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?


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
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - July 05, 2011

From: Hellertown, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Pruning, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Yucca blades damaged by weedeater in Hellertown PA
Answered by: Barbara Medford


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?


In future, promise to keep your weed wacker well away from the yucca, tree bark or any plant you are interested in keeping. Those things can easily damage a plant that will leak sap and invite insects to come feed on it, often resulting in disease and/or death of the plant.

Extracted from a previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer on trimming yucca:

Yes, you can certainly prune off the damaged blades, and do so clear back to the trunk. If the damaged blades are all close to the ground, just trim evenly all the way around, which will make the trunk of the yucca look longer, and keep lower leaves out of the range of the machinery (which you promised not to use around there again.)

For this, you will need long pruning shears, and wear long sleeves and pants, leather gloves and a pair of goggles to protect your eyes. Be careful how you discard the trimmed-off portions, they will poke right through a plastic trash bag, but you can find heavy duty paper trash bags that should suffice. And don't try them in a compost pile-it takes them a long time to decompose, and they maintain their stickeriness throughout. 


More Compost and Mulch Questions

Problems with Eves necklacepods (Styphnolobium affine)
March 25, 2008 - Mr. S-P, I urgently need your advice regarding two Eve's necklacepods that appear to be dying. They are in two completely different areas of my yard. One began leafing out and then the leaves sh...
view the full question and answer

Shade ground cover under honeysuckle from Wichita KS
February 21, 2012 - Hi! I know this is a bit odd, but I am trying to find a nontoxic, good ground covering plant that can live in the shade while competing with the roots of a whole bunch of honeysuckle. I have a few ide...
view the full question and answer

Feeding live oak and redbud trees from Fredericksburg TX
October 23, 2012 - Can you please tell me what to feed my live oak and texas redbud trees that survived the drought? We have granite soil.
view the full question and answer

Yellow leaves on non-native pittisporum in Wharton TX
March 17, 2009 - Green pittisporum that I planted 2 years ago and 1 year ago are getting a lot of yellow leaves. Variegated pittisporum that I planted at the same 2 times are doing fine.
view the full question and answer

Perennial blooming plants for Ashland MO
April 02, 2010 - I am beginning to create a flower bed in front of my house, I do not have a green thumb so I want to know what plants would come back yearly and I can plant now in Mid Missouri?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center