The Q&A Archives: Joshua Tree

Question: I am looking for a certain tree. It grows to about 6-10 feet. It appears to be mostly trunk. It look like it should be in a scary movie! The foliage appears to sprout right out of the trunk. It has a snarly look. I see them in my area though they are not plentiful. Also, they seem to be pruned to the top on the trunk each year. Can you tell me what they are?

Answer: You have accurately described the growth habit of the Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia). It's native to the desert southwest. The tree grows slowly,15-30 feet high, with a heavy trunk and a few heavy branches at the top of the trunk. The trees have short, broad, sword-shaped leaves clustered near the ends of the branches. Old dead leaves hang on the tree. They're not generally pruned - that's just the way they grow!

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