how to get rid of yucca FOREVER?

creamgogo(il)July 23, 2005

the previous owners must have adored them, as there were lots and lots and lots. The first year, which was five years ago, i dug them all out.... i thought. the roots are the size of a man's calf, no kidding. so, apparently, i'm not getting it all. i, for the fifth year, dug them out. i'm sure i'm wasting my time. can i round up down in their hole or would it be better to wait for next year when they have leaves? (no getting snippy about the roundup, pleeeease!) i hate them. thanks

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Mine never loses its leaves at all--I thought they were evergreen. I feel your pain, because I dug a big one out last year. It was an enormous effort. I'm just a little over 5' and the hole to dig out that monster was about 3 1/2 feet deep. I don't know if I got it entirely because I left one behind on purpose. Somehow I doubt Round-up will work, but you might try a stump killer product.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2005 at 7:37PM
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It's been years for me too, and I'm STILL digging this nasty plant up every time it sends up another little sprout!!!!


    Bookmark   July 23, 2005 at 7:46PM
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lindac(Iowa Z 5/4)

My daughter moved into a house with a bed right by the front door.....full of the stuff.
So she started to dig out the awful pointy, stickery, ratty looking plants.
My grand daughter asked what that awful plant was...!!?? Becky said "yucca"....Meg said "you're kidding!!! right??"
LOL! Yes it's a "yuccy" plant!
I bought something in a squeeze bottle called "stump and vine killer"....about 3 weeks ago I cut a weed tree growing in the lilacs....just cut one obtrusive branch of it....dabbed some of this stump killer on a paper towel and put it around the cut end of that big intrusive wild cherry in the lilac, covered with a plastic bag and rubberbanded it on.
The whole bush now has wilted and seems to be dying....just a few drops on the cut end ot the tree.
I'll bet that would work on that nasty yucca....
Roundup doesn't do very well....seems there is too much wax in the plant for it to penetrate well.
Becky finally got rid of it....used RU....didn't faze it....shovel did the trick!!
Linda C

    Bookmark   July 23, 2005 at 8:38PM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

You can try roundup, and then I'd also try some sort of total kill. For tree stumps that keep on coming back etc. I drill holes in them and pour in the brush kill/total kill etc. Just a bit, and full strength so it gets absorbed well. Dig out what you can, then drill into the root and fill up the hole!


    Bookmark   July 23, 2005 at 10:43PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

I watched one of our garden guru's handle yucca on his TV gardening show one day (Hey, JERock....Ciscoe) and he cut it back to ground level and put a couple of squares of heavy cardboard over it, piled on some compost/bark to hide the cardboard. I'm not growing yucca, but he said it really worked for killing it without breaking your back. Leave in place for a year.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2005 at 1:19AM
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hey, thanks!

i'll put your posts together and use a stump killer and cover with cardboard and mulch or rock.

now i know why people have this stuff in their yards.....THEY CAN'T GET RID OF IT! it should come with a warning!

    Bookmark   July 24, 2005 at 11:01AM
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lindac(Iowa Z 5/4)

My daughter tried the "cover it up" trick.....she used black sent up shoots around the edges.....

    Bookmark   July 24, 2005 at 11:49AM
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PetalPusher2(LI NY z7)

uh son just bought a house and it came equipped with several "yuccy" plants. We dug and dug and DUG, and I thought we had we planted new perennials over it. I am now terrified of what the future may bring!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2005 at 10:16PM
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Jen26(USDA zone 6/MO)

Learn to love it. That's what I had to do. OK..."love" is pretty strong. Learn to live with it.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2005 at 11:23PM
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petalpusher, you'll know before long. one day you'll go out to admire your new plants, and, lo and behold, there in the middle of it will be seven eight-inch tall (i swear, over night) yuccas!! lol!!

and, jen, after all this time of fighting it, i REFUSE to love it or live with it!! I AM A WOMAN ON A MISSION. Next time it rears its ugly head, i'm going the stump killer route. they're ALL going down!!!

i can't believe i haven't seen more complaint threads about this plant through the years!

    Bookmark   July 27, 2005 at 9:03AM
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mrsgalihad(5 CO)

creamgogo are your yuccas planted with anything else right now? If not you could try pouring boiling water on them. It will totally sterilize the soil but with dead yucca roots in there the soil microbes should bounce back pretty quickly.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2005 at 9:30AM
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lisazone6_ma(z6 MA)

Geez - I'm planning on digging mine out in a couple weeks. And I purposely planted it about three years ago!! I wanted that upright look of the leaves but they just flop too much around the edges. The flower was gorgeous tho! Hopefully it hasn't gotten to monster proportions underneath the soil in three years? Please?


    Bookmark   July 27, 2005 at 9:38AM
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nancyd(5/Rochester, NY)

There have been a lot of funny posts over the years on people's experiences with removing yucca. From what I gathered, short of a nuclear explosion, not much will kill this plant. Do a "search all records" on yucca on and you'll come up with a bunch of postings.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2005 at 2:32PM
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playsindirt(z5 MO)

What about fire? Just kidding.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2005 at 4:27PM
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laurie_ky6(z6 KY)

I tried the "cover up" trick. The covered up part, which I thought I'd abused pretty thoroughly, just sent its runners out beyond the cover.

I once asked a landscaper to remove mine (the previous owners of my house planted A LOT of them on two sides of the yard), and he just laughed.

So, my father, who actually likes them, asked if he could have a few. I thought this would make us both happy, but the ones he transplanted died, and mine were so happy to be thinned out that they came back even more thickly.

I just ignore them now. They are not in the mental map of my gardens.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2005 at 5:33PM
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Susy(Zone 5/6 MO.)

"What about fire? Just kidding. "

I had some leavcs blow in around one plant so I set the leaves on fire. Made the Yucca leaves brown and ugly but didn't kill it. Later my brother was here and he helped me dig and dig and dig. The plant came back and is now as big or bigger than before.

And yes, I set that yucca plant out myself!!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2005 at 8:52AM
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Don't yuccas like dry conditions? I'm wondering if you could keep it constantly wet, if it would rot? Just a thought.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2005 at 9:27AM
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garden_wench(z6 PA)

Move to a house with a yucca free garden. We had yucca to deal with in previous house and spent several back breaking days of digging out buckets and buckets of roots, on both our and hired landscapers part. Then sprouts came up and we used something called a extra strength round-up brush killer. Can't remember if we scratched the leaves or not before applying it. You can use an inexpensive foam brush to apply, then wrap the brush in plastic. And reapply it every two days. It helped. But I still think there were some sprouts. If there is a piece of root in the ground it will sprout. Hopefully there are no plants nearby that might get some of the brush killer on them. Maybe cover with a newspaper to protect them just during application. Yucca is somehting I never want to see in my yard again.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2005 at 10:34AM
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You guys are scaring me...I just planted a few that was given to me in the beginning of summer,I planted in spot temporarily, planned to move later. will I be okay until then?(fall) and should it just be tossed? or put somewhere where I need not worry if its there or not?...

