Yucca, also known as spineless yucca or soft-tip yucca, is a member of the Agavaceae family. This fast-growing plant has a single thick trunk and reaches heights of 30 feet. Yucca is often used as a houseplant, but it can be placed outdoors as well. Exceptional drainage is required at the planting site to avoid root rot, which is common in yucca.
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Root rot diseases are caused by fungi and are most common in plants growing in very wet soil. Two types of root rot fungi are Pythium spp. and Fusarium spp. Root rot fungi are soil-borne, remaining in the soil for long periods of time and infecting yucca susceptible to root rot diseases. Yucca may also develop symptoms of stem rotting when infected with bacterial necrosis, a disease that is caused by infestation of agave weevils.
Root rot fungi attack yucca that are growing in soil with poor drainage. Yucca is a member of the Agavaceae family, which are succulents. According to the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, all succulents must have fast-draining soils to thrive. Planting yucca in improperly draining soils places it at risk for root rot fungi to attack it. Yucca does not require additional soil moisture after planting, so don't irrigate it. Bacterial necrosis is caused by agave weevils. These black weevils chew on yucca, introducing fungi that causes bacterial rot.
Yucca with root rot diseases often develop black, mushy roots and rotting stems. Infected plant roots usually have a distinctive smell, and symptoms of rot work up the plant. Yucca with root rot fungi eventually die from the disease because the plant cannot receive adequate nutrients through damaged roots. Infestations of the agave snout weevil can cause rotting of yucca cane. Infested plants develop wilted leaves and rotting canes, and they die within a matter of days.
You can limit root rot diseases in yucca by placing the plant in well-drained soil and avoiding irrigation. You can control bacterial necrosis by eliminating agave snout weevils. Remove and destroy any yucca plant with rotting canes from infestations of snout weevils. Hand-pick larvae and adult beetles from the soil and treat with a pesticide labelled for use on white grubs before replanting.
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- University of Florida IFAS Extension; Yucca Elephantipes: Spineless Yucca; Edward F. Gilman and Dennis G. Watson; December 2006
- University of Arizona Cooperative Extension; Problems and Pests of Agave, Aloe, Cactus and Yucca; March 2011
- University of Arizona Cooperative Extension; Agave Weevils in the Low Desert
- University of Arizona Cooperative Extension; Diseases of Urban Plants; Richard Hine; February 1999