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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.

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

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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!

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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

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