Yucca 'Color Guard' in rough shape

Ispahan Zone6a ChicagoApril 30, 2014

Hi all,

I know there are many yucca haters here on this forum, but I assure you that 'Color Guard' is a very different animal from the straight species. It is quite refined and elegant and even wimpy in comparison. Perhaps a bit too wimpy, because now I am wondering if mine is dead!

I planted my 'Color Guard' in late summer 2012. It was unprotected that first winter and lost most of its foliage during the countless freeze-thaw cycles. However, the central growth tip always showed some signs of life and the plant grew back beautifully last summer, appearing quite sturdy and healthy, much larger than when first planted.

Now fast forward to this winter. We had continuous deep snow cover with only 1-2 freeze events since the snow finally melted. My 'Color Guard' emerged from the long snow cover looking wonderful, albeit a bit trampled from the sheer weight of the snow. But since that time all of the foliage has slowly turned brown and dried up. And I can't see the promise of new growth yet in the center.

Just FYI, the plant is located in full sun and planted in well-drained sandy loam soil.

So, what gives?! Do other people notice the same thing with 'Color Guard' or did my plant just give up the ghost?

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This isn't the exact same thing, so you might just consider it a co-misery post , but my agaves did the very same thing. It was a kind of slow motion event of healthy leaves turning brown or grey. These particular agaves are good to zones 4 & 5 so I don't think it had anything to do with cold + we weren't all that wet either, IOW, there is no rot at the bases. This of course makes my snow situation different than yours but I'm also guessing what in the world happened to mine too.

My best guess was a covering of ice combined with the sun shining on it the next day acting like a magnifying glass which burned the leaves. The cosmetic damage is extensive, I expect they will need a couple seasons to look good again.

I am just leaving them alone, maybe you should too, just wait and see what a season of new growth will bring & hope for the best.

ps I have 3 varieties of yucca I love. You are right, there are some very nice well behaved ones out there. I did dig up a couple large clumps of THE OTHER KIND. Bad stuff.

This post was edited by TexasRanger10 on Wed, Apr 30, 14 at 18:03

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 6:01PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

could you have fertilized late in fall.. and instead of hardening off properly... it rotted the roots???

its not uncommon that the suspended animation of winter... held it looking decent... but the actual harm was done in fall???


ps: i hate yucca.. be impressed i set that aside.. to speculate for you .. lol ...

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 6:25PM
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ken, I've seen photos of your property & honest injun, I cannot even a picture a desert yucca growing among those gorgeous conifers, they are truly stunning.

I am impressed however with your self control since I myself obviously have none. Zero. Maybe I should buy a big box of kleenex to leave behind for the damage control crew next time a certain verboddin subject comes up & I commit another verbal indiscretion. :X

I've seen the 'Color Guard' yucca, its very pretty & landscapers make a lot of use with them around here. They aren't cheap to buy neither. My sky-blue Yucca rigida that Monrovia wants an arm & a leg for in price is one of my favorite plants so ya better watch out fella or we might start bawlin' over here too.

This post was edited by TexasRanger10 on Wed, Apr 30, 14 at 21:26

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 8:00PM
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Ispahan, one more thing, I do have the straight species which I grew from seed, its very blue--- both of them. Its Yucca filamentosa or Adam's Needle. I like either kind although I do see the Color Guard used more often in professional plantings, I think they must prefer it for the contrast but I am personally drawn to any plant that is blue or grey especially if its sculptural. Both plants have the same growing habit & gorgeous bloom.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 8:26PM
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Ispahan Zone6a Chicago

Thank you for the thoughts and ideas, guys! It will be interesting to see if this plant recovers at all.

Ken, it did not receive any fertilizer that I am aware of.

I guess I will just wait it out and see. 'Color Guard' is a very pretty and architectural plant, but I am not sure I actually want to grow it if turns out to be a weakling, unattractive die-back perennial! :-)

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 1:07PM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

And let me add that my Hesperaloe parviflora, which I've had for 10 years, looks mostly dead with no sign of new growth to replace the dead leaves.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2014 at 6:14AM
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laceyvail, I wouldn't dig them up just yet, just cut back if you can't stand looking at it. 10 yrs is very established. The cluster of tubers underground are probably OK, some of mine got quite a bit of winter scald so the leaves aren't what they usually are but they are just now putting out new blooms -- no new leaves of yet here a bit further south, they do that later.

If they got too wet however, they might have rotted. You can sometimes tell by your nose with a bit of probing if thats the case.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2014 at 5:28PM
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