Species such as the spineless yucca, or Yucca elephantipes, are often cultivated as indoor trees for their graceful shape and low-maintenance growing needs. All indoor yuccas, however, require occasional pruning from time to time to maintain a tidy appearance. Brown or withered leaves tend to appear within the foliage crown of indoor yuccas in early autumn as the availability of light decreases and watering is lessened in preparation for winter. Luckily, autumn is the ideal time to prune yuccas because they are partially dormant and the removal of leaves will not negatively affect their growing cycle.
Water the indoor yucca tree deeply the day before pruning it to keep it hydrated and prevent excessive stress on the plant. Moisten the soil to a depth of 3 inches.
Locate any damaged leaves on the indoor yucca tree. Look for yellow, brown or spotted leaves, as well as those with frayed edges, soft spots or wounds.
Spread the leaves apart to reveal the attachment site. Slice along the base of each damaged leaf using a utility knife to remove it. Avoid slicing through the healthy leaves surrounding the damaged ones.
Discard the yucca leaves in the trash or green waste receptacle. Do not compost the indoor yucca leaves because they might be infected with bacteria or viral pathogens.
Place the pruned indoor yucca tree near a large window where it will receive plenty of light and warmth to help it recover from the pruning.
Prune indoor plants in the morning when air temperatures are cool and the plant's sap is low.
Be careful when working with utility knives because they are very sharp.