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How to prune outdoor yucca plants

Updated November 21, 2016

Yucca is a North American native, a flowering plant that acts like a large shrub or small tree. Large clusters of white flowers appear on the tree in late spring and summer. Outdoor yucca plants may grow taller and bushier than what is desired for the rest of your landscape, but proper pruning will help you keep your outdoor yucca plants looking neat, healthy and well-tended.

Remove any dead or damaged leaves by hand at the end of summer, gently plucking them off the plant. Dead growth will make the yucca tree look unkempt and unattractive and may hinder healthy new growth.

Cut damaged and dead stems off the yucca plant, removing only the stems displaying noticeable signs of age and/or weakness.

Make stem cuts just above leaf and flower bud nodes, removing just the damaged tips or going all the way to the base as needed. Cuts should be quick, clean and made at a slight angle.

Cut the central bloom stalk with a pair of sharp garden shears, getting as close to the base of the stalk as possible. Wait until the yucca has stopped blooming for the season before removing the bloom stalk.

Discard the pruned bloom stalk; leaving it on the ground around the tree may attract pests and animals who are attracted to the scent.

Tip

Yucca plants, even those growing outdoors, do not need heavy pruning in order to stay healthy.

Warning

Don't cut the entire yucca plant down to the base; doing so will actually create multiple new yucca plants around the old base.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden shears
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About the Author

K. C. Morgan is a professional freelance writer, with articles and blog posts appearing on dozens of sites. During her years of writing professionally, K. C. has covered a wide range of topics. She has interviewed experts in several fields, including celebrated psychoanalyst Frances Cohen Praver, PhD; television personality and psychotherapist Dr. Robi Ludwig; and entrepreneur Todd Reed.