulled one over me in 2012. Then I learned what it was and what it looked like, which led to me declaring outright WAR against it! 

The war continues. And now I've extended the battle lines. 

With my neighbor's permission, I patroled her front yard on Cedar Street this afternoon for Malta star-thistle. THEN I looked over and saw a big crop of it on city easements at the corner of 8th and Cedar. OH MY GOODNESS! Well, I got right to work. Soon both my lovely assistants joined me. First, Gabe, one of our boy cats (he ALWAYS finds me), then my sweet husband James. Between the two of us, we pulled up two big garbage bags of thistles! Sadly, there's more to yank. James pointed out LOTS MORE that grows along another nearby city easement. Sigh.... But just think, if EVERYONE took care of their own properties and neighborhoods, we could win the battle and eventually the war against invasives. I'm not gonna give up! We're trying to take care of our neighborhood.

But alas, some property owners have HUGE populations of invasive species to handle. This afternoon, I walked a small Blanco property at the owners' bequest and was sad to tell them that they have Malta star-thistle (see top photo of this post). I couldn't advise them how to totally get rid of it, but I did suggest that they hand pull thistle around pockets of natives that they want to keep, like gaura and bluebonnets. I also gave them some names of experts to contact and asked that they keep me posted. 

How about it? Have you checked your own yard and property for bastard cabbage and Malta star-thistle? Let's pull together and wipe'em out.


Laura said...

I've been battling star thistle too! I filled 2 50 gallon barrels this weekend, with probably thousands more to go. This included pulling them from my next door neighbor's yard. I also showed the neighbor across the street what they look like and encouraged them to do the same. It feels like a never ending battle though!

Sheryl Smith-Rodgers said...

Once you get the bulk of the thistle pulled, then you'll be making regular patrols like I do. I doubt we'll ever completely eliminate them, but they sure won't take over us either!! Good for you in joining the fight and educating your neighbors, Laura!

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