When a home is fumigated for termites, exterminators will place a large tent over the home. This tent seals the home so that a true gas (Fumigant) can then be released into the home killing all termites inside.
Fumigation’s can also cause damage or kill plants. Removing all interior potted plants prior to the fumigation is important, this includes potted cacti. Potted plants do not have enough soil to protect them from the fumigant, even if you saturate the soil. The fumigant can reach the roots and kill them.
When preparing the exterior of your home, you will also need to take a few steps to prepare and protect the plants prior to the fumigation. Cut back all bushes and shrubs so the tent can drape down to the soil allowing a proper seal on the ground. 12” – 18” is a good rule to follow when performing this prep work. Saturate the soil with water approximately 18” outward from the side of the home, to maintain a moist environment until the fumigation is completed. Fumigants cannot dissipate into the soil if it is moist, thus reducing any possibility of garden damage. Tying back or wrapping plants is another option for allowing for a proper seal.
If a homeowner does not want to cut back a cactus that is right up against the home, the tent used to perform the fumigation could potentially cause damage to it; when the wind blows on the tarp it could cause the cactus to break or possibly even rip the tarp releasing the fumigant from the structure and could lead to an unsuccessful fumigation. In these cases, Best Rate would build a simple 2” X 4” frame around the cactus to keep the tent from hitting it. You may ask, why not put the tent behind the cactus? If it were a smaller cactus which had a great amount of room behind it that would be a great option. In the case of a cactus being to large or one that may need to be supported, this would not allow the tent to drape down behind the cactus properly to get a seal. Cacti are made mostly of water (water is a barrier to the fumigant), so in most cases they will do very well especially when the ground has been saturated with water.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding interior and exterior plant preparation, please call our office at 619-229-0116, and one of our knowledgeable staff will gladly assist you.