Cherokee County officials take aim at a bad weed that's harmful and nearly impossible to kill

TAHLEQUAH - The musk thistle spreads quickly and chokes out other plants and crops. It tops the state's list of noxious weeds.  

Educators with the OSU Extension Service are meeting with landowners about how best to get rid of the thistle which involves hitting it in late winter when it's barely above ground; called its rosette stage.

Roger Williams, OSU Extension Service Educator says: "If you'll spray early in the February to March timeframe and kill them when they're in the rosette stage then you can do a whole lot better job killing them."

The musk thistle looks a lot like its cousin the tall thistle, which is not considered a noxious weed.

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And musk thistle seed heads are gone by early July while tall thistle's purple seed heads are out right now and the underside of its leaves are white while the bad musk thistle leaves are green all over.

By law landowners have to get rid of musk thistle or the Department of Agriculture can come spray and add the cost to the owner's tax bill.

Insects called head weevils can kill off musk thistle but recent drought conditions have left their population too low to handle the weed.

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