    Bookmark   August 7, 2005 at 10:55AM
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gardenmomma, don't be a fool. run while you can. my vote is dumpster NOW!!!! if you don't trust my opinion, go back through this post and re-read.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2005 at 11:22AM
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Fledgeling_(4b SD)

cause the extinction of its sole pollinator, the yucca moth, to rid the earth of yuccas forever. or else your stuck with it.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2005 at 10:18PM
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We bought a house 4 years ago with one yucca out front. It has grown to be 6 large yucca's woven into a stone retaining wall. As I prepare for the removal destruction ahead, I wonder how to deal with the needle-sharp leaves? I assume that i wll just remove them before digging. Any other suggestions for the process?

    Bookmark   May 3, 2006 at 5:07PM
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If it's wrapped itself into the wall, stern measures will be needed. To ensure yucca elimination:

1) Take down the wall and dispose of it well away from your property.

2) Dig deeply and remove all visible bits of the plant.
Dispose of the soil, well away from your property.

3) Dig even more deeply (preferably down to molten magma). Once you have excavated a crater roughly 10 times the diamter of the original plant and at least 3 feet deeper than all visible roots, remove all dirt, rock etc. and dispose of well away from your property.

4) Fill the pit with double-strength Brush-B-Gone and erect a security fence around it. Inspect around the edges once daily for marauding roots. Be prepared to call in air support if needed.

5) Approximately 50% of gardeners have found that by strictly adhering to these methods, the yucca will be vanquished within 5 years.

6) If you are within the unlucky 50%, move to a new home. Do not take any plants or garden equipment with you. Do not leave a forwarding address.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2006 at 6:16PM
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singleton165(z5 NH Seacoast)

I must say that I even smuggled small yucca plants in my luggage (along with rose of sharon and mimosa seedlings) from Missouri. I dug most of the the yucca up early last summer and put them bare root in a bucket. I never did replant them and finally dumped the bucked behind the shed.
1. there are a couple tiny yucca coming up in their place
2. I'm afraid to go behind the shed after reading this post! LOL of course the last time I noticed, they were still brown.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2006 at 6:32PM
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juicylucy(z5 IN)

LOL eric! I just planted 2 Yucca flaccida 'Bright Edge', please tell me they aren't as horrible as filamentosa.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2006 at 7:39PM
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LOL...I'm getting such a kick out of reading everyone's descriptions of their tormenting yuccas. Am I the only one that likes them? I have about 7 that I planted from my uncle's yard about 6 years ago. They are spread out in different beds, not all together. It took a few years before they flowered, but they stay relatively small. After it flowers, take the whole plant out. It comes out easily with a spade. Another quickly grows in its place. I also prune all the leaves back every spring...all the ones not up in the air. If they touch the ground, I cut it off. I think they only get huge and monstrous looking when they aren't pruned. And I love the winter interest they provide. I have one "Color Guard" that I planted 2 years ago. Still a small little thing. I don't think they are as vigorous as the filamentosas.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2006 at 2:33AM
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bulbs(z6 PA)

anitamo - No, you're not the only one. I also like the yucca. Got mine (2) in the late 90's, and have had blooms for the past 3 years. Seemed to take forever for them to get "large enuf" or whatever to get blooms, but I love them. (1st saw them at a home I passed daily on way to work, and admired them - got name of plant at the time, and ordered "bare-root" years ago.)

Thanks for the info about pruning back the leaves in spring - and when you mentioned removing the plant after blooming, you are referring only to the "stalk" with blooms, aren't you?

    Bookmark   May 5, 2006 at 10:18AM
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bulbs...nope, besides the flower itself, I also remove the plant it's attached to. Because it will not bloom again, ever. And then the plant itself gets loose in the ground and will eventually look ratty. I learned this from my uncle who has beautiful yuccas (his entire acre of landscaping is stunning.) Now, if your yucca has grown montrous, it's most likely because there are multiple crowns in there. So just cut out the part with the flower. Does that make sense? The flowering weakens it so it's easier (not easy, just easier) to remove. A saw-zal would help, LOL. I have removed single plants that flowered, and soon after another yucca grows in its place. That's what makes them so hard to rid of them, I guess. But a well pruned yucca isn't yucky. (couldn't resist.)

    Bookmark   May 5, 2006 at 11:17AM
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Hi, you are all very scary. We bought a house last summer & it had 2 large plants in the front. We tried to dig them up in the fall & there about were over 12 shoots. Now if we cant kill them-what do we do? I kill every other plant! Do you think if, in the spring, I dig further, used boiling water then a blow torch on the roots & then drill onto the root & apply a stump killer that maybe it would work. (: In the end, only the Yucca & the roaches will survive...

    Bookmark   February 9, 2007 at 2:46PM
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Well for those who can't get rid of it you can at least be aware that hummingbirds love to come to the flowers when they bloom. That could at least be a consolation!!! OMG I am glad I never planted one!!!!

    Bookmark   February 10, 2007 at 4:13PM
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webkat5(Z6a MO)

Now, I just don't see what all the fuss is about....

I had two very nice yuccas at my old house (for 6 years) that never spread...hmmmm....

There must be different species that are notorious for what you guys are talking about.

I did grow some from seed...but they will be planted in an area that they can "take over" if they want to...

    Bookmark   February 10, 2007 at 5:34PM
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how funny that this post resurfaced, as i forgot about it! i'm the OP and my house settled, so i had to have it lifted and also put in a new septic. had to bring in backhoes to do MAJOR digging. it wasn't down to molten magma as Eric suggested, but it was pretty dang close......the only thing that came back was those FREAKING YUCCAS!!! my original post was 2005 and they're still tormenting me. how funny is that!?!!!

    Bookmark   February 10, 2007 at 7:53PM
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hostaholic2 z 4, MN

I've been working on killing mine for 5 years now. Last year I thought it was finally gone, then round about late July, guess what showed up? But I'm not giving up. The last kill attempt was by cutting off the tops of the leaves and then immediately brushing with round-up. We'll see what happens next summer. If all else fails, I'm moving in a couple of years!

    Bookmark   February 10, 2007 at 9:45PM
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I missed this thread on the first go-around. Have fought the same battle here in the south, cutting back leaves and painting stump with brush killer. Somewhat but not completely successful. Then I remembered the method I devised to use on dandelions up north growing in close to perennials in the garden beds. In that case I cut back the foliage and put just a drop of clorox on the root top. So, I did the same, cutting back the yuccas as they emerged using about a tablespoon of clorox on each cut plant. It took a year to kill them off entirely. Hopefully this will work for you.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2007 at 3:57PM
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pitimpinai(z6 Chicago)

lol. I LOVE my Yucca. :-) I think the shape and color are beautiful and add variety to the garden, since I like to vary sizes, forms, textures, and colors. Plus they are evergreen. My garden does not look empty in winter. What more can you ask? :-)
It's especially pretty in late spring - early summer. Come on, don't these curls tug your heart string one tiny bit? :-)

    Bookmark   February 15, 2007 at 9:17PM
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I replied to this post in July of '05. I want to report that I successfully dug up TWO yuccas from my perennial bed. I was concerned that the deep roots would interfere with our septic mound which is what my perennials are growing on. The soil is very loose and that's probably why I was able to get all the roots and pieces. I moved a small piece to another site, but it's not in full sun so it's not growing.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2007 at 2:39PM
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For three years now, I have fought a yucca that was a big one when I dug it up. After that I built a large raised flower bed over the top of the hole and then put almost two feet of topsoil over the entire bed. That dang yucca is STILL sending up sprouts, and I can't stop them with ANYTHING or any method! In the Spring (like now) new yucca sprouts emerge right in the middle of day lilies and spiderworts, so it's tough at first to tell what's a yucca or a friendly plant.

