With common names like Spanish dagger and Adam's needle, don't say your yucca (Yucca spp.) didn't warn you to approach with caution when tending to its needs. Though the shrubby evergreen -- suitable for U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 9 -- rarely needs pruning, removing its often massive flower stalk immediately after its showy white flowers fade is recommended. To avoid cuts, pokes and scratches from the sharp points of the plant's foliage, protective clothing, eyewear and gloves are a must.
1 Monitor your yucca plant, watching for flowers to fade in mid to late summer.
2 Wipe down the blades of your long-handled loppers with household antiseptic cleaner and wipe them dry with a paper towel. This cuts the chances of passing on a plant disease or fungal infection carried on the blades from a plant previously pruned with the tool.
3 Put on your protective gear. It may be hot, but you don't want to tangle with these spiny plants in shorts and a T-shirt.
4 Cut off the top of a particularly tall flower spike with your loppers to get it out of the way. Some yuccas send up spikes as tall as 8 feet, making them difficult to manage. Reach into the center of the plant with the loppers and cut the rest of the flower spike off as far down on the stem as you can.
5 Cut the spike into manageable pieces and place it in the compost heap.
Items you will need
- Long-handled loppers
- Household antiseptic cleaner
- Paper towel
- Safety glasses
- Unlike other flower stems, that of the yucca is somewhat woody and would remain on the plant as dead wood for several years if you don't cut it away.
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