Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The big, the bad, and the UGLY - the world of thistle roots

Did YOU know the terrible secret of the thistle root? I didn't until yesterday. 

See, I knew it was important to get rid of the thistle roots. I knew that any little piece would become a horrible plant. 

So, I carefully dug them out. Pulled out all those delicate, tender thistle roots, and felt most pleased with myself. 

Yesterday, I went out to tackle an area of my garden that was rather horribly covered with thistles. I had been working at it for a while, and had amassed a good sized pile of what I thought were thistle roots (see above). 

See? I was so pleased with the large root I was able to eradicate. 

UNTIL.... I realized that all my roots were broken to some extent, meaning there was more below. So, I started digging. And digging. And then, just to break up the pace, I did a bit more digging. The more I dug, the more horrified I became. 

See that looooong, thick root - almost the length of my shovel? That is a piece of one of the REAL thistle roots I finally uncovered and pulled out (this one was in part thanks to the brawn of my sweetie). 

I wish I had taken a picture while digging this one out... It looked most impressive standing 2-3 feet high out of the garden... 

The thought occurred to me as I was digging away (as it has before), that thistles are an awful lot like sin. They can have pretty purple flowers, and from a distance, a field of thistles is rather attractive, just as sin can look pretty attractive on the outside. If you pull thistles when they're young, you don't need gloves, but if they get big - yowsers - just as it is so much simpler to nip a wrong action/attitude/word in the bud rather than waiting until it is a major part of your life. 

And, as I learned last night, just cutting off the tops or even pulling out the obvious root isn't enough. It takes sweat, tears (ok, maybe I'm exaggerating that one), blood (and that one), and perseverance to get rid of those little suckers - and man oh man are they pervasive! That one root had sent up close to a dozen thistle plants, and if I'd just kept pulling out the thistles, I'd have been doing that all summer! 

It was a very good reminder to me that I am on my own unable to completely eradicate my sin nature and the 'roots' of my 'thistles' - I need Christ's power, and the work of the Holy Spirit in my life. I am so very grateful He is willing to remove the nasty roots of sin in my life! 


  1. Not surprising - Canada thistle can have roots as long as 10-15 feet! Usually digging them out is impractical. ;) Your determination is inspiring!!!

    Some ways to kill them naturally besides digging them) are:
    1. Boiling water - just pour it over a small thistle plant. You may need to reapply several times before it kills the root.
    2. If you repeated chop off the top off the plant (the green part) over a season, you will weaken the root enough to kill it.
    3. Spray the plant with homemade plant killer (again works only on young greenery). Here is a link:


  2. Thanks so much, Jenny! That is very good and helpful to know... :-D