To each their own... but why ANYONE would ever want one of these plants is beyond me... especially in a woodland garden like I try to have at my lake house. I wish I could offer some advice, but I have had real bad results trying to eradicate this most ever invasive plant. I am considering using my used medical syringes to inject a (full strength) concentrated systemic poison into the middle base of the plants. I'm simply fed up with yuccas down in southern Illinois.

I also thought that maybe I should make a tea to drink from their boiled young leaves. I figured that by doing that I'd maybe have a life span of 500 years too. Then it occurred to me: I'd be ugly, and besides the fact it could be poisonous... and I've already had enough life problems from procreating myself!


    Bookmark   April 8, 2007 at 12:43PM
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gillespiegardens(Z6 cinti ohio)

IT CAN BE DONE!!!!! I do love yuccas myself. But i wanted to remove a big clump of them from a garden bed that had been there for at least 17 years. I dug up the clumps which took a couple evenings lol and then waited. when the first little sprouts came back a few weeks later i poured ( not sprayed ) ortho tough brush and weed killer on each sprout FULL STRENGTH right from the bottle. Just enough to coat it and be careful not to get it on any surrounding plants. then i waited. those died... but a few new ones came up a few weeks later. i poured more on those. eventually they stopped coming up. i lost one heuchera that was planted too close but it was my fault for not moving it first. the bottle cost me about $17 and i still have a little bit left in case i see any more new sprouts. but i havent have any new ones come up in over 18 months. best investment i ever made.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2007 at 1:22PM
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gillespiegardens(Z6 cinti ohio)

nandina's method of using clorox sounds pretty good too.
( and cheaper too! lol )
the trick is to put the tough brush killer or clorox etc full strength on the new shoots... not the main stump itself.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2007 at 5:09PM
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paul_(z5 MI)

No, pitimpinai, those curls don't "pull at my heart strings". Vile plant. They look fine in a desert. Can't stand them anywhere else. Still remember the nightmare in which I tried helping a friend get them out of her yard. Fortunately, she later moved.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2007 at 11:43AM
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    Bookmark   April 15, 2007 at 1:31PM
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ladychroe(z6 NJ)

After reading these and similar posts, I yanked my newly transplanted yucca and tossed it bare into an old flowerpot... no soil or anything. That was over two years ago and it is STILL ALIVE! No soil, no water, no nothing... just a plant with its bare roots in a pot in the sun. Totally forgot about it.

I was going to chuck it but I'm interested to see how long it will hang on. Did I mention it's inside the drip line of the house? Little - if any - rain falls there.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 11:59AM
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I sure would like to see some pics of where these were located. I have 1/3 of an acre, including a stream, that can use anything that will survive. We are on shale, not too deep; very wet soil. I WILL NOT PLANT MORE WILLOWS. Are yuccas tidy? How much do they spread? Saw some today for sale at a local nursery and was tempted.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2007 at 7:20PM
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Eight years ago we bought a home built in the fifties and I swear that yucca was planted then! We'll probably be digging through to the earth's crust for the next fifty! Yuccas are most likely related to the century plant.

GODZILLA was more than fifteen feet tall with a base four-feet wide. My warriors, husband and son (son is part Japanese) battle the monster chopping off the twin heads and numerous arms. Two-foot sections of its gnarly belly were sliced off, but their futile attempts are dashed. Godzilla is still breathing fire.

Along comes our friend, the Mad Scientist, complete with hunched shoulders, lab coat and goggles. He regales the tales of vanquishing the monsters from his yard once and for all.

"When you're down to the stump, drill a bunch of holes down in there with the biggest drill bit ya got. (Ours happens to be a jackhammer). Pour a bunch of liquid Drano down in there, full strength to the roots and let it set awhile. Once it starts a-lookin like The Blob, you can call Hollywood so they can make the sequel."

We're at the point of drilling the holes, when husband suddenly takes a trip out of state, and son finds respite at a San Diego car show, leaving me with the lab coat, rubber gloves, goggles and jackhammer! I'm thinking of wrapping ropes or chains around the stump and fasten that to the tow hooks on the back of the Hummer and pulling it out!

Godzilla vs. Hummer?

Epilogue to follow............

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 11:20AM
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First, straight Roundup doesnt work, brush and vine killers dont work, burning doesnt work, digging the plant up doesnt work. Nor does poisoning the soil with gasoline, letting it set for a year, then digging up the contaminated soil and replacing it with good soil work. Straight bleach does not work. Digging the plant out and replacing the soil doesnt work. Even if you cover the area where the plant existed with a plastic cover and rock or mulch, it will only start growing up outside the boundary of the area covered in plastic. Poisoning the soil with salt will kill everything but the Yucca Plant. It seems to act much like the good old Southern and Midwestern plant, nutgrass.

To date, no one is known to have subjected it to microwaves or nuclear radiation. The radiation should probably be used only as a last gasp measure.

The yucca plant does have a natural killer, however it is a moth that has been declared extinct.

Things that are in the process of being tested are:

Direct application of stump remover.
Syringe injection of 4 ccs of undiluted Remedy®. The Remedy® will actually eat out the syringe, so it is suggested you buy the disposable syringes, clean them in water and pour the contaminated water over the plant(s), then throw the syringes away.
Syringe injection of 2 ccs undiluted Round-up® mixed with 1 teaspoon of salt per pint of Round-up®.
Since it is primarily a dry area plant, some people are trying to keep the plant area soaking in water in an attempt to drown the plant and rot the roots. Since the tap root is suspected of growing down to the magma core at the center of the planet, not much hope is held out for this remedy.

Most importantly if you are trying to kill the Yucca is to NOT let the plant flower and go to seed. As it JUST STARTS to flower, bag the stem in a plastic trash bag and cut the stem out of the center as low as you can. Whatever you do, DO NOT put the dead stem in with your compost you will just have new Yucca plants growing everywhere you spread your compost. So as not to infect the landfill or possible Composting facility for your area, place the stem, bag and all, into a large, acid proof container. Pour in enough acid to cover everything and cover. After five weeks, check to see if everything, EVERYTHING has dissolved. If not, replace the cover and wait another 10-12 weeks. After everything has dissolved, pour the acid mixture into the soil where the plant has grown. Cover with plastic and, if after two years, you are still Yucca free, remove the plastic, dig out the contaminated soil and replace it with soil that has never even heard of the word Yucca.

Only after a treated area has been Yucca free for 7 years may you consider your means of removal to have been a success. Studies longer than seven years have not been conducted.

One suggestion that has worked 78% of the time is to move to a new house that does not have Yuccas. Of the 12% of the time where moving has known to have failed, close investigation has shown that digging tools used to try to eradicate the plant were taken to the new house, or the unsuspecting family has tried to take plants from the old house to the new. It is suggested you scrap and burn all garden tools and gloves and bring NO plants from the old house to the new.

©2007, Bob Clarkson

    Bookmark   September 2, 2007 at 6:14PM
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ROFL! That's hilarious!

