I’ve been fighting thistles for years in the pasture, it seems. Many years ago, when we rented the pasture for cattle grazing, a big round bale that was brought it left its mark the next year by sprouting a patch of thistles. I’ve tried periodic mowing to knock them back, but since they tiller well and have big roots, it’s hard to get rid of them.
Evidently, the best way to get rid of them (as in most effective, not most fun) is to pull them by hand when they are just about to bloom, as the roots have given most of their energy to the flowering and are at their weakest ebb of the season. So, all five of us donned leather gloves and systematically walked though 1/3 of the pasture and yanked them all. My hope is, we will have to do this only one more time when the grow back again to weaken them enough to say uncle and find some other place to live. Like good fences, no blooming patches of thistles makes good neighbors!