En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Removing grassy weeds from cactus garden in Corpus Christi 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 - May 07, 2013

From: Corpus Christi, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pests, Cacti and Succulents
Title: Removing grassy weeds from cactus garden in Corpus Christi TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

How do you get grassy weeds out of a cactus garden? I don't want to use roundup around the cacti? Can you recommend a herbicide that won't harm the cactus?

ANSWER:

Like kissing a porcupine, very carefully. Okay, sorry, we'll get serious. First rule, NO SPRAYS. Whatever you read on the label about how safe an herbicide is, it is not safe to spray it. The spray can drift or simply fall out of the air somewhere you did not want it. If, indeed, what you have is grassy weeds, that is, monocots, with long slender leaves that have parallel veins in them, there are specific herbicides for monocots. But you still don't spray it. It probably wouldn't kill the cactus if it drifted over onto it, but it wouldn't do the cactus any good, either. Try to find a bottle of liquid monocot herbicide. And remember your lawn is probably a monocot grass, so don't get careless with the bottle, either, Get a long-handled artist's brush, a cheap one, because you will have to throw it away. Dip the brush into the liquid monocot killer, and then paint the grasses. The nearer you can get down into the root area of each grass, the better, because it is the root you are trying to kill.

Alternative, or perhaps supplemental, method. Get what we used to call a sharp-toed hoe. This was a regular, long-handled hoe, but the blade was triangular with a sharp point. Surely, this is still around in hardware and garden supply stores. Remembering to protect your hands with leather gloves, and your body with heavy clothes, dig out as much root from each weed as you can and remove it, with the hoe. Don't leave it there, because many grasses have stolons, or underground stems, from which new plants can grow. After that, keep a close eye on the patch of weeds, treating anything that pops up with the herbicide or hauling it out with the hoe.

And we think the job should be given to whoever had the idea for a cactus garden.

 

More Cacti and Succulents Questions

Wholesale dry yucca trunks and branches from California
January 29, 2012 - Where can I buy wholesale dry yucca trunks and branches? I have spent the last hour looking for them and can only find nurseries and decorative branches.
view the full question and answer

Projected longevity of Opuntia fragilis (Fragile Prickly Pear)
November 25, 2005 - How long does Opuntia fragilis live? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Can a prickly pear cutting from Harker Heights, TX find happiness in Long Island, NY.
November 03, 2012 - Took a cutting of a prickly pear cactus from my daughters garden in Harker Heights, Tx. Her plants are 5'ht.& wt. Set it into a 10" pot with garden mix soil. Early July 2012, brought it home to Long...
view the full question and answer

Trimming freeze-damaged Agave Americana in Alvarado TX
April 08, 2010 - What is the best way to trim Agave Americana cactus? The freeze this winter when it snowed has caused the leaves to die towards the bottom of the plant.
view the full question and answer

Can Joshua Tree yucca be grown in Denham Springs LA
December 31, 2011 - If planted in a patch of raised and well-drained soil and covered during heavy rains, would it be possible to grow a Joshua Tree yucca in eastern Louisiana?
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