    Bookmark   September 2, 2007 at 6:32PM
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The battle ensues. Little did we know Godzilla had a baby, now reduced to a one foot wide stump. The baby refuses to leave its mama and sent down anchors. Our heavy duty truck with chains didn't work either. Tires were burning rubber in the street. It's turning into a neighborhood spectacle
and becoming a battle of wills. Who will win? Stay tuned....

Meanwhile on Catalina Island, son and friends are wiling away the Labor Day Weekend in the surf. Smart kid!

    Bookmark   September 2, 2007 at 6:53PM
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lynnem(5 Ohio)

omg.. I love reading the posts on yucca removal.. I helped my daughter dig one out this spring, and it's already resurrecting itself!

    Bookmark   September 3, 2007 at 6:20PM
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I hadn't thought of this - but one way to kill off Yucca might be to decide that it is a cherished plant and lavish attention on it.

Plenty of water, fertilizer and other attentions might do the trick. It's liable to decide that it's wanted, and die out of spite.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2007 at 9:34AM
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Hooray! Godzilla has been vanquished!!! A one and a half foot deep trench was dug around the bloody stumps. This time we used our 4X4 and chains and pulled them out with the greatest of ease. All dirt will be removed along with the body parts and ooze. All will be hauled to the dump.

Meeting with nursery personnel for follow-up solutions and treatments, new soil, shrubs and plantings.

Persevere, fellow gardeners. You can do it!

    Bookmark   September 11, 2007 at 11:51PM
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Rotfl!!!! I love reading the posts on yucca removal too!!!
Just a follow-up suggestion for the blessed day when the monster is (hopefully, definitely) overcome: why not plant this lovely perennial, which DOES NOT bite, DOES NOT cut, DOES NOT pierce whatever comes within leaf's reach, and, better than all, is extremely EASY TO REMOVE:

Its name? Oh, sorry, I nearly forgot : Eryngium yuccifolium, naturally! ;o)))

    Bookmark   September 12, 2007 at 3:40AM
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ok...i'm the OP....i hate to say won...i've been defeated....i moved and did not leave a forwarding address! GOOD LUCK TO ALL!!!

    Bookmark   September 12, 2007 at 6:02PM
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diegartenfrau(z8 Eugene/OR)

Oh No,

I just went online to see how I can get rid of all the small volunteers. I had one planted in a rock wall the previous owner build. I dug the mother plant out, I thought I got everything but now there are little ones keep coming up between the rocks and the plants I planted. How am I ever going to get them out between the wall, without dismantling the rock wall first.
I guess I will move the plants to another area and see if I can poison the little yuccas. The rock wall definitely is the wrong place to plant something that big and that invasive. Because it was too big for the place was the reason in the first place I dug it out. Maybe it would have been better to leave it in?


    Bookmark   September 12, 2007 at 8:01PM
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I came here in desperation, & you all have withered my heart!!! I had 3 yucca *I* foolishly planted myself, 20 years ago, thinking they would complement the Spanish style facade on my house. Did they ever. Of course, as years went by they attained the size of small mountains, adorned with crowns of spikes that impaled the unwary passerby. Did I mention I planted them either side of the walk up to the front door? So this year I decided to remove them & replace them with something that would not look dead 90% of the year. So the first job was to cut them down. After 3 days of hacking, Dh was reduced to using a sawzall. Literally 27 minutes later, they had resprouted. This time, DH used the propane BLOWTORCH that godforsaken children(gc) had purchased for him one year. All this accomplished was setting uprooted strands of weedweb, and a nearby boxwood, on fire. And 10 minutes later, there were new sprouts in the middle of the stinking blackened mess. This time I poured 10X concentrated Roundup FULL STRENGTH on the sprouts. After 3 weeks they withered to the ground. Since I have a fake hip, I requested DH dig out the root, to make way for prunable Korean lilacs. DH and gc's decided to do this while I was at work one Saturday. When I returned home, the lilacs were nicely in place, but family informed me that they were placed, along with peatmoss, in a hollowed out root the size of our garden table. And 12 minutes later, not only were the lilacs SURROUNDED by a forest of sprouts, there were sprouts coming up in the middle of the lilac roots, and in my foundation plantings and in my LAWN, to a distance of a good 6 feet from the original. I have painted the sprouts with full strength 10X R-up, and they finally withered slightly. Our area here outside Chicago has had scorching heat, torrential rain, & several tornadoes. Despite all this--or perhaps as a result of it--when I went to pull up the fading sprouts, I found EACH now has a root the size of an electrical cable. Realizing now, that tormenting the root only results in a hundredfold return of sprouts, I am anticipating they will return well into the street, perhaps uprooting the tarmac. Which prompted my visit here. You should have named the subject of posting..ABANDON ALL HOPE, YE WHO ENTER HERE!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2008 at 7:51PM
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ladychroe(z6 NJ)

That was most entertaining, Sabrtoof!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 12:54PM
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I got two a few months ago and after reading this I think I am going to dig them out before they get real big. I had no idea. I wonder why they are so pricey???? At least here they are.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 4:20PM
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you'll never believe this...odd how the old world works.....i'm yet again...the OP....i moved (I THOUGHT) to a yucca free yard july '07. i this spring dug to plant some roses......I'VE WAKENED THE SLEEPING GIANT!!!!! no kidding....seen a little growth and thought what the heck? can't be......i've been watching the crazy things thinking what in the heck....let them get to the point that i figured out exactly what it was...talked to the neighbor today...they said, yeah, there's been a yucca there for years. the previous owner cut it out!!!!! are you freakin kidding me!???? got me to thinking...came on to gardenweb out of curisosity...and, lo and behold, the sleeping giant was awake...there was a new post after all this time!!!! what a freakin coincidence!!!!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 8:46PM
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First of all creamgogo I believe it! I'm working on getting rid of some right now, I've been noticing them growing all over town. Now a question. How would a yucca root respond to electricity?

    Bookmark   August 17, 2008 at 12:51PM
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Some of these posts are hilarious! I have obviously had the same problem and am thankful for the "support group"!!! I will try the stump killers, bleach, etc (already tried round up to no avail) but am a bit worried as some is growing near some sea grass I just planted. Will that stuff seep into the roots of that and kill it, too???

    Bookmark   August 18, 2008 at 7:33AM
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cynandjon(Z 5/6)

OH MY I better move mine. I planted it last year. I didnt realize the roots went that deep. Mine is planted on a stone terrace on the berm of our septic mound. I dont want it spreading onto the sand mound.
Creamgogo Thanks for posting this thread. And thanks to everyone for all the info.

Ill move mine to another spot. Is there a way to box them in so they cant spread or do they also spread with seeds?

    Bookmark   August 18, 2008 at 10:59AM
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Creamgogo... sorry to hear that the monster has followed you to your new home. I just bought my first home and had the darndest time trying to figure out what these ugly plants in my backyard were... They really should have a yucca plant contingency in the contract. Sounds like I may be stuck with these ugly plants- but I'm holding out hope that I can at least keep them from taking over. Sad part is that the previous homeowner was a florist- and planted these creatures deliberately. I'm thinking she should consider a career change. I saw one post that talked about successful pruning. I suspect since I've bought my home in August- to late to keep seeds from dropping. Anything I can do to minimize 'Godzilla' with fall approaching?

