How to Kill Cactus the Most Effectively? (tips you need to now)

If you want to know how to kill cactus, then you’ve got to understand that the method is not the same as the majority of removal techniques. The plant has spikes, which means extra caution is absolutely necessary. Even so, it’s imperative to remove cactus if you want your plants to thrive in a healthy environment.

What You Should Know Before Reading On

The family of cactus consists of 2,500 species. And not all of them grow in deserted regions. Cactus can grow even in backyards. So when it does, you simply have to take all measures to eliminate the plant. Cacti is just not safe for pets and young kids.

Speaking of not safe, the spines of cactus inflict pain that can be as bad as excruciating. Or as mild as tolerable. Either way, when not treated properly or immediately, it can lead to an infection. So here’s the answer to the most commonly asked question, how do you get rid of cactus in your yard?

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How to Kill Cactus – 4 Effective Methods

#1 With water

When you over-water cactus, what you’re actually doing is killing the plant. Cactuses that are over-watered start to lose their vigor. Eventually becoming brown and soft. Before the inevitable rotting process begins to take form.

Even the stems, at this point, rot and weaken. The plant is then very likely to tip over.

Now what you should be doing once that happens is immediately removing and disposing of any part of the cactus fallen over. Make sure you don’t leave even a single or tiny bit of the poisonous plant anywhere in your backyard.

#2 By removing the top

This particular method of removal requires the use of zero chemicals. It’s an environment-friendly way of getting rid of all the wild cactus growing in your backyard. Just like the previous one! However, the method is labor-intensive.

You have to severe the cactus plant from the root around 2-4 inches below ground. You can do so by using a hoe or shovel. Once the cactus is detached, lift the plant. And get it out of the ground.

At this point, please keep in mind that not cactus species grow in the same manner. So you might want to get rid of any pads remaining on the ground. As they too have the ability to form new cactus plants.

This method of top removal doesn’t work in the case of Tasajillo cactus and cholla. Like I already told you, these species of cactus tend to regrow from those severed roots.

And lastly, when carrying out the top removal procedure, put on protective clothing. Such as long pants, long sleeves, eye protection, and sturdy footwear. Especially when removing larger cactuses!

#3 With homemade weed killers

The most effective homemade version of the weed killer involves the use of vinegar. It works wonders when it comes to controlling weeds. Even those belonging to the succulent category!

Combine some vinegar (1 tablespoon), some gin (1 tablespoon), and some water (1 quart). This solution kills the cactus plant, no doubt. And if you want the homemade cocktail to stick to the skin of the wild cactus, then add some mild dish soap as well. Once again, a tablespoon is more than enough.

The drawback here is that you have to keep applying the homemade solution over a span of a few weeks. Multiple attempts are a part of the experience here. So if you’re in a hurry, then nothing works faster and more efficiently than manual removal.

#4 With herbicides (chemical weed killers)

Just like homemade weed killers, even herbicides get the job done at a slower pace. So if you have the time and patience for that, then I see no problem with this method of removal. In fact, it’s the most common answer to the question, how to kill cactus?

Using picloram

Systemic herbicides like picloram are used for controlling prickly pear. As well as other such undesirable species of cactus. There are directions printed on the label. And these you should follow strictly at the time of application.

The thing about picloram-formulated herbicides is that they’re the most effective. But only in the form of spot application. So make sure you apply it on individual plants. Instead of just spraying it over a broad area!

Using hexazinone

Here’s another systemic herbicide you can apply at full strength. Use it on the base of the plant to kill it. What the herbicide does is interfere with the process of photosynthesis. Meaning hexazinone kills cactus slowly.

More often than not, the chemical is mixed with more herbicides. You shouldn’t spray it over a broad area, just like picloram. Use it on individual cactus plants. And after application, water the region for activating the herbicide.

Using 2,4-DP

This chemical is what actually works for controlling cholla cactus. Not so much on prickly pear though!

For cholla cactus, combine 1 part of 2,4-DP, 20 parts of water, and 3 parts of diesel. This mixture has the power to treat 14-20 cactus plants each gallon.

But please note that it comes from Agent Orange. This is a very unpopular herbicide because it causes skin and eye irritation. So don’t forget to include protective gear at the time of applying this or any other herbicide containing 2,4-DP.

Keeping all these killing methods aside, if you’re interested in growing and caring for cactus, then here’s a video to help you get started.

The End

You should know that chemical weed killers in the form of herbicides are the most effective. That is when cactus is in the prime of its life. That is when it’s blooming. You can even use herbicides during the growing season. Just make sure the temperature is under 90-degree Fahrenheit.

Here’s another cautionary note I would like to end. Never neglect wearing work gloves, work boots, long pants, and long sleeves during the task. No matter what method of removal you choose.

Homemade week killers with vinegar work just as effectively as chemical herbicides. But in both cases, the process may take some time. Till then, make sure your pets and children are away from the treated cactus.

And if quick removal is a priority, then the manual process of uprooting the plant is your only option. You can even over-water the cactus. It all depends on your personal preferences and convenience.


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