How To

How to Kill Cactus:Easy ways to Get Rid of It

Cactus is one such plant that can survive drought and grow without needing much water. Although some people like this quality and often have baby cactus plants in their house to add aesthetics to their decor, these plants can grow in your backyard too. Many people think that this plant can only grow in dry places, which is not true. These plants can also grow in your lawn or garden as uninvited guests. Cacti plants have thick waxy stems and prickly surfaces, which can be harmful to pets and children. 

People living with their families do not prefer such plants in their garden. If you are searching for an article to help you with removing cactus from your yard, then your search ends here. This article about how to kill cactus will help you to make your yard free from these plants.

How to Kill Cactus?

There are two commonly used methods to get rid of cactus: Herbicide method and Manual Removal. We shall first have a look at each method, followed by some precautions and tips for removing the plant with ease.

Note: Before starting any procedure for killing the cactus, please make sure to wear long and thick hand gloves. It is also suggested to wear thick boots as the plant has prickly pears that can be difficult to remove. Ensure that you are wearing safety gloves to avoid any injuries while getting rid of the cactus.

Herbicide Removal

Materials required for this method:

  • Herbicide containing picloram
  • Sprayer
  • Axe and Shovels
  • Thick Cardboard box
  • Magnifying glass


  • The most effective way of killing the cactus is by using an herbicide spray. There are many herbicides available in the market that can help you to get rid of the prickly hair from the plant. Most commonly used is the Herbicide with picloram. You can also opt for Hexazinone or 2,4 DP too.
  • Mix the Herbicide with water as per the instructions are given on the bottle. Generally, a 1% solution with concentrated Herbicide is used for killing the cacti plants properly. 
  • You can also add surfactants to this solution before starting to spray it on the plants. Add ¼ or ½ ratio of surfactants to the solution to increase the efficiency of Herbicide to kill the cactus.
  • Once the solution is ready, fill it in the sprayer bottle and wear your safety gloves. To kill the plants easily first damage the plant with an axe or shovel. 
  • Now spray herbicide solution to all the sides of cactus plants. Picloram is efficient in killing 76% to 100% of prickly pears in the cactus plants. Once the cacti is wet, you can pull the plant out with the help of axe. Keep this plant in thick cardboard carefully.

Manual removal

This method is used for the small or baby cacti plants that are spotted in your garden or backyard. For this process you will also require an axe, shovel, cardboard box, and gloves.


  • For starting this process, make sure that you are wearing pants and long sleeve gloves. Collect all the materials first and then begin the process of cutting the cactus.
  • Take your axe and cut the plant. Start cutting small pieces of the cactus in the beginning. Keep these pieces in the thick cardboard boxes so that these pieces do not prick or injure anyone.
  • Once the top portion of the cactus plant is chopped, try removing the remaining part of the plant slowly. This can be done quickly with a shovel or axe easily.
  • Now dig 2-4 inches with an axe of the soil near the cacti plant and remove the plant along with its roots. Be careful while you are doing this step, but make sure that the plant is eradicated from the roots.
  • Collect all the pieces in the cardboard box for disposing  it. Check your gloves and clothes to see if any spines have attached to it. Get rid of it with the help of tweezers and magnifying glass.
  • Dispose all the box with cacti pieces in a dumpster and voila it’s done.

Concluding Remarks

Both of these methods are effective in killing the cactus plant. But I would suggest that you be careful while following any of these processes. Also, in some countries, the shops or stores might ask for a license to buy Herbicide. A permit is issued by the Department of Agriculture that helps you to get such chemicals easily. While spraying an herbicide, be careful that it is not sprayed on other plants or trees.

Lastly, some cacti species might require several rounds of the removal process to eradicate the plant from your yard fully. You can use both methods simultaneously to remove the cactus plants thoroughly.

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  1. i moved into a house that already has a good size of cactus which i am trying to kill. i dont want to use a herbicide cuz i want to replace it with another plant what should i do?

  2. I need to get rid of cactus in my yard. But I need something not harmful to pets. I’ve been digging them up three or four times a year.

      1. My mother-in-law has a mini field of what I think are prickly pair cactus, and also some that have been growing under pine trees. This is in Pennsylvania. She has since passed and we would like to get rid of them and plant grass.
        You mentioned “Diatomaceous Earth”. What would be the process for this? I would prefer to not use chemicals if at all possible because we also have a well on the property.
        It is March already, and I am thinking we probably need to start removing these plants before it becomes too warm, or the seeds begin to form.

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