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Thursday - April 23, 2009

From: Winona, MN
Region: Midwest
Topic: Cacti and Succulents
Title: Winter damage to yucca in Winona MN
Answered by: Barbara Medford


This past winter was hard on my established yucca plant and most of the foliage has discolored and it is not very pleasing to look at. What should I do about the discolored portion? Should I remove all of the winterkill?


We're assuming that what you have is Yucca filamentosa (Adam's needle) which is the only yucca hardy in northern parts of the US. It is hardy from USDA Hardiness Zones 4 to 9. Winona County, in southeast Minnesota,  appears to be in Zones 4a to 4b, minimum annual average temperatures of -30 deg to -20 deg F. Our Native Plant Database does not show the plant as native to Minnesota, but does appear in a few counties in adjacent Wisconsin. As you pointed out, this has been a very hard winter in your part of the country, and yucca is basically a southwestern desert plant. Because of the  tough roots of yuccas, we believe the plant will survive. The top, or visible parts of the plant may suffer severe dieback, but the root probably still has the ability to regenerate the plant. Yes, we would suggest you remove the more seriously damaged foliage, for appearances sake, if nothing else, and then be patient. Possibly what will happen is that new "pups" will begin to emerge from that tough root, which is protected by the insulation of the soil from the extreme cold you have experienced this year.

Yucca filamentosa




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