The Purdue Plant and Pest Diagnostic Laboratory

P&PDL Picture of the Week for
July 21, 2008

Pricklypear - Indiana's Cactus

Glenn Nice, Weed Diagnostician, Department of Botany & Plant Pathology, Purdue University

There are several pricklypears in the United States. Most of them in the Southwest, but a few of them make it as far north as Indiana. Although considered a valuable plant throughout history and in some circles, today it can sometimes be a pest. Pricklypear is one of those plants that are difficult to control. The use of prescribed burnings can wear it down, done regularly for over a year. Mowing spreads it, and it doesn’t respond to herbicides as well as we would like. Most recommendations for the control of pricklypear use the herbicide picloram (found in Tordon); however, many products that contain picloram are restricted use only and not available to most homeowners. The herbicide 2,4-D does not have much effect, but there is some report of triclopyr having an effect. Triclopyr is found in Crossbow and Garlon.

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Purdue Plant & Pest Diagnostic Lab Purdue Cooperative Extension Service