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Can A Cactus In Your Yard Be Harmful?

A cactus may conjure up images of the old West and even make burglars think twice before approaching your bedroom window, but in some cases, a cactus in your yard might do more harm than good. If a cactus becomes a problem or is no longer desirable in your landscape, it’s best to have it removed by experts.

Risk of Injuries

The greatest risk from a cactus comes from those species that have sharp spikes and from those that have hair-like spines that get under the skin. Contact with these species is painful. They can cause breaks in the skin, bleeding, infection and serious injuries to the hands, eyes and any other part of a body that comes in contact with them. Injuries range from scratches to punctures, depending on the size of the spines. Tiny spines called glochids cause intense irritation. They’re dangerous to eyes and mucous membranes. Seniors have fragile skin and could be seriously wounded by a cactus. A cactus can also harm children.

Spines shed from a cactus present a hazard too, as the loose spines can become embedded in the feet of a child or anyone else who walks on them. Some species of cactus or cactus-like plants including euphorbias and spurges are toxic. Candelabra cactus is an example. Their sap can cause digestive upset,d and skin and eye irritation. There may be a risk of insurance liability if a person or animal is injured by a cactus on your property.

Harm to Animals

Emergency veterinary clinics report having to remove cactus spines from the eyes of pets. Spines can also penetrate their paws or other parts of their bodies. A chicken or other animal unfamiliar with cactus may sustain injuries. Any spines that hitchhike on an animal can also injure anyone who touches the animal.

In addition to the risk to cats and dogs, wildlife may be harmed by a cactus. Never handle or attempt to remove an unknown species of cactus. Some types of cactus, such as cholla, also called teddy bear cactus, jumping cholla and hanging chain cholla, can be extremely dangerous. These plants have parts that detach and become stuck on you. Their spines include glochids and are difficult to remove.

Competition With Other Plants

Even with species that aren’t as risky as cholla, having a cactus in the yard might not fit with your garden plans. The cactus can compete with vegetables, fruit trees, flowers and ornamental plants for water and nutrients. A large cactus blocks sunlight from reaching smaller plants.

Some property owners prefer to remove non-native species such as a cactus in favor of reintroducing native plants. Native plants create a natural habitat for bird and other living things that benefit the garden and the environment. Whether or not a cactus is native to your area, removal is an option for allowing you to plant what you want in its place.

Landscaping Considerations

Many species of cactus grow to a large size that may become out of balance with your yard. A large cactus can damage structures, block paths or simply take up too much space. The spines may scratch paint or damage siding, and it can crowd nearby plants. Crowded plants won’t reach their potential and may become deformed. Experts can safely remove an unwanted cactus without damaging your yard.

If you’re interested in cactus removal try out American Tree Masters. They are a full service cactus, tree, and stump removal company who have been around for years! They pride themselves on their work and professionalism to get a job done.

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