Ask a Question forum: Are my yuccas dead?

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Name: Terri Hamilton
Rockford, Illinois (Zone 5b)
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holity
May 10, 2014 7:55 PM CST
I was actually surprised to find yuccas in my yard when we bought this house... didn't realize there would be varieties that could be hardy this far north. (northern Illinois--only about 30 miles south of Wisconsin)

However, this past winter seems to have done them in. Everything else is putting up shoots, but I'm not seeing anything from the yuccas.

Should I give them a little more time or do you think they're goners?
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Name: cheshirekat
New Mexico, USA Zone 8 (Zone 8a)
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ckatNM
May 11, 2014 12:15 AM CST
What kind of yuccas are they?

Yuccas are usually more tough and cold hardy than people normally think. I grew them in Colorado, zone 5. Not only did they get snowed on a lot, but because they were close to the sidewalk along the street, and the sidewalk from the street to the front door, I tended to shovel huge mounds of snow on top of them and they grew bigger every year. And they pretty much stayed buried under snow most of the winter. I got the idea to grow them in my yard when I saw them in bloom, out in the open at the Denver Zoo. They even had a marker for many of their plants, so I could look them up online.

I should try to get to the zoo here this summer. I don't remember the plants being as impressive as those as the Denver Zoo, but maybe I haven't been often enough. I may be one of the few people that enjoy all the plants at the zoo as much as seeing the animals. And I enjoyed them more than the Denver Botanical Gardens.

Do you have pictures of what they look like, so we know why you think they might be dead?
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Name: Anna Z.
Monroe, WI
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AnnaZ
May 11, 2014 12:29 AM CST
I wanted to get rid of mine and they were nigh onto impossible to kill.
Name: cheshirekat
New Mexico, USA Zone 8 (Zone 8a)
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ckatNM
May 11, 2014 12:46 AM CST
Yuccas will spread easily and if you want to get rid of it, you must make sure you get every piece of root when you dig it up. I was warned that even leaving a little piece of the root is enough for it to continue to grow.
"A garden is a friend you can visit any time." - Anonymous
Name: Terri Hamilton
Rockford, Illinois (Zone 5b)
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holity
May 11, 2014 5:47 AM CST
Ok, here's a photo:

Thumb of 2014-05-11/holity/691ed5

My blog, which occasionally talks about gardening: http://holity.blogspot.com/
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
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SongofJoy
May 11, 2014 6:11 AM CST
It sure looks dead. I lost a couple this past winter. They were in containers though.
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Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
May 11, 2014 7:03 AM CST
The plants will probably send up pups; I would trim back the dead/damaged foliage and wait a while.
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Name: Tara
NE, Florida (Zone 9a)
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terrafirma
May 11, 2014 7:05 AM CST
First thing I'd do is clean out all of the obviously dead fronds, and under all of that you very well may see some new green growth. I agree with AnnaZ...They are hard to kill! I might also add that if it's really a Yucca, (and the type would certainly come into play) then right along a fence line is probably not the best spot. *Blush* I think I'd pull it out a ways from the fence.
Name: Terri Hamilton
Rockford, Illinois (Zone 5b)
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holity
May 11, 2014 7:08 AM CST
Ok, will try that.

Someone asked what type they are; I have no idea.

The good news is, I thought one of my two hellebores got killed--but just this morning I discovered a new shoot coming up from it! So maybe there IS hope!
My blog, which occasionally talks about gardening: http://holity.blogspot.com/
Name: Terri Hamilton
Rockford, Illinois (Zone 5b)
Butterflies Organic Gardener Composter Cat Lover Garden Ideas: Level 1
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holity
May 11, 2014 7:12 AM CST
Haha terrafirma--the previous owners of this place were ambitious gardeners, but a little short-sighted in some areas. But I'm sure they put it all in before AllThingsPlants.com existed! So they didn't have all the great advice! Hilarious!
My blog, which occasionally talks about gardening: http://holity.blogspot.com/
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
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SongofJoy
May 11, 2014 8:23 AM CST
Hilarious! I had no trouble killing mine. I hope they send up some new pups for you. It was such a cold winter. Thumbs down
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: Anna Z.
Monroe, WI
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AnnaZ
May 11, 2014 8:53 AM CST
Holity, you only live about 50 miles from me! Green Grin!
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
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plantladylin
May 11, 2014 9:17 AM CST
I'd cut all the dead fronds off wait to see if you see new spurts of growth. Some Yucca's are quite hardy and will re-sprout once the ground warms.

Adam's Needle (Yucca filamentosa)

Here's a listing for the same plant but they show it as Y. smalliana which is a synonym for Y. filamentosa: http://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/weeds/plants/yucca.htm
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Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar
Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Cat Lover Avid Green Pages Reviewer Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds
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SongofJoy
May 11, 2014 9:22 AM CST
Yes, it depends very much on the variety.
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
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Leftwood
May 11, 2014 6:36 PM CST
It is likely that the dead crown will send up new pups, but it's also likely you won't see anything until early summer. Be patient.
Name: Terri Hamilton
Rockford, Illinois (Zone 5b)
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holity
May 11, 2014 8:36 PM CST
Thanks plantladylin for the links! and thanks Leftwood for the timeframe. :)
My blog, which occasionally talks about gardening: http://holity.blogspot.com/
Name: Wes
Ohio (Zone 6a)
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Wes
May 11, 2014 9:02 PM CST
I have two yuccas gifted to me that were big but young when planted and took 3 years to shoot a stalk (both). Some folks love 'em, others hate them. They reminded me of home so I was happy to take the offering.

At the old family house the Yuccas were planted at the base of a tree. I tried to dig some prior to the gift plants and it was impossible between their root systems and that of the tree. They resembled your pictured "dead" yucca briefly thereafter but returned. Also, in the course of 20-some years where the huge, impenetrable clump of healthy yuccas simply failed to send stalks and bloom.

If they're not in the way and potentially desirable to you I'd wait it out a while. Yuccas aren't an area of any expertise other than having cohabitated with them.
Name: J.c. S.
Kansas (Zone 6b)
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StaticAsh
May 11, 2014 11:19 PM CST
I'll just echo everyone else's sentiments here. Yeah, definitely give them more time; they'll quite possibly come back.
I had one that looked like your photo. I wasn't sure if it would come back, but just in the last week I've seen some new growth. Hurray!

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