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

Conditions for wisteria bloom on Ontario, Canada
November 05, 2005 - I live in Ontario Canada, and about 4 years ago I bought a shrub which was called wisteria. I loved this bush when I visited a cousin out in British Columbia. The problem is it has no trouble growing ...
view the full question and answer

Trimming a bur oak in Llano, TX
February 06, 2009 - We have a beautiful, large Burr Oak next to our house. This tree has many large lateral branches. I have trimmed dead branches, but no other trimming. It grows a lot of "suckers" during growing sea...
view the full question and answer

Yucca blades damaged by weedeater in Hellertown PA
July 05, 2011 - Can I cut off the blades of a Yucca plant that have been eaten on the edges with a weed wacker and are very unsightly looking? Can they be cut back to the flower shaft?
view the full question and answer

Transplanting and Pruning Callicarpa
August 21, 2014 - I saw the previous question about Callicarpa from the guy in Texas and I have two questions based on the response. In SW Vermont, is late fall still the best time to transplant my Callicarpas? Also, i...
view the full question and answer

Is December a good time to prune oaks in Central Texas?
December 29, 2010 - Given that we haven't had much cold weather here in central Texas (Wimberley) this season, is it a good time to trim live and Spanish oak trees (damaged limbs and low hanging branches and suckers)? ...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center