Help, please - transplant of LARGE yucca

lindseylu(7 - New Mexico)April 27, 2007


I need to transplant a large yucca tree (over 6 feet tall) and wondered if anyone could offer advice. I have lots of manpower to help but I'm worried about the tap root -- how long should I expect it to be? I'm sorry that I don't know what kind of yucca it is, but I live in a "cookie-cutter" community and it's the ones that are frequently placed in the front yards of new homes.

I would greatly appreciate any help you can give -- I don't want this beautiful tree to die but it has to be removed from its present location. Thank you in advance!

Lindsey :)

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terran(zone10/Sunset20 CA)

Hi Lindsey,

The tree yucca of that size that we have does not have a taproot, but a root ball the size of a beach ball. I took out three of them because a Jacaranda that was nearby did not like them at all. The stumps were almost impossible to kill, so I do not think that moving one would be that much of a risk.

In fact, in one location where I was able to excavate an entire root ball, I turned the ball upside down on top of the ground and it is still trying to sprout new growth after three years. I snap off the new shoots and rotate the ball every once in awhile to prevent it from rooting in the hopes that it will give up.

I suspect that the hardest part of the transplant process will be actually trying to move it since its cells are full of water; an entire plant will be very heavy. If the trunk or a branch breaks off, let the wound heal over for a week or so, then dig a post hole deep enough to support its height, and plant.


    Bookmark   April 28, 2007 at 5:54AM
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adp_abq(7b NM)

If it's a soaptree yucca (yucca elata) that you have then it might prove difficult because it has a taproot. I don't believe yucca faxonia, yucca rostrata or yucca rigida have tap roots if that's what you have.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2007 at 8:44AM
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lindseylu(7 - New Mexico)

Thank you, Terran and adp_abq, for your advice. I've tried to ID the tree online but don't know if it's a yucca elata or another type. I will hope that it's the same kind that Terran has, for my sake! Both of your help is much appreciated -- thanks!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2007 at 10:44AM
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adp_abq(7b NM)

I know here in albuquerque the yucca that is planted most commonly by builders is yucca faxonia (palm yucca). That can be transplanted pretty easily. Post a pic to id it.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2007 at 9:31AM
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Most tree yuccas transplant easily, except, as has been already mentioned, the Yucca Elata, whose flower is the official State of NM flower. Even those will survive (but with some dieback), as long as you preserve most of the taproot. Then be sure to put it in fast draining soil, and water about every 10 days in the warm season and stop watering in October. Good luck. dl

    Bookmark   May 18, 2007 at 8:29PM
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Hi all, new to the list. I would be very interested in a link to any expert or to research done concerning transplanting Yucca elata. I remember reading Wheeler in his published USDA booklet of the studies done by him in the late 40's and 50's. In it he stated that none of his Y. elata survived transpalnting for his studies at his research facility. Possibly there has has been some research since then???? Any help would be apppreciated---Mayo

    Bookmark   September 20, 2007 at 4:10PM
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