Using a Yucca in Landscaping
If you are looking to spruce up your landscape design with something a little unique and low maintenance, consider planting a yucca tree or two. Yuccas are great for southern climates, requiring little watering or maintenance, and being an evergreen plant they are beautiful all year round. If you are thinking about adding yucca to your landscape, here are a few things to note about this particular plant.
Pick Your Planting Location Carefully
Many breeds of yucca will grow very tall, and their roots grow large and deep. It's a good idea to avoid sidewalks, paths and driveways because their strong roots may damage pavement and other similar landscaping features. They have narrow, sharp leaves that hang down and would be unkind to passersby who need to walk under it.
These large and imposing plants are not fond of being nestled around smaller plants, so plan accordingly. A good placement would be on a steep corner, or in connection to a fancy rock bed.
Weather and Soil Conditions
These are ideal plants for warm, dry climates. Originating from Mexico, the yucca offers drought resistant landscaping that requires very little watering and can become over watered easily. As little as they like water, they also love the sun, and should be placed somewhere to obtain the maximum amount of hot sunlight all day long. Soil should be dry and sandy, much like the desert climate that they inspire in your landscape.
A new yucca may need light watering for the first year or two after planting. For this, set up a basic drip system for the plant, but remove it and leave it be after two years of growth. By this point, the roots will have grown strong and deep, allowing the yucca tree to absorb and store large amounts of water during drought periods.
They should almost never be fertilized unless specifically in the first year or two of growth and even then, fertilizer should be used sparingly. Excess salts from the fertilizer will only damage healthy roots.
You will rarely run into any pest problems, as most insects tend to leave the yucca alone. On rare occasions you may find scale or mealy bugs on your yucca, in which case you need to spray with an approved insecticide for the yucca such as neem. Before using a pesticide, be sure that it's pests causing your problem. For example, many yucca owners often mistake fungus growth for scale (scale should scratch off with your fingernail and leave behind a sticky substance). If what you actually have is a fungus, remove the infected leaf and any lower leaves in order to remove the source of the fungus.
Beyond these basic tips, yucca is a remarkably resilient southern plant that is very easy to care for. Just remember to give it a spot in the yard where it can really dominate and soak up the hot rays of sun all day.