    Bookmark   August 31, 2008 at 10:11AM
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Several months ago I bought 3 trays of small Yuccas and had them planted in a W pattern in the flower beds and around young planted trees to keep our 90 lb puppy out and kill his gardening desire.....Until I saw him running around with a yucca in his mouth.
Anyway after my hydrangea trees, dwindle in the Texas heat , I planted yuccas along the driveway..perhaps it will have been better to plant agave and make tequila.
I still like them after reading your posts

    Bookmark   September 3, 2008 at 4:20PM
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kentstar(5b, NE Ohio)

I have the same problem! We moved here last summer. There was ONE big yucca plant near our big hedge. I thought well I'm going to dig it out so I can plant some hosta's there. Not knowing what I was doing, I excitedly dug my shovel in and flung it out of there. I thought well thats that. Now I can see what beautiful hosta's I can put there.
In about 2 weeks time there were 4 little sprouts coming up in the same place. I thought "can't be, just can't be..."
Well, as they grew a little larger (now about a foot high already) I realized I had awakened the sleeping giant! Now there were 4 Yuccy Plants in it's place! As if to say "there, that'll show you!"
I have decided the better part of valor is to leave the four alone, and hope that way NO MORE will come up, and just leave the area alone, live with it.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2008 at 3:35PM
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Is there something wrong with the Yucca? I thought they are beautiful! Or is it because it's a personal preference?

I really like it but I still don't have one. I will buy next year.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2008 at 10:26PM
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hostaholic2 z 4, MN

Ha! Bad Idea!

    Bookmark   September 7, 2008 at 8:07PM
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kentstar(5b, NE Ohio)

It's just that once you plant one, you can't ever get rid of it if you want to change the design there. They are pretty if you don't mind them always being there.
I decided to plant a daylilly (one rosy red returns that I had left over), an echinacea big sky sunrise (if it sucks no big deal), and two heuchera dale's strain in front of the yuccas. I just felt it better to live with them, and beautify the area, than to try to get rid of them.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2008 at 7:20PM
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The reason digging doesn't work is because of their incredibly deep roots.

The reason poisoning doesn't work, is because of hydrostatic pressure. The flow of fluid in the root is upward. Poisons will difuse downward some, but not all the way nor throughout the root structure. It's like trying to put a cork on a cartesian water spring. Can't happen.

So, after having read all your woes, I like the idea of electicity, but don't know how to create enough current and voltage safely enough to zap the thing. It would probably take some experience with tesla coils, only the AC current will disipate across the ground too easily. Lightning spreads onces it hits ground.

I'm thinking maybe lots of dry ice to freeze the root structure through. I'd use liquid nitrogen, but that could get costly, and I think it will have to sit a long time for the cold to reach all the way down via the roots natural concentration of moisture.

Perhaps drill hole, fill with poison, and then the big freeze. Perhaps the plant will react to cold and draw its fluids down to preserve itself, pulling the poison with it?

And, this no joke. These plants are really like cockroaches, prehistoric survivors. But, do any live in Alaska? I hope not.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2009 at 7:36PM
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OK, I have only one failed method to add to this wonderful dialogue. When I built a deck several years ago to the back of my house, I removed a 50 year old yucca growing in an inconvenient spot. Not only were the roots deep (over 4 feet) and big (larger in diameter than a man's thigh), they were incredibly TOUGH. I decided to rent a jackhammer. Used the jackhammer for a full day, I kid you not, to get out everything I could. Went 4 feet deep, and more. Thought I had gotten everything. For over a year nothing came back up.

Then I got the bright idea of moving overseas for a few years (for work). I forgot to mention the Yucca Wars to the friends who rented my beloved house from me. So nobody was watching for shoots. And now, lo and behold, four years later I move back to my home and THE YUCCA PLANT IS BACK AS BIG AS IT EVER WAS! Aaaargh!

I am at my wit's end. I can't dig out roots as I could before cause now the deck is over some portion of where the roots must be. Can't use a jackhammer without disassembling both the deck and taking down the small retaining wall (between this wall and the deck is where the Yucca is located)in the process. So here we go again, but with less freedom of movement.

I will dig again. I will try the bleach on the shoots. I will even go against my eco-convictions and try shrub killer. Really, I don't hate Yucca. I have a couple other Yuccas in another part of my yard that I like just fine. They live on the other side of a small stairway in the retaining wall. They can live there peaceably, for all I care. I just want their cousins to move out from under the deck. PLEEEEEEAAAAAASSSSEEE!

So here we go again. Please pray for me, comrades! I need all the help I can get.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 12:09PM
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Okay, I have read this post for fun before. (I have never planted yucca, but I have gone over to the evil side by willingly planting sumac! - dry hill, needed dirt retention) I can help but wonder if you could kill it by poisoning the water it drinks? Instead of jack hammering 4 feet, how about drilling several verrry deep holes and put some sort of plant killer down there? Repeating once a week or so. I can't remember anyone saying they tried that trick yet.

Worth a try...

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 1:05PM
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kentstar(5b, NE Ohio)

RE: how to get rid of yucca FOREVER?

Good Luck!!!!

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 6:34PM
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Anyone ever tried borax & water in a syringe?

    Bookmark   June 26, 2009 at 1:32PM
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OK, I inherited my parents house including a yucca. My Father hated that plant and spent at least 30 years trying to kill it. After he died, I took up the mantle. Dug 4 feet down, sawed off roots, and then sprinkled some of my Fathers ashes in the hole in hopes that his spirit would kill the yucca from the great beyond. The evil plant was back in a year!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2010 at 5:49PM
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Some good news to report - the yucca that I excavated from a front border spot and kept after for a couple of years to eliminate remnant parts, seems to have given up the ghost. I haven't sighted any sprouts for the last two years.

I still keep a wary eye out when walking past that area to make sure something doesn't reach out and grab my arm, but the worst danger appears to be past.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2010 at 3:17PM
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Put an ad on freecycle or craigslist:

"Free yucca; dig your own."

& stay there while they're doing it;
people will stomp on stuff or take half your landscaping if you don't watch them!

    Bookmark   March 15, 2010 at 3:02PM
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Seven years ago I moved into our home that had a bed full of Yucca the width of the house under the living and dining room windows. I started digging and quit just before I hit China!! I took out 10-12 huge plastic planters full of roots - many of them not much smaller than a football. Luckily I knew someone with a large piece of property that wanted them to go outside the chain link fence - said they would act as a deterrant to anyone trying to climb the fence. Now, seven years later, I constantly dig out little Yuccas that come up through my sedums and through a crack in the sidewalk. For all I know, it caused the crack in the sidewalk....Plan to try Round-up or stump killer using a bulb baster. Hope that works.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 12:43PM
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thisismelissa(z4a-S Twin Cities MN)

Now I'm scared. Last year, I planted 2 variegated yucca in my front landscape and I'm planning on re-doing the entire area this year.

I think I'm going to go out RIGHT NOW, while it's still in the 40's (though the ground is no longer frozen) and dig the thing out before it can start sending out more roots.

Boy am I glad I found this thread!

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 2:21PM
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thisismelissa(z4a-S Twin Cities MN)

I just went out with my long spade.
And the things popped right up! No sound of a tap root breaking or any roots breaking for that matter.

