Five Reasons Why You Should Remove Your Unwanted Cacti

Unwanted Cacti in the GardenWith over 3,000 species of cacti in North America, it’s easy to see why homeowners need to think twice before planting cacti on their properties. There are five reasons why you should remove your unwanted cacti. These include:

  • Cacti are capable of fast reproduction
  • Cacti can injure humans and pets
  • Cacti are difficult to remove completely
  • Cacti can damage lawns and shrubbery
  • Cacti attract insects and grazing animals

Cacti – Fast Reproduction

Cacti plants do not require much moisture. They reproduce manifestly in heavily sunny spots. Flowering cacti are pollinated by birds, bees, insects and even nocturnal bats. Cacti are also known to attract hummingbirds that cross-pollinate cacti.

Cacti – Injure Humans and Pets

Due to the structure of cacti, one of the succulent plant types, the prickly, spiny parts of this plant can injure humans and pets. In their smaller stages of growth of certain cacti species, these spiny parts are somewhat soft and can stick to clothing. Avoid touching cacti or allowing pets to get too close to cactus plants. Pets are unaware that cacti can become embedded beneath their fur.

Cacti – Difficult to Remove Completely

The reason is it so difficult to remove cacti is due to their roots. Although cacti roots grow in shallow soil, their roots tend to expand into a network. It isn’t unusual for cacti roots to spread horizontally for several feet and extend vertically an inch of two below the surface of soil. This enables the plant to take in a considerable amount of water during a short, heavy rain shower. The seeds of cacti generally fall near the parent plant, which makes distribution slow. However, should a flash flood uproot cacti, they can be redistributed to other areas of a property and beyond. When this occurs, animals often pick up the cacti seeds in the muddy runoff with their feet or claws and inadvertently carry them to wooded areas.

Cacti – Damage Lawns and Shrubbery

Because of the long reach of cacti roots, these plants can damage lawns and shrubbery by choking off roots of other garden plants. It’s important to keep a watchful eye on existing cacti growth. Grass tends to turn pale yellow or as the cacti roots continue their damage, the lawn begins to turn brown as the grass roots die off. Shrubbery may appear to wither or the foliage may shrivel and become limp.

Cacti Attract Insects and Grazing Animals

If your home is located near to wooded areas, the cacti plants attract insects who feed on succulent cacti parts. Cacti attract cross-pollinating insects like bees and animals like birds and grazing deer also find cacti to be a tasty meal. Since cacti require little moisture, they also attract ant species that make nests in dry soil beneath these plants.

How to Remove Your Unwanted Cacti

The first thing to consider before removing unwanted cacti is protecting your limbs and body from the prickly spines. You will need a sharp-edge spade to dig up cacti roots. You should start by removing the sections of cacti growing above ground with a saw-toothed hand trimmer. Cut back from the top down to about an inch above the soil. Then, use the spade to dig up the roots. The best method of destroying cacti is to use an environmentally safe chemical.

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