Natives of the Sonoran desert, Saguaros are one of the most iconic images of the desert. Living up to 200 years and standing up to 60 feet tall, these giants can weigh up to 6 tons! These slow growers develop and change over time. Cacti 35 years and older bloom annualy with bright, white flowers. And it can take 75 years or longer before they produce their first arm!

What is Bacterial Necrosis?

Bacterial Necrosis is the condition caused by the bacteria Erwinia cacticida. This bacteria is naturally occuring in the soil. The bacteria enters the healthy cactus tissue through cracks or holes. These lesions can be caused by birds nesting, insects feeding on the cactus, or even frost damage.

The first sign of Bacterial Necrosis is usually a round hole with black “ooze” running down the cactus.

How Can It Be Prevented?

Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent Bacterial Necrosis. Because it occurs natually in the soil and is transmitted through the normal habits of the desert fauna, there is no real way to prevent the damage from the bacteria. But there is hope! Intervention with the bacteria can give the cactus up to an 80% survival rate.

What is the Treatment?

The best treatment starts with identifying the effects of the Bacterial Necrosis early. It typcially begins as a round hole or crack with black “ooze” running down the cactus. When this is spotted, it’s time to act fast. The affected area must be cut out and down to healthy tissue. Be sure to make the cut downward so that fluid does not accumulate in the hole. It’s also important to dispose of the bad tissue in the trash, not a compost pile. After cutting, clean the area with a 10% bleach solution to kill any additional bacteria. Then simply let the cactus heal on it’s own.

Arizona Tree Trimming Can Help

We don’t just trim trees, we can help you with your cacti too! If you have questions about your cacti, if they need to be removed, we can help! Go online to get a quote today.