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

Thursday - August 19, 2010

From: Torrance, CA
Region: California
Topic: Pruning, Cacti and Succulents
Title: Branches of yucca being blown down in Torrance CA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a Yucca tree about 30 ft tall. Lately when the wind picks up in Torrance we have had about 3 branches fall out of the tree. Can you help me with this. I don't want to cut all of the branches off but our safety is in question here.

ANSWER:

We think you may have answered your own question, in terms of safety. Someone standing under a 30-ft. yucca tree when it fell would probably get hurt, not just from the weight of the branch but from those long dagger-like leaves on the yucca. We looked at the four members of the Yucca genus native to California, and decided this sounded most like Yucca brevifolia (Joshua tree). Our page on this plant in the Native Plant Database says this can grow from 5 to 40 feet, and that it is native to the Mojave Desert. We don't think this is the sort of thing you should try to deal with, we know we wouldn't, and recommend you call in an expert in yuccas to help you make the decision whether trimming it would be adequate or the whole plant needs to come down. And then they can take care of it. 

 

From the Image Gallery


Joshua tree
Yucca brevifolia

Joshua tree
Yucca brevifolia

Joshua tree
Yucca brevifolia

Joshua tree
Yucca brevifolia

More Pruning Questions

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

Due to drought is pruning live oaks beneficial from Houston
December 07, 2011 - Would it be beneficial (presuming a continued spring drought) to prune live oak trees more severely than usual this winter? I'm thinking that it might help them to have less mass to support.
view the full question and answer

Removing Center Stem From Desert Spoon (Sotol) in Phoenix
March 11, 2016 - I have a desert spoon. I hate the center stem. Can I remove the center stem without hurting the rest of the plant? And what is the best way to remove it? I looked for this answer in your questions bu...
view the full question and answer

Trimmng and fertilizing yucca
September 07, 2007 - Should I cut the stalks of the Yucca that have already bloomed or wait until they dry? How often should I fertilize?
view the full question and answer

Persimmon trunk grown around fence rail in Austin
November 08, 2012 - I have a Texas Persimmon in my backyard that is about 12-15 feet tall. It's been growing next to a chain-link fence and over the years, the top rail of the fence has cut into the bark on the trunk. A...
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 | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center