Getting Rid Of Yucca Plants - How To Remove A Yucca Plant

Flowering Yucca Plants
(Image credit: kamira777)

While typically grown for ornamental reasons, many people find yucca plants to be welcome additions to the landscape. Others, however, consider them to be problems. In fact, due to their rapid growth and vast root system, yucca plants can quickly become a nuisance. Although these plants are difficult to eradicate once established, with persistence you can win the battle of removing yucca plants in the garden.

How Do I Get Rid of a Yucca Plant?

Unbeknownst to many people, getting rid of yucca plants is not a one-time deal. In fact, simply digging them up or cutting them down may not always be enough. Yucca plants have an extensive root system and will continue to grow long after the plant has been removed. 

For instance, where one yucca plant is dug up, numerous yucca sprouts may appear again and again. Therefore, ridding the garden of this determined grower involves more than just learning how to remove a yucca plant. You also need to learn patience and vigilance in order to successfully kill new sprouts.

How to Kill Yucca Plants

So how do you kill yucca sprouts once and for all? When you dig up yucca, try to get as much of the roots as possible. Every piece of root, regardless of how small, will inevitably produce a new plant. 

Therefore, you may need to periodically check the area for young sprouts and remove them either by digging them up or by dousing them with full strength herbicide. Look for one that is non-selective and targets the root systems. Since yucca foliage is tough and waxy, traditional weed killers and herbicides are usually deemed ineffective, as they rarely penetrate the plant. 

This is especially true for mature yuccas. Young sprouts, however, are much more susceptible. In addition to digging up yucca plants, some people find it easier to cut the plant down and soak it with herbicide beforehand. First, remove foliage and any side branches with a saw or pruning shears

Note: Remember to wear gloves and protective clothing to avoid the painful pricks from the needle-sharp leaves. Then, use an axe or saw to cut the main trunk down to about a foot (31 cm.) or so from the ground. Drill a series of 1 to 2 inch (2.5-5 cm.) holes around the base. 

Pour stump remover or herbicide into the holes. This will spread throughout the root system and eventually kill it—at which time the yucca plant can be dug up and removed from the area. While it may take several attempts to get rid of yucca plants, sooner or later the yucca roots will weaken and die. Patience and vigilance will eventually pay off.

Note: Chemical control should only be used as a last resort, as organic approaches are more environmentally friendly.

Nikki Tilley
Senior Editor

Nikki Tilley has been gardening for nearly three decades. The former Senior Editor and Archivist of Gardening Know How, Nikki has also authored six gardening books.