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.
Is vinegar harmful to cacti?
If you decide to use vinegar on your succulents, be careful to dilute it first and rinse any topical applications off right once. If it is left on the succulent, it may burn the thick cuticle covering the leaves, stem, and roots, making the plant more susceptible to fungus.
What causes cactus roots to die?
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.
A cactus will salt harm it?
Most plants can be killed by a few grains of rock salt. Spread the salt around the plant’s base and let it organically decompose in the wetness of the soil. You may only need three or four chunks for little weeds like dandelions. Try using a handful of the salt on larger plants. Add a little more rock salt around the bases of the plants if you don’t see any wilting after around two days. It works quite quickly. Rock salt will better integrate into the soil if watered right away after being added to the plants.
How can you get rid of a cactus?
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.
Is applying vinegar on plants okay?
The most popular application for household vinegar is as an organic weed killer. When used on those annoying, difficult-to-kill weeds, they will vanish in two to three days, but you must be cautious when spraying it around specific plants because it may be damaging to them. To complete the task, combine one gallon of white vinegar with a cup of salt and a few tablespoons of dish soap.
What occurs if vinegar is poured on plants?
Oh my! A safe, accessible (typically in the kitchen cupboard), and reasonably priced product to use as a herbicide is vinegar. Your neighbor, your neighbor’s grandma, and your mother have all long advocated using vinegar to prevent weed growth in the garden, but does it work?
About 5% of vinegar includes acetic acid, which, as its name implies, burns when it comes in touch with skin. Actually, anyone who has inhaled vinegar knows that it has an immediate reaction and affects the mucous membranes as well. The use of vinegar in the garden has been promoted as a panacea for a variety of garden ailments, most notably weed management, due to its burning properties.
Vinegar’s acetic acid destroys cell membranes, causing tissues to dry out and the plant to die. While this may sound like a wonderful solution to the weed infestation in your yard, I doubt you would be as happy if vinegar were to harm your perennial plants or your garden’s produce if it were used as a herbicide.
One can acquire acetic acid with a higher concentration (20%), but doing so can have the same negative effects as using vinegar as a herbicide. It has been demonstrated that some weed control can be created at these greater acetic acid concentrations (controlling 80 to 100% of smaller weeds), but make sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions. Take the necessary measures and be mindful of its caustic effects on your skin, eyes, and nasal passages, as well as your garden plants.
Despite the long-standing advocates for vinegar use in gardening, not much helpful evidence has been established. The USDA’s weed-control research with solutions containing 5% vinegar seems to have failed to provide any conclusive results. The growth of some annual weeds may be slowed down by higher quantities of this acid (10 to 20 percent) found in retail goods, and it will destroy the foliage of perennial weeds like Canada thistle without harming the roots, allowing for regrowth.
In conclusion, using vinegar as a herbicide may be somewhat successful on small annual weeds before planting a garden and during the dormant season for the grass, but for long-term weed management, it’s probably best to continue with the tried-and-true methods of hand pulling or digging.