Should this be cause for concern?

Discussion in 'Cacti and Succulents' started by Dutchman, Jul 21, 2008.

  1. Dutchman

    Dutchman Active Member 10 Years

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    This Saguaro cactus (Gigantea Carnegiea) has stood in front of the house for 16 years. It is 4' high. The other day I noticed 2 6" gashes in it. One vertical the other horozontal. Our Monsoon started three weeks ago. Could this be from too much water intake? I've been giving it 4 gallons a month for many years during the dry season. The wounds seem to be calloused over at this point and I take that as a good thing. This has never happened before no matter how much it rained during the two month Monsoon season. Any thoughts on this would be welcome.
     

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  2. markinwestmich

    markinwestmich Active Member

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    As long as the wounds have callused over, it should be fine, however unsightly. Maybe it will just add some "character" to the plant.

    Just curious, did you happen to use any fertilizer prior to the rains? If so, the combination may have been too much and perhaps is why this is the first time this has happened (speculating).

    The potential problems with succulents that split are that it increases the risk of infection and rot. With large cacti, sometimes it can create hollow areas inside the plant.

    Mark
     
  3. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    There look to be some spine clusters missing where the gashes are. Makes me suspect it has been vandalised by someone bashing or slashing at it with something.
     
  4. Dutchman

    Dutchman Active Member 10 Years

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    Thank you for your responses. No, this cactus has never been fertilized. Nor was it vandalised since it is on fenced property. I will keep watching it and should the wounds open or repeat somewhere else I now have a little sulfer powder which hopefully will stop any insects or infection. So long as the rains don't do more damage. Thanks again.
     
  5. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Any deer? If one was trying to rub its antlers it could easily do that sort of damage.
     
  6. Dutchman

    Dutchman Active Member 10 Years

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    No deer within the fence or anywhere in the southern Arizona desert, but they would leave such a mark.
     
  7. GreenLarry

    GreenLarry Active Member 10 Years

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    Hmmm i'd say its the sudden uptake of water causing the problem,hopefully it will heal over,albeit with a scar. (BTW you need to rearrange the names,its Carnegia gigantea,capital letter only on the first name.)
     
  8. Dutchman

    Dutchman Active Member 10 Years

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    This morning I found a new split 16" long and 41/2" deep. Now I am really concerned! I sprayed the wound with 3% H2O2 since Sulfer powder and rain drops won't mix. This Saguaro has seen much more rain in 16 years of Monsoons. Could there be anything else causing these splits besides water absorbtion and is there anything I can do about it? After 16 years it's like a member of the family.
     

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  9. Dutchman

    Dutchman Active Member 10 Years

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    Thanks for the scientific name correction. If this is water uptake, we have another 5 weeks to go in this Monsoon season! Any ideas on why it chose to split this year as opposed to the last 15 Monsoon seasons? I assume if it is from too much water there is nothing I can do about it?
     
  10. GreenLarry

    GreenLarry Active Member 10 Years

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    Hmmm that looks serious! I have no idea what your normal weather is like but do you frequently get a lot of rain?
     
  11. Margaret

    Margaret Active Member 10 Years

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    Are others experiencing the same problems? Do you have a local botanical garden or university which could provide local input?
    Hope it gets better.
    Margaret
     
  12. Dutchman

    Dutchman Active Member 10 Years

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    We are in the 5th week of our annual 7-8 week Monsoon season. But after going through 15 other Monsoon seasons, I can't figure out what caused this. Aside from putting sulfer powder in the wounds and draping a sun screen over it I don't think there is much else I can do. There is no water/ irrigation anywhere near it! Thanks for the responses.
     
  13. joclyn

    joclyn Rising Contributor

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    they look like cuts to me. even in a fenced in yard, people can still gain access overnight and do damage.

    excess water uptake wouldn't likely be an issue...that saguaro has been around a LONG time. the only way water uptake would be the issue is if something in the general area has changed in the last year. new building anywhere close by (within 50 feet)? new roadway/sidewalk? downspouts on the house redirected? has your water pipe to the house broken?
     
  14. Dutchman

    Dutchman Active Member 10 Years

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    Thank you for your response but this Saguaro was not vandalized because it is on 5 acres of fenced property 300' from the dirt road in rural sw Arizona 35 miles west of Tucson. The only vandals here are wild dogs that manage to slip under the fence at the washes. I did take the pictures to a Saguaro nursery in town and they said it looked like excess water uptake but they had never seen such an extreme case. Their best advice was to put sulfur powder in the wounds and cover it with a sun screen till October. But I have to watch it carefully. The smaller Saguaro in the background of the pic was planted in March of this year and had to be covered with a sun screen after 3 weeks because it had signs of sunburn! Hard to believe, but out here even the desert's biggest resident needs protection till it gets acclimated. As for the bigger one, all I can do is keep my fingers crossed. In 16 years, it was never watered by hand or fertilized with anything and until this happened it was perfectly healthy. If it can recover that would be it's best defense. Btw, the price of this plant is $85 to $100a foot and you need a special permit from the county to move it.
     

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