Stuck in a Prickly Situation…

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Prickly pear
Prickly pear

Prickly pear

The next time you find yourself grumbling about having to prune your trees and shrubs – just be thankful that you don’t have to prune cacti at the Desert Botanical Garden.

While I have never had to prune a large bed of cacti, I have backed into cholla that lined the golf course where I worked.  I had a piece stuck on the back of my leg – Ouch!

 Prickly pear

Some cacti like prickly pear and cholla sometimes need to be pruned from time to time in a landscape setting.

Prickly pear can grow very large and spread.  If you don’t have enough room, you may find yourself having to prune it back.  When pruning prickly pear, make your pruning cuts where the individual pads, meet.

 Prickly pear

Cholla tend to drop segments on the ground, which are how they propagate.  The segments will root in ideal conditions and grow a new cholla.

In a managed landscape, it is a good idea to clean the fallen pieces of cholla to help keep people from inadvertently getting it stuck to their shoes.

**Have you ever wondered why cacti have thorns?  I wrote about the surprising reasons that cacti are prickly and some tips for pulling out cactus spines, if you get stuck…

“Why Do Cactus Have Spines”

Have you ever gotten pricked by a cactus?  I’d love to hear your story 😉  

Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a author, horticulturist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."
2 replies
  1. xericstyle
    xericstyle says:

    I am in a prickly situation right now!!!! One of my monster old mexico opuntias broke off a HUGE section in the last heavy rain. I have to get in there and deal with the broken and save the rest(hopefully). This is very helpful! Thx Noelle!!!!

  2. dryheatblog
    dryheatblog says:

    Just another day in the life of a real desert gardener (or desert wildlife)! But certainly a happy payoff in design instruction with spiky plants, as well as what one can gain for unique asthetics. Though at the price of delicate work…

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