En Español

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - April 18, 2010

From: Burleson, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pests, Cacti and Succulents
Title: Yucca with halticotoma valida bugs in Burleson TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have had Yucca plants in my yard for 10 years, but this year is the first time I have seen halticotoma valda, and there are thousands of them. How do I get rid of them? are they harmful to the plant. Thank you

ANSWER:

Most websites on yuccas would have you believe they are subject to no serious pests or diseases, but there are some. The yucca is a pretty tough plant, used to surviving in difficult environments, but these bugs are not attractive and you certainly don't want them to continue to multiply. Of the suggestions in the website referenced below, we would certainly go for the insecticidal soap first, which would have the least impact on the environment. A good hard freeze supposedly will deter them, as well, but we've probably had the hardest freezes in Texas that we will have for a long time, so if they are still with you, we would take a shot at getting rid of the little beasties. 

From a previous answer by Mr. Smarty Plants:

Here is a Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station website on the Plant Health Problems of Yucca . The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center neither recommends for nor against pesticides, but these sites have suggestions for the specific bugs in question. Always read directions carefully and follow them to the letter when applying pesticides. 

Pictures from BugGuide

 

 

More Cacti and Succulents Questions

Century plant dying after bloom
August 12, 2007 - My century plant is so tall that it is up to the top of the telephone pole top lines that carry our streets electric. I was wanting to know if you knew if I cut the stock off would it save the plant ...
view the full question and answer

Black fungus on cholla cactus from Austin
March 25, 2012 - How to get rid of black fungus on cholla cactus? Cut it off? And treat with what?
view the full question and answer

Will a cut back yucca grow back in Lockbourne OH?
October 28, 2009 - I live in Ohio and recently I cut back all my plants to prepare for winter. I am wondering if my Yuccas will grow back. I cut them to ground level so only a little bit of the leaf is showing. I was...
view the full question and answer

Non-native hylocereus undatus for Austin
February 24, 2012 - Can we plant Hylocereus (Dragon Fruit) here in Austin, TX? We are going to have a large xeriscape bed and want to know what all we can put in it. We are new to Texas so we have no clue what grows here...
view the full question and answer

Problems on Prickly Pear Cactus in Illinois
November 19, 2014 - I have a fungus on my prickly pear cactus that is not a bug. I tested it and my fingers didn't turn red when I squeezed them. So how do I get rid of this as it is spreading to my other cacti?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center