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 - May 11, 2009

From: San Jose, CA
Region: California
Topic: Pruning, Cacti and Succulents
Title: Can I trim back my 20 ft Yucca plant?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I have a yucca tree which is about 20 ft. tall, has four main trunks. I would like to prune it to approx. 10 ft. but wonder if that will kill it or if new shoots will come out up near the cut.

ANSWER:

You didn't tell me the type of Yucca that you have, and you may not know, but you can go to our Native Plant Database and type the word Yucca in the "name box". You will get a list of 28  species of Yuccas native to the US along with images and descriptions that can help you learn the name of your plant. Two of the spectacular "tree like" forms are Yucca brevifolia (Joshua tree), and Yucca elata (soaptree yucca) with images.

 You can safely trim the tops of the trunks and new shoots will appear just below the cut point. I would suggest that you do one trunk and wait for the new shoots before you proceed to the other trunks. See this link for details.

You could also experiment by putting the cut off stems into potting soil to see if they will form roots.  Free Yucca plants!

I would offer two words of caution. The leaf margins of Yuccas can be sharp, so be careful when you handle the leaves, and don't over water your Yuccas.

 

 

More Cacti and Succulents Questions

Damage to yucca in San Marcos TX
October 18, 2010 - 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 beauti...
view the full question and answer

Non-blooming yuccas in Brooklyn CT
July 14, 2013 - I have outdoor yucca plants that don't flower - - in full sun. Why?
view the full question and answer

Native perennial winter plants for Waco, TX
November 03, 2004 - I live in the Waco area, and would like to know winter plants that I could use that would come back each year, flowering or otherwise.
view the full question and answer

Landscaping on South Padre Island
June 07, 2008 - I'm in charge of landscaping at my beachfront condo in South Padre Island and find the wind, salt air, and heat challenging for growing almost anything. We would like to incorporate native plants, b...
view the full question and answer

Monocarpic plants for Indiana
October 06, 2005 - We were in Hawaii this summer and became acquainted with the Silversword. This plant (according to what we were told) blooms only once in it's lifetime (of 50-70 years). Are you aware of any other pl...
view the full question and answer

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