There are primarily two methods for doing this. The first method is to remove them using chemicals. Physical removal is the second technique. Either approach can be risky if used incorrectly, but both are generally safe if used correctly.
What you should know about both techniques for clearing cacti from your yard is as follows:
Killing a Cactus with Herbicide
Herbicide combinations come in a variety of forms with varied components. Picloram is one such component that you should keep an eye out for. A large fraction of some varieties of cactus can be eliminated with the aid of a herbicide containing picloram.
To aid in absorption, some experts advise incorporating a small amount of dish soap into your picloram herbicide mixture. Since you’ll be spraying it on your cactus, it’s also a good idea to apply some dye. The dye will show you which places you’ve covered and which areas you’ve missed. Blue is a useful dye color to use:
It will assist if the plant is physically harmed before you spray this on the cactus. To make some nicks in the cactus so that the spray may better penetrate the plant’s interior rather than just sitting on the exterior, you can use any form of axe, a shovel, or any pointed object.
Although the insider information helps move things forward more quickly, the parts you spray on the exterior will still be effective.
How to Get Rid of Cactus Without Chemicals
Overwatering cacti or succulent plants is the most typical technique to harm them. Cacti that receive too much water will become mushy and essentially decompose. That doesn’t really help you much in this situation because you still need to dispose of it, which brings us to the main problem with this strategy.
Physical removal, or just getting rid of a cactus, is your only option if you don’t want to employ chemicals to deal with it. After that, you may either discard it in the garage or dispose of it as regular yard garbage.
Depending on where you reside, different cities will give varying guidance or services for this, so you might want to check your local laws. Because it is organic and contains a lot of water, cacti typically shrivel into a much smaller state over time. Be careful, though, because it will be really sharp in the interim.
One part gin, one part vinegar, and one part water make up a DIY cactus killer recipe. This can be put in a spray bottle, sprayed, or poured over the plant’s base.
Here are some helpful suggestions on how to remove a cactus from your yard safely and effectively if you want to avoid using chemicals.
How to Remove a Cactus From Your Yard
After spraying, you still need to get rid of the plant once it has died. In fact, you still need to get rid of it whether or not you sprayed it. Here are some ideas on that as well as advice for getting it off the ground.
The degree of defense you’ll need against its thorns will mostly rely on how big the cactus is, how many of them there are, and what kind they are. Some are far pricklier than others!
The first step is to make sure that you have no exposed flesh anywhere on your body since pricklies are drawn to exposed skin like a magnet. Wear protective eyewear. Put on sturdy boots or shoes, preferably ones with a thick rubber sole.
It is beneficial to cut up a huge cactus when working with it (carefully.) For this, you can use almost any kind of shovel or a blade of some sort, like a machete. Be cautious as you swing and hack at it; at the very least, you should wear eye protection, and if not that, a full face mask.
Murphy’s Law holds that if there is any region of exposed skin on your body, even if it is only covered by a t-shirt, you will inevitably get stung by a cactus there.
Therefore, start by carefully wrapping some of the pieces you remove by chopping at it. Put on thick, hefty gloves with plenty of wrist and arm protection. You’ll be safer if your clothes is more substantial and dense.
The bits you take out of the cactus store up well in cardboard boxes. It’s time to start digging when all that’s left is the plant’s underground roots and bottom portion.
As much of the root system as you can should be dug up. The more you may get, the less probable it is to continue existing, let alone thriving or regrowing. Its size will vary from plant to plant.
What destroys the cactus root?
By applying the herbicide Tordon 22KTM on pricklypear and other cacti, you can achieve 76 to 100% rootkill. Picloram, a component of this product, destroys prickly pear and other cactus.
What substance will destroy cacti?
Pricklypear, tasajillo (pencil cholla), tree cholla, dog cactus, and other cacti species are present in somewhat sparse stands there.
When to Use:
You can use the Brush Busters pad or stem spray technique all year round. After rains have pushed the herbicide into the soil, the Brush Busters method’s herbicide, SurmountTM, is absorbed through the pads and stems as well as through the roots. After spraying, a prolonged period of dry weather may lessen plant death.
1. Get the tools ready
Sprayers mounted on 4-wheel all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), backpack sprayers, livestock sprayers, and small pump-up garden sprayers all perform effectively. For small acreages, garden sprayers work well. In dense stands or where there are dense stands of brush, backpack sprayers might be more effective. On huge acres or in areas where the plants are spread out, ATV sprayers become more effective. Ensure that your sprayer has a nozzle that can provide a coarse spray (large droplets). For large pricklypear plants, a fan-type nozzle might be more effective, but for smaller plants, an adjustable cone nozzle (X6 to X8) will be more effective.
2. Combine Herbicide Mist
By applying the herbicide SurmountTM on pricklypear and other cacti, you can cause 76 to 100% of their roots to die. Picloram, a component of this product, destroys prickly pear and other cactus.
Add water and a SurmountTM concentration of 1 percent to create the spray mixture. Add a non-ionic surfactant or liquid dishwashing detergent to the spray mixture to ensure that the waxy pads or stems are completely coated (see table below). To identify plants that have been sprayed and determine whether you are getting enough spray on the green stems or pads, you can add a spray marking dye, such as Hi-LiteTM Blue Dye.
3. Spray the other cacti or pricklypear.
All year round, with the exception of exceptionally cold conditions, the spray can be used. Spray just enough to almost completely cover the pads or stems without causing runoff. Spraying the prickly pear pads on both sides will yield quicker and more reliable results. The HiLiteTM Blue Dye will work best when dry or cold weather has caused the cacti’s internal grasses to go dormant.
