Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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

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

QUESTION:

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?

ANSWER:

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 Shrubs Questions

Are Rhododendrons and Mountain Laurels native to the Texas/Mexico Border?
July 05, 2012 - I'm trying to determine whether Rhododendrons, azaleas and mountain laurel grow around the Texas/Mexican border. Are they native to this region?
view the full question and answer

What is the bush that has very bright red berries in the fall/winter and no leaves?
December 27, 2015 - What is the name of the bush that has very bright red berries in the fall/winter and no leaves? I am familiar with amour honeysuckle, and I'm sure that it is not that.
view the full question and answer

Shrub for barrier fence in Alexandria, Virginia
August 19, 2009 - Hi. we need plants to act as a barrier fence, 15 feet tall, partial shade. We are considering a holly or virginia magnolia. What can you suggest? thank you, Nikita
view the full question and answer

Epiphytic or halophytic trees and shrubs
December 10, 2008 - Hello I was searching on this issue, but couldn't find what I really want, and I would be great full for your assistance. Please could you help me to find the scientific name for the "Trees" or...
view the full question and answer

Cutting back a Rhododendron in Maryland
June 17, 2015 - I have a planting of six shrubs across the front of my house (alternating azalea & rhododendron). All have died except for one huge rhody & a small azalea next to it. Can I cut the huge rhody back to ...
view the full question and answer

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