Joined: Sat Mar 08, 2003 9:01 am Posts: 961 Location: Dallas, TX
Scraping the cactus into piles, adding some molasses and allowing to break down makes a wonderful compost. Keeping it from returning is done by improving the health of the soil with compost, rock minerals and general biodiversity including multi-species grasses and forbs.
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2003 3:45 pm Posts: 2884 Location: San Antonio,TEXAS
Last July we had a rancher from Mason come talk to us in San Antonio. Among the mistakes he made some number of years ago was dragging a chain to break off the pear and "kill it." He ended up with 900 acres of pear.
Twelve years ago he started with Holistic Resource Management of Texas and the results have been pretty spectacular with regard to cutting his expenses. One of the surprise byproducts of the HRM methods was the return of the cocheneal bug.
Cocheneal eats pear. It is a white fluffy looking thing that sucks the juices from the pads and eventually kills the entire plant. Apparently cocheneal needs to spend part of its life cycle in surface litter. If you have bare soil instead of tall grass and a litter layer, you will not have any large numbers of cocheneal.
If you pile the pear up, be sure to get every last shred of the plant or you'll spread it big time! If you don't have molasses but you do have manure, you can pile the pear, cover it with manure, and it will compost nicely.
Joined: Sat Apr 12, 2003 12:45 am Posts: 420 Location: Whitesboro,TX
I had a south Tx rancher tell me that they burn the points off and then the cattle eat them. Here in N Tx our few are not spreading or disappearing. We are building soil with cow manure and humates.
You can burn the stickers off the cactus with a propane torch and the cows will eat them.The side effect is you have to keep burning them from there on out.The cows will eat only so much of a plant then the stickers will grow back.Having a taste for the cactus,the cows will try to eat them with the stickers on them.That can cause more problems than you started with.Imagine your own tongue with a couple hundred stickers in it...not too good.That can not only painful but also unhealty,they won't eat with a swollen tongue and mouth.
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