Wednesday, September 3, 2014


Giant Yucca
I have several Yucca in my yard.  Some were rescued from a demolished apartment complex.  Some were swiped  from the side of a road in Oklahoma.  I have several different varieties.  The "Giant Yucca" is quite possibly my favorite.  It stand majestic in the spring with it's elegant white flowers reaching for the heaven's.  It has strong, thick leaves that are sturdy and hold up to a lot, including the colder temperatures.  It has sharp pointed leaves that can be quite painful

Adan's Needle

The Adam's Needle has much thinner needle like leaves that grow outward more than upward.  They do not achieve nearly the size of the Giant Yucca and are much more delicate.  They also have beautiful, majestic white flowers that grace the cool spring weather with there presence.

Native American used almost every part of the yucca plant for everything from weaving to mastering ritual concoctions.  Little is actually know about the benefits, or dangers of the yucca plant.  One thing I do know first hand is that you can't battle one.  No matter how hard you try to remain protected the yucca is more powerful than any planning and preparation on your part.

I am very proud of my Yucca's.  It took some work to transport them from the original dwelling and nurture them to the appealing landscape they became.  Low and behold I noticed my favorite Yucca was beginning to look extremely droopy.  At closer glance I realized my worst fear.  There they were scurrying all over my succulent like they had always been there.  These little creatures (commonly referred to as Yucca Bugs) thrive by draining the yucca of all the vital fluid in it's leaves.  They are merciless and can destroy an entire plant before you may even realize you've been hit.

Fortunately I was able to take preventative measures at the right time.  Armed with a 3 cup spray bottle full of canola oil and shampoo the entire plant was sprayed top to bottom and underneath.  The spray lands on the tiny bugs and literally suffocates them beyond survival without doing any harm to the Yucca.

With the first round of treatment complete all I could do is wait a few days.  Another good coating of prevention was added to be sure nothing was missed. Like most tiny infectious creatures it doesn't take long for these destructive mites to reproduce, even if only a few are left behind.

Once I was sure I had removed the infestation the daunting task of removing the destroyed foliage began. Armed with gloves, long sleeves and slacks I concentrated on cuttin off the dead leaves starting at the bottom.  It wasn't long before I began to see that my yucca was going to survive just fine.  There was even plenty of new growth sprouting from the ground underneath the destroyed leaves.

It wasn't until I removed my gloves and shirt that I became concerned.  Even through the protective clothing the sharp needlepoint leaves left my arms looking as if I had developed a terrible rash.  It wasn't pretty and yes it became irritating.  The tiny pricks were on my legs and event on the top of my feet.  After some research I learned that with proper care (to avoid infection) my predicament was not as severe as it appeared.  Plenty of anti-itch cream and good cleaning prevented any real harm.  The best part is that my yucca not only survived but grew even larger once it was trimmed back.  Maybe this was just mother natures way of saying my yucca need some serious attention.