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DIY Tales: The Aftermath of a Gigantic Fallen Cactus

By AZ DIY Guy's Projects on Sep 14, 2013

I have many, many items to tackle around here. Now that we have the swimming pool somewhat on the mend, I'm exited to get to the next items on my list. But first, once again, Murphy's Law stepped in this week, just to keep life interesting.

You can only imagine how it felt to get home from work one afternoon and head out the back door, to check on the pool, only to find one of the most striking features of our back yard destroyed. It was a stop-cold-in-my-tracks moment...

Fallen Saguaro Cactus in our yard

This was a sixteen-foot tall Saguaro Cactus (Carmegiea gigantea), not the biggest, by far, but an awesome multi-armed monster, at least 100 years old. It was the best-looking of the four tall boys on our property.

I found this pic in my misting system post. You can see most of him still standing, mid summer (and some gratuitous, hard-core Weber BBQ action).

Fallen Saguaro Cactus in our yard
Pay not attention to the horrible porch; it's on the list.

Now the beast has fallen. We had a heavy monsoon storm that must have saturated the soil too much. I suspect yet another drip irrigation leak in the area as well. The surprisingly small root system just couldn't hold up.

The inspector.

On the bright side, it fell in one of the two narrow directions where it wouldn't damage anything else. It missed the porch, the block fence, the BBQ, most of the flowerbed, the pool fence, and the surviving (taller) Saguaro. It also could have landed on anyone; which would have been fatal. We'll count our blessings.

I don't even know where to start with clean-up on this one. It must weigh more than a ton. The tiny little arm bud, that augured into in the flower bed, weighs 60 lbs on the bathroom scale.

This 60 lb. ball punched a 3 inch deep dent into the flower bed.

I think I may need to get a chain saw and finally purchase a wheelbarrow. There's absolutely no way to get equipment like a Bobcat or forklift into the back yard. I'm surely not going to hire a crane to reach over the house and lift it out.


It's been sitting, cracked open and leaking some sort foul juice like a Graboid from Tremors* for a few days now.

Graboid juice

What a loss. We can't replace this beast. I'll figure out a way to dice it up and store it for the next quarterly bulk trash pick-up (since the most recent was last weekend, of course). Maybe I can plant some of the arms that weren't damaged in the impact.


I grew up chopping-up and hauling ice-storm damaged trees out of our yard in Michigan. This is another challenge entirely. It goes without saying that this is going to be a very delicate operation. I rolled one of the arms with my foot and a spine punched right through the sole of my shoe. This monster bites.

This isn't your little window-sill garden cactus my friends.

Stay tuned folks. I'll share the adventure, even though 99.9% of my readers probably won't get much use out of a "How to remove a fallen 16' cactus from your back yard" post in their lifetime.

*As my Facebook followers know, I've referenced Tremors twice, recently. I don't know why. I guess it's time to bust out the DVD and visit Val and Earl. I do miss those idiots.

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