Ouch! Ouch! Recommend some cactus-proof gloves!

gittarheero(6)February 26, 2009

I bought a pair of gloves to plant some cacti, and had to throw them out because they got Opuntia spines in them. Even with tape and washing them, couldn't use them again and ended up throwing them out, along with the Opuntia which had a couldn't-get-rid-of infestation of mealy bugs.

Now I am in the market for another pair of gloves. I no longer have anything fine-spined, I am just trying to protect myself from a rather large and spiny euphorbia, a 9 inch golden barrel, etc while I repot them.

Any recommendations?!


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As you discovered, *nothing* is effective against glochids. For very short, but large spines (like some Euphorbias), I've found nitrile covered fabric gloves work well. The rubber coating offers some protection, but the fabric gloves still let you move your hands freely and with some level of dexterity.

Beyond gloves, I've found newspaper and towels to be most useful in dealing with spiny plants. You can just sort of gently wrap them up, then handle them like any normal plant. And at least with the newspaper, you can throw it away when you are done if it gets loaded up with glochids.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 4:14PM
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jefe12234(4a MN)

Maybe you should try some kevlar lined gloves. People have climbed barbed wire with them! Otherwise what I do is fold a piece of newspaper into a long strip and wrap it around the cactus. This is how I repotted my Madagascar Palm.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 4:19PM
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Kevlar will not help. It is cut-resistant - not cut proof or puncture resistant/proof. Kevlar liners or lined gloves generally use a fairly loose weave so all sort of stuff can poke through. Bullet proof vests are made from Kevlar by layering many sheets of it and changing the orientation. This is useful because Kevlar also has one of the highest tensile strengths of synthetic materials.

I may have done a report on Kevlar. I might wear Kevlar gloves 8hr/day. I might work for the company that owns the registered trademark.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 4:51PM
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johnh_or(Portland OR Z8)

Newspaper and towels work the best. I have yet to find gloves that are spine proof. Even my thick, insulated fireplace gloves were no good.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 5:45PM
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cactusjordi(z10 CA)

Just get used to handle all the spiny plants (except Opuntia microdasis!) with bare hands as I do since about 50 years!


    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 8:03PM
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Other options: barbecue tongs, needle-nose pliers, hemostats.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 8:37PM
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YEah... I sometimes use either a newspaper wrapped into a long strip and wrap it around the plant or I use a pair of kitchen tongs. but for a lot of plants, like Jordi, I just use my hands and pick the glochids out later... just handle with care ;-)

    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 11:23AM
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debbysunshine(san diego)

I kill myself with the thorns too but have learned to wet the dirt and get the whole plant out of the pot from the dirt or even break the pot but hold the dirt not the plant. The three dollar rubber gloves for the garden work the best because I have the best leathers and workman's gloves which seem to attract the prickles and go right into my hands. These work well for roses too except the knot top has no protection from anything. Being a gardener hurts but don't forget to shovel in the refill dirt and don't use your fingers !!!!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 3:06PM
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I use welders gloves for really nasty plants...with brown jerseys and latex ones underneath them for the really nasty stuff!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 7:34PM
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i also use the thick arc welding gloves, they work really good. Latex gloves underneath work for anything that might get through, but rarely do i get one that dose. The smaller more annoying cluster spines won't even fade those glove.
The bigger ones could on occasion get through. Just remember that spines are generally leaning more to one direction then the other, like a porcupine. Also you can use an old blanket or towel to wrap tight bunching to make a padded handle.Good luck and don't get STUCK. Improvise...

    Bookmark   November 30, 2011 at 12:14AM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

I'm looking for some gloves with this characteristic to pull out over a hundred feet of Smilax vine that is lining my property. I can cut it to the ground with my string trimmers brush attachment but I still want to be able to pull the dead vines out of trees and shrubs. These look promising. For that price, they certainly should be puncture resistant.

Here is a link that might be useful: http://www.benmeadows.com/hexarmor-hercules-400r6e-gloves_36817848/

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 2:15PM
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For that price, I'd expect them to pick up the odd wolverine by themselves.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 3:18PM
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nil13(z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Washington))

I use thick hard leather (1/8") from the scrap bin of a leather wholesaler in town. I used them like pot holders while wearing leather gloves. After a few years they are so full of pokeys that they need to be replaced.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 12:58AM
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Check these out. They work great...much better than leather or anything else.

Here is a link that might be useful: ThornArmor Gloves

    Bookmark   January 15, 2015 at 4:23PM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

Usually I use my barehands and then doctor them with elders glue and a heat gun. I yank the dried glue off and even O. microdasys glochids are removed. I have barbecue tongs and hemostats but usually it is newspaper, rags, cardboard anything in might.

My girlfriend bought these below. They are a hoot to look at but she swears by them.

Here is a link that might be useful: WEIRD Cactus handling gloves

    Bookmark   January 15, 2015 at 7:20PM
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