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Homeowner met with warnings after sharing photo of thriving mystery plant: 'You will never see the end of it'

"Kill it with fire."

"Kill it with fire."

Photo Credit: iStock

Watching things grow in your green space over time can be one of the most satisfying aspects of gardening. It's incredible that such vibrant, sometimes fruit-bearing plants can sprout from a tiny seed with just a little care and attention.

But not everything growing in your garden is welcome, as one Redditor recently discovered the hard way.

They posted to the r/whatisthisplant community to try to establish what a rapidly growing weed in their yard was.

"Kill it with fire."
Photo Credit: Reddit
"Kill it with fire."
Photo Credit: Reddit

"This thing has grown from a sprout to reaching the top of a fence in under a month," they captioned the post. "What the heck is it?"

The commenters seemed to come to a consensus that the aggressively growing plant was a bull thistle, which is invasive in most parts of North America. The National Park Service notes that bull thistles can live for around two years, but their seeds can be dispersed easily by the wind or passing animals.

Redditors warned the gardener that they need to get on top of the situation — and fast. 

"Don't let it bloom and go to seed," one user said. "You will never see the end of it."

"Thistle. Super invasive. Kill it with fire," added another.

But getting rid of thistles isn't exactly a pleasant task. Their spiny leaves can give a nasty pinch, and the roots can be a bit of a nightmare to extract from the soil. 

You also might be wary of using herbicides to deal with the problem, as spraying can see the substance travel to parts of your garden that you didn't intend. Furthermore, chemicals in some weed killers are known carcinogens.

That's why a number of commenters suggested alternative methods for removing the weeds that won't cause such harm.

"Use a couple squirts of white vinegar," suggested one Redditor, with another adding, "If you get 'cleaning vinegar' which is just stronger concentration white vinegar sold in hardware stores and in the cleaning section of grocery stores, you'll find it works even better for killing weeds than regular food-grade white vinegar."

The thistle — Scotland's national flower — might produce attractive purple flowers, but the aesthetics aren't worth the work needed to deal with abundant sprouts in years to come. 

What's more, the weeds will likely compete with native plants for soil, nutrients, space, and water, which will be detrimental to the local ecosystem. 

So if you find them in your garden, bring out the cleaning vinegar from your kitchen cupboard. Some gloves and a shovel might be handy, too. 

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