En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

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
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
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
1 rating

Sunday - May 31, 2009

From: Howell, NJ
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Pruning
Title: Center of Yucca filamentosa looking rotten in Howell, NJ
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live in central NJ. I planted some Adam's Needle Yucca in my garden around 5 years ago. Since then, they kept growing and ended up developing three trunks off of the main trunk. I noticed recently that the spot where the three trunks meet the main trunk looks rotten. I'm afraid that one day those three trunks are going to break off. What should I do?

ANSWER:

We couldn't find any pictures or descriptions of Yucca filamentosa (Adam's needle) that indicated a trunk that developed  additional trunks. That particular plant is usually referred to as "trunkless" or "minimal trunk." However, the yucca is incredibly hardy, and will grow back from little chunks of root. Even if one or more of the trunks broke off, the main plant would be all right. However, if it is concerning you, or unsightly, we would suggest you prune away one or even two of the additional trunks, electing to leave the one (or two) that look most hardy and unaffected by the rot. Possibly more air circulation on the area will help. This is not an easy job, and you will have to protect yourself from the leaves or blades of the yucca. It is a very fibrous plant, so be prepared to use a sharp cutting tool; a long-handled tree pruner might be good in that it will keep the person doing the cutting away from the defensive spines of the plant. If this makes the center that appears rotten more accessible and visible, you can examine it to see if, indeed, something is going on there. 

 

From the Image Gallery


Adam's needle
Yucca filamentosa

More Pruning Questions

Flowers for days on end in California
March 30, 2012 - What are some plants or flowers that I can grow "all-year" in California?
view the full question and answer

Pruning time for Smoke Tree (Cotinus obovatus)
February 13, 2006 - Gentlemen: I have a Texas Smoke Tree (Cotinus obovatus). It's doing very well & I wish to prune it before its leaves come out. I understand there are a few trees you don't prune, among them birch. I...
view the full question and answer

Making Ruellia nudiflora thicker in pot from Tucson AZ
June 25, 2012 - Can Ruellia Nudiflora be propagated in the same pot as the parent plant? Can it be cut back to stimulate a denser plant? I have plants in several pots and would like to 'thicken' the plant. Tha...
view the full question and answer

Pruning of non-native oxblood lilies from Austin
March 27, 2014 - My Oxblood Lilies flowered quite late last Fall. Their foliage is still very green. Can I cut it down now or do I have to wait until it goes brown?
view the full question and answer

Trimming spineless yucca in Chicago
April 05, 2011 - I have a spineless yucca (indoors) which is 11 feet tall and thirty-five years old. When the yucca recently started to scrape the ceiling, I moved it away (roughly 20 feet) from the windows to an area...
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center