Many cactus can be trimmed. All types of prickly pear cactus, some columnar cactus, and some agaves are included in this list. Some desert plants that you don’t want to trim include ocotillo plants and barrel cactus.
Here’s the right way to do it and stay thorn free at the same time.
- Wear long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, safety glasses, shoes and socks, leather gloves and a hat. The more you’re protected the less chance you have of being stuck.
- Have a hand saw, garden loppers, a shovel, trash barrel and a pitch fork handy.
- When trimming prickly pear cactus, cut back to a new pad. Don’t slice through the middle of a pad. You will need to cut sections of pads until you get to the size you would like. And, be careful, pack rats often live in the middle of large prickly pears.
- For trimming columnar cactus try to cut to a knob or growth section. Cut at the bottom of the cactus to remove an entire column to thin out.
- Trimming up agaves involves starting at the bottom removing one leaf at a time and moving around the agave to bring it up. Agaves are often trimmed to remove dead lower leaves or to raise it off a sidewalk when it is a hazard.