They came out still looking like the 1 gallon container they came in last year.

Maybe my preemptive strike will save me from the fate y'all have suffered! I suppose only time will tell.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 2:29PM
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Yucca is like Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction, or like the Clintons. They just won't go away.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 3:06PM
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newbiehavinfun(7a - Southern NJ)

We dug a hole 3 x 5 x 3 foot deep and removed (what we thought were) all the roots. Still it pops up, after I planted perennials in its place. I go in and rip them out on a weekly basis, and I spray with RoundUp when there's no other foliage around. This has contained, but not killed it. I read of a person who snipped the leaves and put them in a cup of 100% concentration RoundUp for days, with plastic covering the cup so no rain dilutes the RU. This actually killed the roots. I will be doing this with my remaining 4 yuccas. And I'm going to hunt down the woman who sold me the house with yucca in the yard. It really is the bane of my existence.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2010 at 12:57PM
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terrene(5b MA)

ThisisMelissa, the variegated cultivar of this plant might be much better behaved than the species. Often plants with variegated foliage are significantly less vigorous.

You could always grow them in a pot, I bet they're interesting to look at!

    Bookmark   May 12, 2010 at 6:54PM
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Here's a way to at least cut them down to size: allow herds of starving deer to eat everything on your property. When they have finished all the rest, they will chew down yucca (to floss their teeth??). And you thought yucca couldn't get any uglier....

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 4:38PM
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I live in the High Desert of Southern California and I've had a yucca living in a barrel for over four years and it isn't doing much. I was going to transplant it to a ground location but now I'm wondering if that's a good idea.

I had some well-established ivy covering one side of my house but a lot of snails were eating it. I figured, "What the hey?" and decided to get rid of them with Cayenne pepper. Didn't do anything to the snails but wiped out that ivy, roots and all, in under two weeks. Now the house needs painted.

Anyway. Maybe you can buy Cayenne pepper in 55-gallon drums and can kill off those yuccas.

If that doesn't work I can send along a boatload of snails for you to try as they're still here. I'm told they're just as edible as their French relatives, too.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2010 at 3:38AM
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I have really enjoyed these posts, I don't personally have a yucca but was researching for a friend and come across this wealth of bad news. I especially enjoyed the deer flossing their teeth and the repeated references to molten magma.

That said, I may have something to try. I learned of this when I needed to kill some aphids. Instead, I killed every OTHER living thing in sight. Mix cooking oil, dish soap, and water. Shake. Spray on offending items. Then expose to extreme heat - this works especially well in the dead of summer. It essentially fries whatever you spray it on. Not sure if it will work on the dreaded yucca, but I can assure it made short work of +-$500 of various plants and flowers.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 8:44PM
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I just found this site as my wife and I have recently started our personal quest to remove a yucca. A soon to be former friend gave her three plants which she planted. We notice there are nine plants now. Two years have gone by. My wifes plan was to transplant some to other parts of the yard. Note I said was. The groundskeeper of a neighboring golf course recommended a commercial grade herbacide. Unfortunately we will need to evacuate the neighborhood for it to be used. Ground water within a mile will be poisoned and all fowl and small animals in the area will perish. He thinks this will kill a yucca. It killed a 30 year old Willow tree in a week. I'll report later when we can return to our house. By the way, we are in Wisconsin, so keep your distance.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2011 at 5:43PM
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OMG... Need I explain what brought me to this thread?

LOL I have not laughed so hard in AGES! Some of the stories and ideas I have read here are just PRICELESS...

Let me start by saying that we bought our home almost 7 years ago. My Mom and I each had a couple of yucca in NY and they were nice ornamental plants, but the ones we have here HAD TO GO... Wait... Did I say 'had'? Yea, well, the war continues, but anyway I digress.

See, though I didn't have a problem with the two yucca I had on the side of my house in NY, it was just an unused path and the yucca looked lovely from my deck when I looked up toward the front of the house. Here though, I had some concerns...

See, I have nearly 100 or so feet of yucca. Now this wouldn't be so bad being that our home sits on almost 8 acres, except are you ready for this fellow sufferers?

Wait for it...

Wait for it...

It surrounds our POOL! Good grief! And just for good measure there were a couple of holly trees too for goodness sake!


Then, it gets better. Yes, I'm not kidding. Not only do we have a 18 x 36 pool *(where we are normally scantily clothed...) with only 2 1/2 feet or so of patio around three sides, surrounded by yucca on all four, with a couple of evil leaved holly, but then right in the middle on one side is a bush of some sort that actually attracts more bees than the Rose Parade!

WHAT, I ask you, WHAT were these people thinking???????????

On another note, I dug one portion of this area up which was approximately 4 feet by 6 feet last year before the triple digit heat set in. I thought, well, if I can get ALL of the roots out I will finally have to have won... It took three days and I never did anything with it figuring I would plant my victory garden this year!

Cleaning out my beds today I saw a small one. Not more than a foot or so tall, nine inches or so wide, but yes, it was in the spot I pulled out EVERY root 3 feet down, having made myself bruised, bloody, sore, and definitely tired... And the freakin' thing is BACK...

God help me, I thought, naively I guess, that maybe just maybe the internet would have a solution. Now I would just say to heck with it except that my 3 children and their friends tend to not play with razor blades and I can't say that I enjoy insisting on such a dangerous past-time...

I must say though, it has been a tremendous help to my attitude, a balm to my soul if you will read this thread. Hey wait... balm... bomb??? Do you think maybe a bomb would do it?

Nah, it would just spread the roots EVERYWHERE and then we would REALLY have trouble!

BTW... Mom suggested cutting the green off every time any is spotted and keep at it. The thought is that without the photosynthesis they will eventually have to die... I'll try it, but at this point I'm not holding my breath!

My husband suggests that I leave this URL to my great-grandchildren for future reference!

Creamgogo, thank you so much for starting this!

PS. Is it just me or has anyone else noticed the lack of suggestions from professionals?

    Bookmark   April 29, 2011 at 10:47PM
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Cher(6 SW OH)

I did eliminate two huge ones in my front yard probably 5 years back. They had been there about 15 years. I had work being done here and had them doing that also. Ended up as they dug the major bulb part out then they kept digging out further from that area to get more and more pieces. They managed to get every single piece. Now I will say that from the edge of the original part they pulled out, they dug out probably close to 2 foot away in all directions to get it all. One guy worked several hours digging them out and sifting through the dirt to make sure no pieces were in there.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2011 at 7:33AM
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My yucca elimination project began about a year ago. Because of the sharp ends, I decided to try fire. I poured some lamp oil in the dead leaves around the base of the plants and tossed in a match. The whirlwind of fire that ensued was spectacular and I was left with charred stalks bereft of the barbed leaves. THEN I started digging and removing the tubers, and digging and removing the tubers...bushel of them after bushel.

About a week ago, I dug out the area, covered it with old roofing shingles followed by a layer of soil, followed by a layer of flat cement blocks, followed by a layer of soil, followed by a layer of stone. I surrounded the layer of stone with a short wall of stone and filled in with potting soil and planted a bed of petunias. I will now begin the wait to see what happens next.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2011 at 11:20PM
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    Bookmark   May 4, 2011 at 7:48AM
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I applaud Charles Riner's efforts, though they seem a bit like "destroying the village in order to save it".

