The Yucca Wars

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A friend told me she’d learned how to remove her hated yuccas on YouTube and I shouldn’t be surprised because everything’s there, but how to remove a yucca?   Apparently yes, and how to eat them, too, I notice. 
But this one shows mountain bikers attacking yuccas with a vengeance, and it raises the question:  Whose side are you on – the yuccas’ or the bikers’? 

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Susan Harris

Susan’s a garden writer, teacher and activist in the Washington, D.C. area. Co-founder of GardenRant, she also wrote for national gardening magazines and independent garden centers before retiring in 2014. Now she has time for these projects:

  • Founding and now managing the pro-science educational nonprofit GOOD GARDENING VIDEOS that finds and promotes the best videos on YouTube for teaching people to garden.
  • Creating and managing DC GARDENS, the nonprofit campaign to promote the public gardens of the Washington, D.C. area, and gardening by locals.
  • Creating and editing the community website GREENBELT ONLINE to serve her adopted hometown of Greenbelt, Maryland (a “New Deal Utopia” founded in 1937).
  • Also in Greenbelt, MD, writing the e-newsletter and serving on the Board of Directors for the cooperatively-owned music and arts venue and restaurant called the NEW DEAL CAFE.

Contact Susan via email or by leaving a comment here.

Photo by Stephen Brown.

14 COMMENTS

  1. Although the first thing I did after closing on our house was to remove yucca, I don’t think I like what I saw. It is probably because they appear to be natural and not planted on purpose. I also know that if one small piece of that root is left in the ground, they will regrow in no time.

  2. I am on the fence about them in the garden, but this video disturbs me. I do have an “anti” bias, having nursed a bad poke from a Yucca very near my eye. Got that weeding in my Mother-in-law’s yard. She had a “hedge” of Yucca, in pots.

    This is just another example of existing things being stamped out for the convenience of people. No thought to transplanting, which is easy as the commenter about said. Just, gone – outta here!

    A Yucca in bloom serves nectar to a big group of hummingbirds, bees, etc. They don’t bloom often but when they do, it’s amazing.

    I’m going to go lovingly pull weeds now and forget about that video.

  3. I love yucca in bloom. They’re so dramatic! I wish I had the garden space to plant some, but I’m afraid they’d get big and be attacking me in no time. When I’m being particularly anti-social, though, a row of them between the sidewalk and the house sounds tempting.

  4. This film gives Mountain Bikers a bad name.
    Removing indigenous plants on a trail for self serving reasons is inappropriate and probably illegal in more progressive locations.

    The actions in this movie illustrate exactly why there has been so much contention between the local conservation groups and the local mountain bikers in my area of Northern California.

    You see a movie such as this and you can understand the disdain that the environmentalists have for the bikers .

    It’s one thing to remove a plant on your own property but its a completely different thing to remove native plants from a hillside for self serving reasons.

    Bad bikers bad.

  5. Part of being a reponsible mountain biker is volunteering some time to the group for trail maintenance. Listening to the chain saws in the background, that is obviously what these guys are doing. Mountain bike trails should be and mostly are on approved lands with permission. The text said get the Yucca within three feet of the trail. That may be their allowed limit.

    I would bet there is a certain amount of destruction of plenty of nice plants maintaining the Appalachian Trail.

  6. Yea, I’m sure they are just getting them off the trails. I’d rather have the mountain bikers than the 4-wheelers we get up here. And I have NO love for yuccas in the garden.

  7. I lost mine to the flooding. Its leaves were about six feet long, and all the neighbors called it the octopus, and I handed out the babies to the many who requested them. I joke that it finally transformed into an octopus and now lives in the bayou up the block. I just hope some of the little ones made it. Driving back into New Orleans today from a trip, and seeing a few in an area where only driveways remain, and a few trailers, it is encouraging to see plants survive, despite major storms, and people’s interference.

  8. I say let the yuccas be. Sure, mountain bikes and their riders are more desirable than ATV and motocross enthusiasts in the wilderness (and yes, I’d make an exception for the physically disabled using ATV’s), but I find myself wanting to get several pounds of Echinocactus texensis (aka “Horse Crippler Cactus”, “Tire Puncture Cactus”) and go reseed the trails now “freed” of yucca. Maybe a few pounds of jumping cholla (assorted Opuntia spp.) would be in order, as well. I live in the desert, and there just isn’t any excuse for removing desert plants in their environment.

  9. It initially bothered me to see the yucca removed from the trail but after thinking it through, I’m ok with it. If this is an APPROVED trail for hikers and mountain bikers, the trail should be safe for use. Yucca’s are prolific and will not be harmed if displaced in a few places to make room for a clear road.

    There has to be a balance in situations like this. Preserving natural vegetation is a priority, but encouraging people to “get up and personal” with nature is also important. Sometimes a few plants have to be sacrificed in order to make a safe clearing for human’s to navigate their way through nature.

    I’m all for approved trails that are well maintained. It is vital to the human spirit to be able to leave the city behind and enjoy nature. We need a few approved trails and we should be able to use them without guilt.

  10. The moron in the video removing the yucca from the edge of the bike path on the drop off is only helping the bike path face erosion and subsequent damage. In the desert, anything keeping the soil together on a steep trail should be given a break and kept in place.

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