Remember the following:
- A Texas Department of Agriculture Pesticide Applicator License is necessary to purchase and use SurmountTM. For information about licenses, contact your county extension agent.
- obey the instructions on the herbicide label.
- Following the application of pad or stem sprays, prickly pears die very gradually. It could take two or three years for all plants to die.
- Spraying onto damp pads or stems is not advised.
- Avoid spraying when the air is cold.
- If you are working directly upwind of desirable trees, shrubs, or crops, avoid spraying.
- Spraying shouldn’t be done within 100 feet of cracks or sinkholes that could let herbicide seep into subsurface water aquifers.
- Spraying dense pricklypear or other cacti growing beneath desirable trees like live oak or pecan could cause damage to those trees.
- As prickly pear or other cacti density and size increase, treatment costs rise quickly.
- Spraying is not permitted within 20 yards of an endangered plant’s habitat. If you need information about threatened or endangered plants in your area, contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
- Where bunchgrasses are scarce or highly grazed, quail may use large prickly pear bushes as nesting grounds. In times of drought, prickly pears may also be useful as livestock feed or as a food source for javelina or white-tailed deer in South Texas.
- Prior to spraying, mechanical damage that bruises or punctures the prickly pear stems or pads will hasten and enhance plant death.
How can cacti on a field be removed?
Spraying or mechanical removal using a grubbing hoe (for isolated plants) or a skid-loader are the two methods that are typically advised for getting rid of prickly pear (large stands). Occasionally, controlled burns can be employed, but fire is not selective and burning needs a lot of supplementary dry brush (cactus don’t burn well). Burn prohibitions that are in effect across a large portion of the Southwest United States also rule out most people using this technique.
Depending on the scale of the cactus growth and the surrounding vegetation, spraying and grubbing each have their own advantages and disadvantages. Rainfall and temperature can also affect how well your strategy works. Cost might also be a significant factor.
Grubbing or the top-removal method
The most efficient, speediest, and environmentally responsible method of removing substantial stands of pricklypear is generally thought to involve digging up cactus with a skid-loader. However, it can be expensive, with charges for the operator and equipment ranging from $80 to $100 per hour. For tackling substantial cactus stands, Michael Dalrymple, a Mills County, Texas, contractor who specialized in brush removal, advises using a skid-loader fitted with a rock rake. The rock rake’s tines allow dirt to fall back to the ground, decreasing top soil loss and disposal weight in the process. Using this method, the operator is able to cut out several inches of the root, which is sufficient to kill the plant.
In order to bury the uprooted cactus, Dalrymple advises trenching a pit and adding 18 to 24 inches of earth. Cactus that has been heaped up will re-root and develop into an impenetrable mound, unlike cedar that can be stacked up and burned.
It’s crucial to gather as many of the dropped pads as you can. Every pad that is left on the ground has the capacity to take root and grow into a new cactus.
Although mechanical removal can be done at any time of the year, the best times are fall and early winter to allow for reseeding in time for the growing season.
Spraying works well on single plants and lean pricklypear growths. With ground-level spraying, it is practically impossible to completely remove a large, thick stand because pads and stems must be thoroughly coated. Additionally, it’s crucial to avoid spraying close to mature trees and vegetation because those plants’ roots can absorb the toxin.
Large stands of cactus that are far enough away from trees and other valuable flora that the herbicide drift won’t harm or kill are occasionally advised to be sprayed from the air.
Although cacti can be sprayed at any time of the year, most experts advise spraying herbicides in warm weather when rain is forecast since moisture makes the poison easier to absorb.
Results can take six to eight months to appear, and many applications are frequently needed to completely eradicate the cactus.
Although the Dow AgroSciences subsidiary of Dow Chemicals produces a number of efficient herbicides, two of the best-known, Tordon 22K and Surmount, are limited by the federal government and need a license to be used. For spot maintenance, several ranchers advise Dow’s PastureGard HL herbicide because it can be applied without a license. Employing a licensed applicator can cost upwards of $35 per hour plus the herbicide depending on where you live.
- a spade
- a chainsaw or an ax (for large cacti)
- Pruning scissors (for small cacti)
- an outdoor hoe (optional)
- hefty gloves
- an oversized shirt
- lengthy pants
- Planting boots
- protective eyewear
- a few heavy cardboard crates
- an enlarging lens
- serving forks
Put on safety clothes before continuing. Wear long sleeves, long pants, gardening boots, and heavy gloves similar to those described in this article about the best gardening tools. It’s a good idea to use safety eyewear as well, especially if you want to cut a sizable cactus.
Use an axe, chainsaw, or pruning shears to remove the cactus.
For a large cactus, an ax or chainsaw will be more effective, although these pruning shears will do for a tiny cactus. Cut off a small portion of the cactus at a time, beginning at the top, until you reach the soil line. It could fall on you if you cut it from the base. The severed parts can be gathered together using a garden hoe. They should be placed in a sturdy cardboard box using salad tongs. Any that you leave on the ground can develop into more cacti.
the primary root,
Dig around 2-4 inches (5-10 cm) into the ground with a shovel. Use the shovel or ax to cut through the main root once you’ve located it.
- Remove the Roots
- Take out the needles from your shoes and clothing.
- Carefully dispose of the boxes
Get rid of the cartons containing the pieces right away. The cardboard boxes’ interior cactus bits may take root in the earth if they soften and disintegrate. Be mindful of garbage crews who may nick themselves on the debris. This might occur if the boxes get wet or if you don’t properly seal them. Tape the boxes shut and place them in a trash bin if you anticipate that a garbage staff will manually load them into a truck. The best location for the boxes, though, is in a garbage container or dumpster that will be automatically emptied.