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

Native plants of Taos and Los Alamos NM from Houston
April 07, 2012 - Hi, Mr. Smarty Plants, can you recommend a guidebook for the native plants of the Taos/Los Alamos region? (I'm most interested in forbs.) I'll be headed there in May--is there anything I should es...
view the full question and answer

Damage to yucca in San Marcos TX
October 18, 2010 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, thank you for helping me with my buffalo grass is San Marcos TX back in the spring, my lawn is gorgeous thanks to you! I really need your help as someone sabotaged my beauti...
view the full question and answer

Yucca with halticotoma valida bugs in Burleson TX
April 18, 2010 - I have had Yucca plants in my yard for 10 years, but this year is the first time I have seen halticotoma valda, and there are thousands of them. How do I get rid of them? are they harmful to the plan...
view the full question and answer

Worms in non-native snake plant from Hillsborough NC
September 17, 2011 - I purchased a snake plant this summer for my screened in porch. I did not repot it and left it in the plastic pot in came it. I was about to repot the plant to bring it in and noticed there are worm...
view the full question and answer

Lesions on Agave Leaves in Spring Branch, Texas
January 14, 2011 - I have a giant Agave americana that was beautiful until recently. Several of the leaves have lesions, some of them quite drastic, on the last third of the leaf. What is causing this?
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