Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Monday - October 18, 2010

From: San Marcos , TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Planting, Transplants, Cacti and Succulents
Title: Damage to yucca in San Marcos TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, thank you for helping me with my buffalo grass is San Marcos TX back in the spring, my lawn is gorgeous thanks to you! I really need your help as someone sabotaged my beautiful yucca plant by cutting off the top nice and even. My poor yucca seems lifeless with its beautiful vibrant pointy leafs now droopy, turning somewhat yellow, but not all dead yet. Oh, please help me save my yucca, as I've raised it from a baby in a cup and transplanted it from pot to pot until it was ready to go into the ground two months ago and it was beautifully happy. Now some ruthless person(s) had to cut its stunning top off. What can I do to save it?

ANSWER:

To start with, don't panic. The yucca, native to Central Texas, is a remarkably sturdy survivor plant. Remember that it is basically a desert plant, where all manner of disasters can happen to it. I don't suppose there is much problem with chain saws in the desert, but there are lots of other hazards and the yucca is still around.

First, before you do anything else, you need to ask yourself if this vandalism is likely to be repeated in the area where you have planted the yucca. Is it near the street or in an area easily accessible to foot traffic? Is it somewhere that it could intrude on a footpath or sidewalk, or block a view backing out of a driveway? Possibly it was just senseless vandalism, but vandals can be senseless more than once, and you might consider moving the yucca to a more protected spot.

Here is a previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer on transplanting and/or trimming a yucca, which we hope you find reassuring. Another previous answer is from someone who deliberately cut her yucca off, and then started wondering if it was going to survive that. In another answer, the writer's husband had mowed the yucca down.

In terms of the drooping, yellowing leaves, this could well be the result of transplant shock, and while the unwanted pruning didn't help, it may not have caused that. Your best plan now, if you decide to leave the yucca where it is, is patience. Don't overwater and don't spray it with water or anything else, water into the soil around the roots. We're betting on the yucca!

 

More Transplants Questions

How to grow milkweeds (Asclepias spp.) for monarch butterflies
March 31, 2010 - I tried and tried and tried to grow Asclepias viridis, A. asperula and even A. oenotheroides from seeds and even tubers for fourteen years! Do you have advice for growing these and other milkweed plan...
view the full question and answer

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

Flowering evergreen shrubs for sun in Austin
August 09, 2010 - I am looking for a flowering evergreen shrubs that can take all afternoon sun(on the west side of our house. Preferably 2ft high and 2 ft wide. I had planted a few Salvia Greggii(Autumn Sage) which on...
view the full question and answer

Living fence of native plants for Ojai, CA
September 20, 2008 - I would like to build a "green fence" about 10-15 feet tall. I live in Ojai, CA where we have VERY hot summers and it goes below freezing every winter. The soil does not seem to drain well..it is e...
view the full question and answer

Propagation on bamboo in Washington State
August 30, 2008 - I have been trying for some time to grow bamboo in my garden. They rooted very well in the house but as soon as I put them in a large planter under the fir trees they turned yellow.They have a large h...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.