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Proudly Serving Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler + Tempe
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Saguaro Cactus in Arizona

Saguaro Cactus Removal: Facts About Arizona Cactus Laws

The iconic saguaro cactus, the largest cactus in the United States and the second-largest cactus in the world, is a staple of the American Southwest and an unmistakable feature of life in the East Valley. Measuring from 20 to 40 feet tall, and up to 70 feet tall in some cases, the saguaro cactus is a giant amongst the smaller desert trees and plants that grow in Arizona. Unfortunately, old and decaying saguaro cacti can also be a giant eyesore here in the Valley. But before you think about removing that dying saguaro cactus from your home or business, make sure you first understand about laws protecting these important native plants.

Saguaro Protection Under the Arizona Native Plant Law

There are more than 3,000 species of flowering plants and ferns native to Arizona, and many of them are protected by law. The Arizona Native Plant Law was enacted to protect rare and culturally significant plant species, including cacti. The law protects desert plants from theft, vandalism, and “unnecessary destruction” (i.e., removal) on any lands, whether they are owned by a private individual or managed by a government agency.

There are four categories of protected plants that fall under the Arizona Native Plant Law, including “Highly Safeguarded” species. These plants, including saguaro cacti (Carnegiea gigantea), are threatened for survival or are in danger of extinction. Under the Arizona Native Plant Law, not only is the cactus protected by so are its fruits, seeds, and cuttings. Violation of the Arizona Native Plant Law may result in a felony.

Removing a Saguaro from Your Home or Business

Although landowners, including residents and businesses, have the right to remove or destroy any native plants on their property, including protected species like the saguaro cactus, must first notify the Arizona Department of Agriculture and obtain a special permit. You can download application forms on the Department website and submit them in person or by mail to the nearest office for verification and processing. Notification must be made 20 to 60 days prior to the destruction of any saguaro cacti on your property.

Removing Saguaros: DIY or Hire a Pro?

There are laws against removing saguaro cacti, but there’s no law that says you must hire a professional cactus removal company to do the job. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should do it yourself, either.

Here are some of the top reasons to hire a professional to remove a saguaro cactus from your property:

  • Saguaro cactus removal can be dangerous – Saguaro cacti are the second largest cactus species in the world. They are incredibly tall and can be unbelievably heavy (between 3,200 and 4,800 pounds when fully hydrated), and the sharp spines can have bacteria and fungi on the surface that may cause infections if you are punctured.
  • Saguaro cactus removal can be tricky – How do you go about removing a giant saguaro cactus, anyway? Without the right equipment (and even sometimes with it) excavating and destroying a saguaro cactus can be a challenge since they have several “stalks” inside, so you might not know which way the cactus will fall if you have never cut one down before.
  • Saguaro cactus removal can be hard – Saguaro cactus removal isn’t your average landscaping job. It can backbreaking work involving shovels, ropes, pulleys, chain saws, and sometimes even larger equipment like tractors and backhoes. Even if you have the extra hands and manpower to help out, the easiest solution is to call a professional instead.

Free East Valley Saguaro Removal Quotes

If you need help removing or relocating a saguaro, Jose Knows Trees (J&M Landscaping Services) can help! We have provided the best tree removal services in Mesa, Gilbert, and Chandler for a decade, and we specialize in cactus removal, too. Call or contact us online for a free saguaro removal quote.