Cleaning up teasel in the Meadows

Cutleaf Teasel is a tall, (6-10 foot), spiky single stemmed large leafed herbaceous perennial from Europe. Its composite flowers form a sausage shaped head on long multiple stems growing from leaf nodes.

Teasel begins to bloom in late July. After a wet spring this teasel is over 8 feet.

Cutleaf teasel

An escapee from gardens, it is now considered invasive in Colorado due to its prolific reseeding in open areas. To help my local parks and rec, I volunteered to cut down teasel along a ditch bank where narrow-leaf willow and cottonwood trees grow. What looks like only 100 plants is much more. I have taken out four large trash bags over the last week. The worst part being dragging the bags to the car. With it being hot and smoky I can’t do much more than that. Plus I’m out of bags! But some progress has been made and I feel good!

In center of photo, Cutleaf Teasel with white flowers stands above willow and brome grass in the foreground.

Teasel is not all bad in that at least it does feed many species of native bee at this time of year. So I’m taking about 10 ft at a time out of an area that is over 100 ft long. The bees well have some flowers to nectar from for another week. under the large plants I also found a large area of garlic and Wood’s rose as well as the milkweed. I am hoping I can intersperse some ironweed or figwort as a late summer snack to replace the teasel nectar.

Update: Sept 7

The teasel has gone to seed and removing today required careful handling. The seeds spill out of the dry heads. By the hundreds! But I did manage to finish the north side of the drainage.

Seeds fell when removing stalks in early September. To prevent seeding, remove just after the white flowers begin to drop.
Teasel seed up close.

An amateur gardener who loves to watch the garden grow.

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