"About a week ago, I dug out the area, covered it with old roofing shingles followed by a layer of soil, followed by a layer of flat cement blocks, followed by a layer of soil, followed by a layer of stone. I surrounded the layer of stone with a short wall of stone and filled in with potting soil and planted a bed of petunias. I will now begin the wait to see what happens next."

Good start. Suggest more stone.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2011 at 9:30PM
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We moved here a little more than a year ago. and I do not know who in the world decided to plant these stupid plants but I had two in the front and 4 in the back. It wouldn't bother me so much if there were only 1 plant in a spot not 8! So today i decided to try to beat these things. I burned the crap out of them and I dug part of the middle out and let it brun! there is nothing more than just a burn spot so I'm hoping to have gotten rid of them if not, by brother in law will be coming over with the backhoe!

    Bookmark   May 22, 2011 at 3:15PM
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Put the word out that if you smoke it, it's as good as LSD ever was.....Put out a sign in front of your house and leave the gate open with the light on!!!

    Bookmark   July 1, 2012 at 5:46PM
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I have stopped trying to grow them. They drown in winter very easily.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2012 at 6:14PM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

So let me get this straight...

Yucca is worse than creeping charlie? Is that what everyone is hinting at?


(I tried it years ago. It died for me.)

    Bookmark   July 1, 2012 at 6:59PM
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A mound of Rock Salt worked for me. Discovered by accident when I had some Rock Salt left over from the winter. Works on "Woody" weeds as well.
I did not file an Environmental Impact study on this, so you are on your own.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 11:33AM
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I have tried poison ivy and stump killer undiluted straight on roots and on leaves. The yucca says "hello" again right away. Has anyone tried boiling water?

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 10:45AM
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I think cold water will do. Try to flood it. No plant can live without oxygen for too long. They also rot easily in winter in constant moisture.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 11:05AM
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a2zmom(6a - nj)

This is undoubtedly one of the funniest threads I have ever read on this site! Thanks for the laughs and man, I am so glad that I never plant anything without first reading what others have to say about a plant!

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 11:45PM
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I can see that this is a pretty old thread but for me this is a VERY old problem. Yucca = Devil plant! There were several well established yuccaâs in the front flowerbed of my house when I moved in. (22years ago). At first I thought they were nice, because we were newly married and didnât have money for landscaping.
Over the years, I decided I was sick of batting away the huge flowers as we were coming and going from the front door. They were planted right up against the porch. Iâll just dig them out. Right?
I gave half an effort to trying to dig them out here and there. Theyâd thin, replenish, re-establish and come on in an even heavier assault. (I did not take my foe seriously enough!) We then decided to spray them with Round-up. They laughed.
Two summers ago, I became determined. They⦠were getting their eviction notice! I called my sister, who has a degree in horticulture and asked âWhat? Do I do?â She said that because they come up from the roots ��" anywhere you âknickâ the root could be a potential new plant. That explains why I tried to kill 3 plants and ended up with 12. Her suggestion was to starve the whole flowerbed for water, and routinely spray the plant with full strength roundup. So I set a reminder in my phone for every other Saturday and sprayed those buggers all spring/summer of 2011.
Spring of 2012 was the wettest we have had here in northern Utah. Flooding EVERYWHERE. The yuccas, got PLENTY of water. Guess what came up? Yep⦠nice big healthy looking shoots right through all the dead carcasses of what Iâd spend the entire summer spraying the year before.
Undaunted ��" I determined to give up my flower garden for yet another year. I re-set the phone reminders and began anew. By fall, they looked dead as doornails. Iâd finally won!!! We knocked the dead plants off the top of the soil but determined to spray it one last time and wait till spring to disturb the ground.
Itâs April of 2013. Betâcha canât guess whatâs coming up in my flowerbed.
Iâve put new doors/windows on my house this last year. New Rock where the nasty old wood siding used to be, New rose garden with beautiful mulch on the west side of my door. On the east sits a barren dead wasteland of what used to be a flowerbed under my bay window. With three happy green and vibrant little yucca plants ��" sending up their shoots. UGH!!!!
I emailed my sister with my frustration. She found this: (Look down at the bottom for the Herbicide and Oil Recipe) Iâm going to spray those little buggers with this stuff, then Iâm going to cover them with weed barrier, and about 5 inches of heavy mulch. Then ��" Iâm going to sit some VERY heavy ceramic pots with flowers over the spots where they come up. If that doesnât work ��" next yearâ¦. IâM POURING CEMENT!

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 6:50PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Nothing I've poured boiling water on continued to live, although luckily I haven't had the pleasure of battling yucky yucca.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2013 at 2:18PM
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auron22(6b OH)

I'm a little distraught now, I found yucca near my property last year and transplanted in the yard. I was excited to have some yucca but after hearing how horrible the roots are i'm not so sure I want them....Are all yucca like this? I was looking at getting false red yucca, the one native to texas with red blooms lasting a couple months. Heard birds LOVE them.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2013 at 2:46PM
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OMG!! My husband and I were just talking about getting rid of our devil yuccas. You know what's really the kicker, is that they were given to us by . . . My MOTHER-IN-LAW! Ours too, like some others, is planted over our septic system. God help us all.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 2:58PM
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I moved into a house afflicted with yucca 12 years ago. I imagine it's been here since the house was built in 51. Or possibly a remnant from prehistory; munched on by mammoths, biting at the shins of native peoples long gone.
I thought about removing it. It's not very pretty anymore (if it ever was), it's growing like it was exposed to gamma rays, and I can think of much more sweet-natured plants to have in that bed. Reading this thread has given me pause. I don't like herbicides because my dog makes salads out of yard plants. Digging them out of Missouri clay would probably kill me. And I don't have the security clearance to obtain a sufficient amount of plutonium.
Has anyone had any luck with the boiling water?
I guess for now my best option is to try to tame it, or poke out my right eye so I don't see it when I go in the yard.
So, if anyone has any good advice about keeping it tidy at least? I'd hate to lose my depth perception.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 4:51PM
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In 2007 I reduced the area of one of my gardens, dug up the yucca and planted grass. Since then I have been mowing the grass regularly and am happy to say the yucca is almost all gone. This summer, three weeks ago, I saw one little plant attempt to grow when I had neglected to mow one week because of the weather. It has not shown up since.

In this one yucca clump may be losing.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 3:05PM
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OMG - I have just spent days digging up huge amounts of my garden, getting rid of woodchip and soil to try and eradicate an epidemic of stinkhorn fungus in my garden. These are truly yucky!!

In one area that we cleared there are about 8 yuccas growing along the fenceline.

We moved here nearly two years ago and as I'm not that fussed on them, thought I would see how to get rid of them - "after all how hard can it be" were my thoughts.

After reading this, I find myself on a downward spiral - almost tempted to concrete my entire property - but by the sounds of it the yuccas would start growing up between the cracks, promptly followed by stinkhorns no doubt!

    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 2:15AM
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Greetings, intrepid yucca fighters!

This venerable thread resembles the mighty yucca in never quite dying and constantly resurrecting itself, so I thought I'd give my specific yucca situation a shot.

