Explore Plants

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 

Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - May 11, 2009

From: San Jose, CA
Region: California
Topic: Pruning, Cacti and Succulents
Title: Can I trim back my 20 ft Yucca plant?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I have a yucca tree which is about 20 ft. tall, has four main trunks. I would like to prune it to approx. 10 ft. but wonder if that will kill it or if new shoots will come out up near the cut.

ANSWER:

You didn't tell me the type of Yucca that you have, and you may not know, but you can go to our Native Plant Database and type the word Yucca in the "name box". You will get a list of 28  species of Yuccas native to the US along with images and descriptions that can help you learn the name of your plant. Two of the spectacular "tree like" forms are Yucca brevifolia (Joshua tree), and Yucca elata (soaptree yucca) with images.

 You can safely trim the tops of the trunks and new shoots will appear just below the cut point. I would suggest that you do one trunk and wait for the new shoots before you proceed to the other trunks. See this link for details.

You could also experiment by putting the cut off stems into potting soil to see if they will form roots.  Free Yucca plants!

I would offer two words of caution. The leaf margins of Yuccas can be sharp, so be careful when you handle the leaves, and don't over water your Yuccas.

 

 

More Pruning Questions

Need pruning advice in northern Michigan
October 27, 2010 - Is it OK to prune my evergreen bushes and holly in October in northern Michigan?
view the full question and answer

How can I prune my Texas Mountain Laurels to be more tree-like?
March 24, 2011 - I planted several Texas Mountain Laurels last spring and would like to train them to be more tree-like rather than shrub-like. Each is around 36" tall with 5-10 trunks coming from the ground. Where...
view the full question and answer

Leaves dropping on native Texas Mountain Laurel in San Antonio
September 20, 2008 - Please help. We have a beautiful TX Mountain Laurel in our front yard. This year the leaves are dropping like snow in the north. What do you think is wrong with our tree?
view the full question and answer

Care of Spanish Dagger (Yucca treculeana) after blooming
May 27, 2007 - I live in Austin and have a 5 ft spanish dagger in my backyard. Now that it has bloomed and the flowers have withered in May, should I cut off the center stalk or will it bloom again from the same st...
view the full question and answer

Pruning a Young Cercis canadensis (Redbud) Tree
April 05, 2014 - I have a redbud tree that was transplanted when very young (five years ago). It just started budding last year. It is growing very well but the branches are low. It's like it's growing out instead o...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.