How do I get rid of *****ly pear cactuses?

Thread starter #1
Half my yard has become overrun by *****ly pear cactuses...and short of digging them up, I was wondering if anyone knew anything that would kill them? I used the think bahai grass was a pain, but these *****ly pears are the worst. Not only do they thrive in whatever conditions you have (wet, dry, hot, cold, etc), they multiply quickly! If you make the mistake of running over it with the lawnmower, wherever a chunk of it lands, it sprouts a new healthy cactus.

I've tried doesn't phase it. Diesel does wilts it but it comes right back to full health. Digging works...but we're talking over an acre of these things.

Any suggestions are welcomed. If nothing else...we can have a cactus digging party :fine:(sound exotic right?)...I'll supply the drinks and shovels.


Senior Member
Chief, you must live close to me, 221 north, Hidden Lakes, lol. I have gotten rid of them using a mix of 1 quart of Weedmaster (a 50/50 mix of 24-D and Banvel) to 3 gallons of diesel fuel and spot spraying. Be aware that you will have large brown spots in your lawn for a while. The diesel cuts the wax on the cactus so that the herbicide can penetrate. Some will have to be sprayed more than once. Usually, if it is going to kill the *****ly pear the leaves will turn creamy white to light brown in less than 48 hours. I don't know why but some will show no response on the 1st spraying.
Thread starter #3
441 South out near Green Acres here...but yep...same sandy dirt that the *****ly pears love.

I'll try that concoction you mentioned. The brown spots don't bother me. The fear of going barefooted does. Every tire on my lawnmower has to be pumped before mowing thanks to all the cactus spikes in them. It's THAT bad.

Thanks for the info...I'll give it a shot! ::;
Thread starter #5
So what part is the fruit and what is the leaf? Mine have little green segments with long, sharp spikes...and at times, they have yellow flowers.
The fruits develop on the end of the "leaf". Those little yellow flowers should turn into little purple fruit that get about as big as a small apple. The green flat part is the "leaf", pad or whatever. You can peel off the spines, and grill the whole thing like a big green lumpy steak.

I'm wondering if you are really talking about *****ly pear, because the leaves/pads are about as big as a dinner plate, and the plants get head high or higher.

Sounds to me like you're talking more about sand spurs. If you are talking about sand spurs, well, then you're just going to have to move.

Here's *****ly pear;*****ly-pear-cactus-flowering.jpg

This is *****ly pear.
Thread starter #8
Come on now...a sand spur? :rofl: The one in your picture is the western *****ly pear which grows much larger than the eastern *****ly pear (which happens to be the only native cactus in Georgia). The ones in my yard look like this:*****lyPearCactus.JPG

The average leaf size on mine (just as those in the above pic) are about 4-5 inches long and they don't normally grow UP...but they do spread out if allowed.


Senior Member
I had a guy tell me that he would bush hog or mow them every 2-3 days far a month. He said that after that they would be so stunted/shredded that they would not grow back.

Course he had to do this every year cause they would pop back out in the spring. The only thing that I know that eats them is gopher tortoises and that is only when they have young spineless leaves or stalks or whatever you call a cactus part. They will at times nibble on the bigger parts but prefer the more tender parts.


Senior Member
Im sure u got ur answer already.....


be sure not to run over them with the lawn will spread them and you will NEVER get rid of all of them!!
Im sure u got ur answer already.....


be sure not to run over them with the lawn will spread them and you will NEVER get rid of all of them!!
Had them in a previous house and cut them down and
threw the pads in the woods..Next year they all sprouted
and grew where they fell !!!!

Finally dug them up out of my yard and threw them in
the burn pile !!!!! Problem solved.....
I just had a very small flower bed about 10X10....:bounce:


Senior Member
Digging them up is the only way I have ever got rid of any but been digging them up all my life from our property. Got up over half a 55 gallon drum this past weekend out of a small area. Wish I could sell this things to someone. I read that they are eatable but i'm not going to try them. There had got to be a better way to get rid of them. How do farmers get them out of there fields?