En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Eradicating cactus in Palo Pinto County, TX

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - March 30, 2010

From: Palo Pinto, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Cacti and Succulents
Title: Eradicating cactus in Palo Pinto County, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live on a ranch in Palo Pinto County and would like to know how can I get rid of wild cactus.

ANSWER:

Do you have any idea how many different genera of plants go under the name "cactus?" This website CactiGuide.com will give you an idea. When we searched our Native Plant Database on "cactus," we found 49 different species with that word in their common name native to Texas. However, we are betting, given that you live in the western part of North Central Texas, and knowing the landscape around there, that you are dealing with the genus Opuntia, Prickly Pear. Even there, there is a lot to choose from: 23 species native to North America and 18 native to Texas. We found that Opuntia engelmannii (cactus apple) is shown in this USDA Plant Profile as growing natively in your area, so we'll take that as an example. 

Now, how to get rid of that plant? Well, it isn't going to be easy-it has lived there a whole lot longer than humans have, and is very adapted to the rainfall, temperatures and soils. On the website invasives.org we found this website on Opuntia and, in turn, the page on Opuntia engelmannii (cactus apple), which accessed some pictures, but didn't tell us much more than that it is considered invasive. From the San Angelo TX December 24, 2006 Standard Times, we found this article Ranch land management saved historic ranch. By the by, most of the articles on the invading Prickly Pear and its eradication were from Australia, where it is a large-scale invader, having been imported from North America in the 1800's. 

You understand, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center recommends neither for nor against any of the herbicides or methods discussed above. Even if you take the hard way and attempt to bulldoze it or grub it out, new plants can grow from pads left lying on the ground.  If we had a magic potion, we would tell you about it, honest.

 

From the Image Gallery


Cactus apple
Opuntia engelmannii

Cactus apple
Opuntia engelmannii

Common prickly-pear
Opuntia macrorhiza

Cactus apple
Opuntia engelmannii

More Cacti and Succulents Questions

Pollinating moth of Arkansas Yucca from Arlington TX
May 15, 2012 - What is the pollinating moth of the Arkansas yucca. I have Desert willows which is the larval host for white-winged moth, but the yuccas are still not seeding. What other larval hosts plants can I p...
view the full question and answer

Problems with mature Blue Agave in Kenya
December 09, 2012 - I have a mature Agave plant and there is a thin black liquid that looks like oil starting to appear on the leaves. The plant plant seems to be dying (from the bottom up). (The plant is a blue Agave an...
view the full question and answer

Large agave (century plant) flower stalk
June 17, 2008 - HI.I live in Blythe, Ca. and have a GIANT of an agave in my back yard. It is now over 40'high and is blooming. I first noticed the stock growing at Easter when it was about 12' high. It is now t...
view the full question and answer

Should an agave bloom stalk be cut as soon as it flowers from Corpus Christi TX
May 18, 2010 - My agave plant is flowering, with a stalk approaching 12 feet tall. Should that stalk be cut once it flowers? I am concerned about wind catching it and pulling the whole plant out of the ground. I ...
view the full question and answer

Bugs on yucca plant in New Jersey
August 06, 2008 - I noticed small bugs ALL OVER 4 established yucca plants all near each other. They may look like Halticotoma valida but I'm not positive. There is no brown on the leaves except for the large amount...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center