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Prickly Pear Cactus Removal

Prickly pear cactus (scientific name “Opuntia”) has long been a fixture in the Texas Hill Country landscape. A native to the area, it is the official plant symbol of Texas and has almost 60 varieties including the tasajillo (or “Christmas cactus”). It has edible pads called “nopales” or “nopalitos” in Spanish and edible fruits called “tuna” that usually ripen between July and September. It is a hardy species that can survive in very hot, dry climates including deserts. It’s very difficult to get rid of, as it can multiply in several ways.

Much like succulents, prickly pear cactus can re-root from just one stray pad left on the ground. They can regrow if all the pads are cut off but the crown or “base trunk”, a few inches below the soil surface, is left intact. The tuna are filled with seeds that can be spread far and wide by birds, deer and other animals.

Although it’s difficult to get rid of cactus—it’s not impossible. There are 2 main methods of removal, including mechanical and chemical removal. Chemical Removal is done through the use of pesticides—either fast-acting or slow-acting. Fast-acting pesticides will kill the cactus after about 1 year and are much safer than slow-acting pesticides that can take up to 2 years. Mechanical Removal can be done using various types of equipment including mulching machines, that grind up the cactus into, essentially, slush or slime. This is a quick fix that can be followed up with chemical application as backup. The other option is using our patented grubbing attachments to uproot the cactus plant and its base trunk from the soil with minimal soil disturbance.

Cedar Eaters can help you manage your prickly pear cactus along with cedar and brush. As with cedar infestations, we don’t recommend eradicating cactus completely, as it is beneficial in some ways. It acts as a protective barrier for native plants and grasses than can be overgrazed by deer and cattle. It is also a common food source for many types of pollinating insects and birds, like hummingbirds; and animals including deer, javelina and rabbits. If you’re interested in a free estimate to discuss the mechanical removal of prickly pear cactus, please call us at 210-745-2743 to speak to one of our land restoration experts.

Sources: Nelle, S. (2018) Hill Country Land Trust - Prickly Pear Management. Retrieved from http://www.hillcountrylandtrust.org/hclt-videos.html?itemid=11739 Merriwether M. (2008, August 27th) Foraging Texas – Prickly Pear. Retrieved from http://www.foragingtexas.com/2008/09/prickly-pear.html Simpson, B. (2002) Texas Prickly Pear, Nopal Prickly Pear, Lindheimer Prickly Pear. Retrieved from https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/ornamentals/nativeshrubs/opuntiaengelman.htm

We are based in Kerr County near Comfort, TX, however, we provide land clearing services in all of the Texas Hill Country as well as North Texas, South Texas, and Central Texas. Below is a list of counties that we frequent.

(Austin County, Atascosa County, Bexar County, Bandera County, Blanco County, Burnet County, Bell County, Bosque County, Brown County, Bastrop County, Burleson County, Brazos County, Brooks County, Bee County, Comal County, Caldwell County, Colorado County, Coryell County, Comanche County, Coleman County, Concho County, Callahan County, Coke County, Crockett County, Dimmit County, Duval County, Dewitt County, Denton County, Collin County, Edwards County, Erath County, Eastland County, Ellis County, Frio County, Fayette County, Falls County, Freestone County, Gillespie County, Guadalupe County, Goliath County, Gonzales County, Grimes County, Hidalgo County, Hays County, Hood County, Hill County, Hamilton County, Irion County, Jim Hogg County, Jim Wells County, Jackson County, Johnson County, Jack County, Jones County, Kleberg County, Kendall County, Kerr County, Kinney County, Karnes County, Kimble County, La Salle County, Live Oak County, Lavaca County, Llano County, Lee County, Lampasas County, Limestone County, Maverick County, McMullen County, Medina County, Menard County, Mason County, McCulloch County, Mills County, McLennan County, Milam County, Palo Pinto County, Parker County, Real County, Refugio County, Runnels County, Starr County, San Patricio County, Sutton County, Schleicher County, San Saba County, Somervell County, Stephens County, Shackelford County, Travis County, Tom Green County, Taylor County, Throckmorton County, Val Verde County, Victoria County, Wilson County, Wharton County, Washington County, Williamson County, Wise County, Young County, Zapata County)

We will travel anywhere if the job is large enough. If you have a small job we will typically nest small jobs together in order to cover as much ground as possible within our current service area.

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    210-745-2743 Office
    210-745-2750 Fax
    877-404-8141 Toll-Free
  • VISIT (BY APPOINTMENT ONLY)
    Office Address
    6707 TX-27, Comfort, TX 78013
    Mailing Address
    P.O. Box 196, Boerne, TX 78006

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