Cactus Removal : LUSENET : CountrySide Family : One Thread

Does anyone know whether the common cactus of the Southwest (aka "Turkey Pear Cactus") can regrow itself from roots only? I hestitate to use chemicals to eradicate this pest but it appears to regenerate itself spontaneously from roots not removed by hand.

-- Carey Bracewell (, September 09, 2002


Isopropyl alcohol ( rubbing alcohol) sprayed on most plants , kills them .I don't know if it works on catus. I was a landscaper for some years and was once the the public works (maintenance man ) of a town in Florida for 3 years .I took care of 25 oval shape garden beds that were 20 ft long and 10 ft. wide along the main strip of town and the grounds of the Town Hall..When I first got the job they had half a container of Round-Up weed killer in the storage room. When I left the job 3 years latter they had the same half a container of Round-Up in the storage room.Yet there was never a weed in the garden beds.If you don't want to use chemicals , you have to use muscle. I know what the pear catus are, they are used in coastal landscape designs because of their salt spray resistence.I think they are the same ones you mention , they have purple pear shaped fruit on them. I can't picture the situation you have , but maybe after you cut them down , you could spray the root area with the alcohol.Let it soak into or around the roots . It's flammable so you have to make sure there no electric devices or anything else that might ignite the alcohol before it evaporates.Isopropyl alcohol is not too expensive when you buy it by the gallon. Wal-mart sells it for about a dollar a quart?. Also if it's in an open area.You might be able to build a fire over the roots and that might work.Alcohol is alot less toxic then convention chemical weed killers.I imagine a twizer and strong pair of eyeglasses is part of the tools needed when removing catus.To get the little splinters out of the fingers afterwards.

-- Steve (, September 09, 2002.

If you decide to remove the cactus plants by hand you might try a pair of long needle nose pliers. At least you're hands would be a little farther from the spines. If the alcohol doesn't work, try salt if you don't mind killing some of the surrounding vegetation. The only things I've ever had to deal with similar to cactus was stinging nettle & thistle and salt worked on erradicating them. I bought a 50# bag of non iodized salt to use since there was quite a bunch of nettle & thistle.

-- Kathy Aldridge (, September 09, 2002.

Might consider using vinegar, some recent articles say that 20% vinegar will kill a large number of weeds and 5% will kill many weeds, the normal grocery store variety is 5% but might try it and there are sources of organic vinegar if you are trying to keep everything organic.

Growing from roots is not one of the ways mentioned to propagate cactus, but that is not to say it doesn't or can't happen.

-- BC (, September 09, 2002.

Burn the spines off the cacti to remove it. I flash the cacti that I translant from containers with a cigarette lighter around the base to clear a handhold area and wear leather gloves.

-- Jay Blair in N. AL (, September 10, 2002.

A nuclear device might work. Actually a hoe/ax is the thing that has worked the best for me.

-- (, June 24, 2003.

Without chemicals, we cut the tooth rake in half and made a rake that was about 6" wide, and it works great for getting deep enough to snatch the roots out as well as the plant. Then, the labor of taking them to the burn pile, or letting mother nature burn them in the sun.

-- Tom Fayette (, May 08, 2004.

Prickly pears won't regrow from the roots, stumps yes, roots no. To remove and kill plant, simply get a long handled spade and chop off top growth.

-- richard eymann (, July 24, 2004.

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