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How to Remove a Cactus

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Cactus plants comes in various shapes and sizes. This means that removing a cactus involves different steps depending on the overall size and growth of the cactus in question. While some cacti are too large to cut down with gardening tools, others can be removed by simply using a spade. When you are removing a cactus plant from your garden, be careful because the spines and needles can cause severe pain if lodged in the skin. Wear thick gloves as well as long clothing to prevent accidental contact with the spines.

Cut the cactus plant into small pieces or pads using a chainsaw. Cut horizontally, so the pieces slide off the cactus plant and land beside the plant.

Haul away the cactus pieces or cover them with a foot or more of fresh horse manure. The fertilizer will cause the cactus pads to rot away within six months.

Return to the roots and remove them using a spade. Dig deep down before applying weight to the spade to lift up the roots, as the roots can be growing deep in the soil. If the roots break in the process, ensure that you go back with a hand shovel to remove the remaining roots, as cactus roots will continue to grow.

Stir up the soil where the cactus was located, using a hand rake. Scatter some native grass seed into the soil and water it.


If the root is too large to remove, consider killing it over time by depriving it of growth and sun. Let the roots rot naturally by cutting down the leaves and buds that bloom from the roots. Continue this pattern until the cactus roots are completely starved. This process can take time but is an easy solution for a large cactus root system.

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