Cactus and Succulents forum→Trimming 15 feet tall cactus

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Costa Mesa, California
Norpe
Sep 2, 2019 3:41 PM CST
I have a 15 feet high cactus in my backyard. I would like to trim it down to 10 ft. Don't know the name of the cactus type. Got some questions:
1. How do I trim it?
2. Best time of year to trim it?
3. Once trimmed, how will it continue to grow? Upward or sideways? Any special way to trim it so it grows upwards?
4. What is the name of the cactus?

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[Last edited by Australis - Sep 2, 2019 6:51 PM (+)]
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Sep 2, 2019 5:08 PM CST
@Australis or @Calif_Sue, can we transfer this to the Cactus and Succulent Forum?
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Sep 2, 2019 7:09 PM CST
My thoughts:

Its the biggest Cholla I've ever seen (or its not a cholla Smiling )

If its 15 ft tall, and its a cholla, I think its at its maximum height. But, topping it will make it grow wider. Is that your plan? Shorter and wider?

Does it bloom? If it was Cylindropuntia imbricata (the biggest cholla I can think of), this time of year, it would have yellow seed pods all over it.

Last thought... Its not getting enough sun so is growing gangly and not blooming.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: Thijs van Soest
Tempe, AZ (Zone 9b)
Region: Arizona Enjoys or suffers hot summers Cactus and Succulents Xeriscape Adeniums Hybridizer
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mcvansoest
Sep 3, 2019 12:01 AM CST
I suspect it is a giant austrocylindropuntia subulata - which are known to be able to grow very big. A more detailed photo of the plant would help confirm.

You can prune it pretty much whenever unless you expect it to get cold soon, which I suspect you do not.

Take a pole pruner and start cutting or get a tall step ladder and prune it from closer up.

It will continue to grow. If you want it to grow upwards just chop off things that grow out sideways.

While not quite as 'weed' like as prickly pears, this plant is pretty robust and any cuttings will likely readily take root if put in a pot with some soil and left alone for a bit.
It is what it is!
Costa Mesa, California
Norpe
Sep 7, 2019 8:32 AM CST
Thanks for your responses.
Looked up giant austrocylindropuntia subulata in Wikipedia and yes that is what I have. Wikipedia states that it can grow to 4 meters (13 ft) and that is pretty much the height of mine. What prevents it from growing higher? The reason for my trimming it was just to cut it while it is low enough for me to be able to cut it myself, so I don't have to call in professional tree trimmers.
Name: Thijs van Soest
Tempe, AZ (Zone 9b)
Region: Arizona Enjoys or suffers hot summers Cactus and Succulents Xeriscape Adeniums Hybridizer
Plant Identifier Plant and/or Seed Trader Cat Lover Dog Lover Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
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mcvansoest
Sep 7, 2019 10:25 AM CST
NIce! It has nice flowers too. I am not sure what would limit its growth, could just be that in its local climate that is what people have observed and maybe the conditions keep them from growing taller, so it is possible yours can grow some more.
It is what it is!
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Sep 7, 2019 10:53 AM CST
Now will be a good time to prune it, any exposed parts will just naturally callus, and not get cold damage since there is no rain anyways. But do protect yourself from its sap and thorns. A tree pruner as suggested will help.

It will continue to grow upright and branch out, it is just the nature of growth for this succulent. It likes your outdoor conditions nicely. Smiling

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