(don't shoot me) how to kill a cactus

scgreenthumb1987(8)April 30, 2014

I've got this "bear paw"(what grandma called them anywat) in my back yard simply growing wild. Freezing winters, ice, snow, lawn mower, EVEN ROUND UP, doesn't affect it at all. It's just spreading farther.. it's covering an area about the size of my pickup truck. How the heck do I rid my yard of this thing?!

Edit: also have tilled the thing under and it just came right back.

This post was edited by scgreenthumb1987 on Wed, Apr 30, 14 at 9:42

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Root it up and sends it to ME! Or Try rooting itup and potting it to limit its growth across your yard

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 9:49AM
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Cactus are actually easy to kill IF you understand how they grow.

Yours is probably one of the "Opuntia" (prickly pear) group

Any part of the pads can send down roots.
The roots, on the other hand, can NOT send up a new pad.

So, start on one side of the clump with a sharp shovel and slice out every rooted pad, making sure you don't leave any tiny pads behind, and that you remove ALL of the pad.

Rake the area to make sure you haven't missed any pads, and keep an eye out for a couple of years for any rogue cacti. If you see one, slice it and it's roots out.

TIP: Use the shovel or a machete to break off the upper pads for access to the rooted pads.

Use fireplace and hot-dog tongs to pick up pads, place them in a cardboard box for disposal.

If you get those teensy spines, rub duct tape over the spot and yank it off.

Do NOT compost them. The pads compose beautifully, leaving the #$!#@$ spines behind and they last for years!

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 9:59AM
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LatinLady(6 New York City)

Ditto!! Those spines are torture.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 11:51AM
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Thanks for the info. Looks like I've got a busy Sunday. I really don't understand how a cactus can thrive like this here. Lots of rain, freezing winters, humid summers.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 4:10PM
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Idk about all Opuntias but down in South Texas, cow farmers use prickly pear as cow food. You burn one side of the cactus to rid it of spines and the cows eat it down to nothing. Few years later, it has grown back completely and ready to repeat this food process. So, yes, they can grow from roots.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 4:16PM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

The prickly pear grows from the thick roots just under the soil in my field. BUT , i have gotten rid of large clumps by digging up the big part of the roots. Shovel and pick axe. Elmers glue or white glue spread on your glochid invaded hands, let dry and yanked off is a great way to get what the duck tape leaves behind. It is not if this will happen but a question of when. I garden with tweezers in my pocket too, for the big thorns.

My cows would eat the cactus needles and all. No kidding. I didn't even want to think about it much less, see it.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 4:22PM
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