Asked on Jul 29, 2020

Does anyone have a Joshua Tree Yucca?

Unique Creations By AnitaDeb KChas' Crazy Creations


My joshua tree has 4 branches and yesterday the crown topping the smallest one fell off. No strong wind, no intervention from us, just plopped on the ground. I had an arborist look at the tree a few weeks ago and he said that branch was dead and not to cut it - just to leave it alone. I am not sure what to do with the crown that fell off and should I worry about the branch? Thank you in advance!

11 answers
  • Oliva
    on Jul 29, 2020

    " of a long established Joshua tree" may help with your problem.

  • SilenceIsConsent
    on Jul 30, 2020

    Listen to the advise of the arborist.

  • Lifestyles Homes
    Lifestyles Homes
    on Jul 30, 2020

    Do they have cycles like 100-year yuccas? Why did the arborist say, don’t cut the dead part?

    I would buy the Sunset Guide To Western Gardening (my Copy is packed away, sorry) as it will have your answers.

  • Vimarhonor
    on Jul 30, 2020

    Hello—Additionally for the best local professional advice

    I would highly suggest contacting your cooperative extension. These offices are manned by volunteer master gardeners on site there waiting to answer the communities questions that know your local situation quite well.

    Master gardeners are required to volunteer back designated hours ( plus continuing education) each year to maintain MG certification -this community outreach and education is their goal.

    If your office is closed due to quarantine ....there Might be alternative online venues like Ask an Expert as well as emailing your local master gardeners extension office for their

    guidance.... in a non contact manner.

    • Vimarhonor
      on Jul 31, 2020

      Our physical MG help desk office hours remains closed by choice because most of the volunteers are elderly but they do address client questions on Facebook and email.

      It’s nice to have a locals opinion who’s familiar with the climate as well as plant material in that area and the insects and diseases present.

  • Annie
    on Jul 30, 2020
  • Agnes Chrzanowska
    Agnes Chrzanowska
    on Jul 31, 2020

    Wish I could help you

  • Robyn Garner
    Robyn Garner
    on Jul 31, 2020

    All the pro pictures online of Joshua trees show them pruned to remove the masses of dead fronds you've got. I agree to call - or email - your local Master Gardener or Cooperative Extension office.

    Look at these pictures

    "Remove any dead branches, canes or blades. To verify that a branch is dead, cut a small slice from the outer bark and look carefully at the wood beneath. Brown wood means deadwood; green wood indicates a living branch. Prune broken canes or blades several inches below the break."

    "If you have a yucca that has developed a trunk, and that is where the dead foliage is appearing, those dead leaves eventually will peel off the trunk and drop to the ground. You're right, they are pretty unsightly, so you can hurry the process along by cutting the blade as close to the trunk as possible with a sharp knife. Please prepare to protect yourself, first. You will need heavy long sleeves, long gloves, preferably leather, goggles to keep from getting a pointed tip in your eye, and a knife or pruner with as long a handle as possible. The yucca will defend itself, and it is well-equipped to do so. Even the dead foliage is still tough and fibrous, but it can be gotten off. Bag up the detached material in a heavy paper trash bag and clean up the surrounding area to prevent insects or diseases from harboring there. This is not material for the compost pile; the sharp edges and tips will persist for a long time."

    Alternatively, there are also sites that state NOT to prune them. I think it really depends on your location. If you live in the desert and the tree is receiving full sun everyday, some/all the canes may need to stay in order to insulate the trunk. THIS is another specific question for your local Master Gardener.

    If it were me, I'd lean towards trimming them off as long as the tree would not be endangered as I think it would look far better as your yard specimen. Good luck! 😎

  • Johnavallance82
    on Aug 1, 2020

    Hello there,

    Pull off all the brown leaves, (You can re-use these for weaving baskets etc. as is or striped down). Look at the remaining stalk, trim to a suitable length, then If you want to see if it is alive and will re-shoot, place it in water in a shady part of your garden for a few weeks to see if it will start to develop roots. If the plant is still green but has not developed roots, leave a few weeks more. When it does make a good set of roots, you can re-pot it up. If it does not make roots, throw it away! No need to worry about the rest of original plant, it should survive ok! Hope that's of some help to you.

  • Deb K
    Deb K
    on Aug 2, 2020

    Hello, hope this helps you out, I wish I lived in a place where tropical trees grow

  • Unique Creations By Anita
    Unique Creations By Anita
    on Aug 3, 2020

    The branch should be fine. You can cut into it to see if it is still alive. If you want to be sure, and the head just throw away.

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