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Location: Central DE

Removing weeds from Cactus

I have a large patch of prickly pear cactus that weeds have invaded. Is there a weed killer that can be oversprayed on the cactus without harming the patch?

Manually removing the weeds has gotten to be a problem due to the large area, and the cactus needles going through gloves!

Any other ideas welcome!

Thanks in advance

Steve :(

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Joined: Fri Oct 16, 2009 10:01 am
Location: Jacksonville, FLZone 9A

Go to a flea market and get the longest hemostat or kelly clamp you can find, so you can use the steel tweezer like effect to grip and pull the weed stems. Or looking for cooking chopsticks. They are longer than the ones used for eating.

Depending on the cacti and on how big the patch is, you can sometimes weed from down below, very close to the ground, with relative freedom from getting stuck.

There is nothing you can spray that will kill weeds but not cacti.

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Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 7:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M(11/B)

I basically only weed the prickly cactus bed during winter and early spring BEFORE the catus wake up. After that, they're on their own! :x

Some weeds have sturdy enough long stems that they can be grasped and be relied on not to break. Those will bring their roots up with them if pulled after good soaking rain.

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Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2012 4:27 pm
Location: Mobile, Alabama

Easy way.

I know this is an old post, but in case anyone else comes along wanting to find a simple way I have one. When I did this for the first time, mine were overgrown with weeds.

Naturally I'll start with the first thing, which is duct-taping an old paint brush to a very long and heavy stick (you can use bamboo, an old long-handled tool handle or whatever). We'll come back to that in a minute.

I used my garden rake (a fan rake won't work) to rake out most of the weeds. The ones that the rake couldn't pull out for me were the thicker stemmed weeds, such as bramble.

Using my long handled lopper (the longer the better), I weaved my way through them and used it to cut off the remaining weeds at soil level.

I picked the trimmed weeds out with my reacher grabber thing-a-ma-bob (you don't want the freshly cut weed propagating into another plant). I use that thingy for a ton of things, to include picking up pine cones that seem to fill my yard every day... but I digress.

Immediately after each cut and removal, while the cut off pain-in-the-neck weed was still fresh, I dipped my brush into weed killer (if you're more organically inclined, you can try vinegar) and "painted" the lopped off weed still in the ground, being careful not to touch the man-eating plant. This kills it down to the root, since it's impossible to instead pull them out with the root still intact.

After all of that, I heavily mulched it with pine bark (which I just dumped over them and used my garden rake to push it around) and it has worked wonders!

I now only occasionally have to go out there and repeat the cut and paint procedure, but I have never needed the rake again, except for mulching. I keep it well mulched and I've found that pine bark takes longer to decompose than cypress. I don't know if that's true, but it seems that way to me, and besides, it's cheaper here than cypress.

My son calls my paint brush stick my "favorite redneck garden tool". :lol: Hey, it works!

For me it's cheap because all of those things I needed I already owned. If you don't already own them, you could perhaps borrow any of them from a kind neighbor, but probably not one of the mean ones. :P

I hope this helps someone!

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