My neighbor has a giant (15 ft tall, maybe 6 ft-diameter area of trunks) multi-trunked yucca. Birds love it and we don't mind it--except that is gradually pushing over our fence.

It sounds like if we convince them or their landlord to cut the thing down, it'll just make it worse. Digging out would most likely be impossible in the clay soil. Even if we wanted to try, I doubt they would make their yard accessible to us for the many days it would take to dig it all out and sift through for roots. We wouldn't be able to access their yard to follow up and try to manage sprouts, and we would be shocked if they were interested in doing so. (In fact, they're not too interested in the whole breaking-down-the-fence situation. We're still trying to convince them that the plant is in fact what's causing it.)

This background brings me at last to my question:

Does anyone have experience managing the trunks of an existing plant? Can we cut down just the one trunk that is interfering with our fence without stimulating new shoots? So far there aren't any on our side, and we'd like to keep it that way. How much trunk do you have to leave in order for the roots NOT to go crazy?

What if we sanded it down vertically, just enough to put it back behind the fenceline? Would it notice, do you think? If at all possible, I'd love to repair the fence just this once, and not go through this every couple of years.

One last question: Is there a limit to how many trunks this thing will generate? Or are we guaranteed to have it come up on our side sooner or later? (Does grass suppress it? We have thick, watered/maintained fescue on our side. They have bare ground, and some straggly bermuda that DOES come over...But that's another tragic story!)

Your ideas are MOST welcome! Thanks!

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 1:32AM
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Most of the posters here have been temperate zone gardeners dealing with the infamous Y. glauca, which behaves reasonably well until you try to eradicate it.

How an unknown California plant might react is another story.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 9:37AM
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Thanks for your quick response, eric_oh.

It looks to be Y. elephantipes, so it's possible it's nowhere near full size yet. Yikes!!

A landscaper has recommended chain-sawing it vertically so that it is back away from from the property line, then watching for suckers.

Maybe we'll have to creatively redesign the fence to embrace it into our landscape.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 1:22PM
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farmerkevin(USDA 9)

Hello all. This is my first post, so please be forgiving if I mess up or break rules :)

I had a yard full of yuccas. HAD. They were the elaphantipes(?)

Reason I'm posting, is because I just recently pulled the LAST one out. I got this house on 1/11/11. And it's taken me 3 years to remove them all.

Here's how I did it (courtesy of advice from a yucca tree specialist of Southern California which is a dear friend of mine)

Trim them up, but leave trunks about 5-6 feet tall attached to the stump. These will be used later.

Soak. At LEAST over night. Longer the better. But after soaking, dig around the base of the yucca. An axe is your best friend. The roots are like wires. Make sure your axe is SHARP and you have a good pointed shovel.

You don't need to go out for feet, but a good 1' from the base is sufficient. Be extra careful to NOT nick the base. Make sure you chop ONLY roots. Be extra careful to NOT leave any white flesh on the roots. If you do (even the tiniest amount) they WILL grow back.

Now, you have the tree trimmed, and the roots dug out the best you can. Here's the critical part:

Find where the stalks grow over each other. Hook a come along to the top of one trunk, cutting a notch for the cable to sit in and not slip.

Pull/tighten the come along to a small tension. Now where the trunks meet, you can split there by your preferred method. Axe, chainsaw, wedges, whatever. I started with axes. I chopped at the seams. But after 20 or so yuccas, it became tiresome. Better methods were wedges and sledge hammers.

It is imperative that they be pulled from the hole as WHOLE as possible.

I uploaded a pic of a part of my yard as a before pic. I will make another post with after pics

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 12:13AM
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farmerkevin(USDA 9)

And here's an after pic. You can still see a small yucca stump and debris. Stump was loose, just no room in trash bin lol. Since then, I have put avocado trees there, to get acclimated before I plant them in may. It had been my garden area, but I'm fighting gophers. I think I'd rather remove 1000 more yuccas than deal with gophers.
Some yuccas have been out for 3 years and NO sprouts and no regrowth.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 12:32AM
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farmerkevin(USDA 9)

Pulled this one to plant a peach tree :)

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 12:34AM
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farmerkevin(USDA 9)

Come along on the yucca. One on the yucca being removed for the peach tree, and one on the one behind it (last one to be removed 1/13/14)

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 12:37AM
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farmerkevin(USDA 9)

This is the one being removed for the peach tree. Trimmed down for easier handling. You can see where each one meets, and where they get split.

Sorry my first few posts have been pic heavy. Yuccas were the bane of my existence. I was disappointed that the majority of my land was unusable because it was mostly yuccas. There were a few DOZEN on my little 1/3 acre. I wanted to grow food. And I did. Took me 3 years to remove them all and I've been planting food ever since. I only have a few original non food plants (crepe myrtle, bougainvillea, chrysanthemum, geranium, and birds of paradise) which are all slowly getting pulled and replaced :)

Oh and this seems to be the ONLY method for complete removal. I tried boiling water, bleach, vinegar, etc. I try real hard to be organic, and the amount of bleach required would probably have been harmful to everything else I plant in that spot.

OH, almost forgot, my landscape friend mentioned making a slurry out of table salt, drilling a hole in the tree, and pouring it in. I didn't try it, because as said, I was trying the most Eco friendly methods, since I will be growing food in all the spots where yuccas were :)

Hope this helps :)

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 12:51AM
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farmerkevin(USDA 9)

Going down memory lane here lol. Found another before pic from the back side. You can see the yuccas along the left and across the top.

So so many yuccas

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 1:01AM
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Carolinaflowerlover NC Zone 7b

So, I thought we succeeded in getting rid of my parents' yucca/century plant. We used concentrated Round Up (did not help much, but some) and a friend dug it out really good nearly two years ago. It did not come back. We had a REALLY cold winter, too.

I found a section of it growing today. =:0

At least it pulled out very easily...almost too easily, and it was somewhat small (maybe 6-9 inches high). It definitely had a tuber attached. ARGH.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 6:39PM
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elysianfields(9b CA)

Boiling water to open the pores then a gallon of vinegar. Concentrated brush killer meant to be diluted in water, not diluted. Though I know many choose not use herbicides. But this sounds like war. I've not seen a thread this long. Ever.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 2:35AM
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As a follow-up to my post from Apr 15, 13...

The Herbicide "Remedy" seems to have WORKED!!! We mixed it with diesel fuel and administered it the way this website directed:

Seriously - my yucca just laughed at roundup.

The "Remedy" wasn't cheep. I got it from Amazon and it was $100.00 a gallon but... IT WORKED! And you use a fairly small amount. That's a good thing because I'm ready - should any little new shoots show their ugly heads.

The main thing I found was - DO NOT DISTURB THE ROOTS OF THIS PLANT TILL YOU *KNOW* IT IS DEAD!!! Anywhere you nick the root - a new plant will shoot up. Now instead of 8 plants to get rid of - you could have 38.

I hope this helps someone trying to get rid of this thing. Here in Utah I see new plantings of it going in all over. I appreciate the efforts being made to conserve water but man, people just don't know what they're doing with these beasts.

Yucca's are the Parrots of the plant world. One investment WILL require a lifetime commitment. Haha

Good luck! I am sincerely hoping that this is the end of our five-year effort to kill the blasted Yucca!

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 8:47AM
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