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Do Yucca Roots Cause Damage? (And How to Control Them)

Do Yucca Roots Cause Damage? (And How to Control Them)

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There are a lot of concerns among gardeners regarding yucca plants’ roots. Many wonder: Do yucca roots cause damage? The answer is yes.

Most yucca plants have invasive roots that can expand and aggressively penetrate surrounding areas. As a result, they can cause devastation around them.

These roots can damage nearby plants, house foundations, walls, and even pipes. So, what should you do to prevent these potential hazards?

This post will guide you on how to avoid the risks of yucca roots. We’ll also give you guidelines on removing or transplanting this plant to a more suitable location.

Do Yucca Plants Have Deep Roots?

There are over 50 different types of yucca plants, and most have profound roots.

Some yucca plants can grow roots up to 30 feet deep into the soil. These plants have developed their deep roots to survive in the extreme temperatures of desert environments.

That’s because the plant’s deep roots allow it to reach nutrients and water from underground.

The upside of this deep rooting system is that it allows the plants to grow without needing regular care.

The downside is that these roots can cause much trouble when planted near other plants or objects.

For example, they can damage surrounding plants or destroy parts of your garden or house.

How Far Do Yucca Roots Spread?

Generally, yucca plants have roots that spread widely over a large area. They can extend to reach a width of 3–5 feet.

The exact root width depends on the type of yucca you’re planting. Nonetheless, because most yuccas have deep and wide roots, it’s better to grow them away from other plants.

The reason is that they won’t share water and nutrients with their nearby plants. As a result, they’ll negatively affect the surrounding plants’ health.

What Does Yucca Rooting System Look Like?

To get a deeper understanding of yucca roots, let’s look at this plant’s rooting system parts and the effect of each. Here are they:

1 – Taproot: The Deep Roots

Taproot is the primary root system of yucca plants. These roots are the deepest in the plant.

They can penetrate the soil up to 30 feet to reach the underground nutrients and water.

2 – Fibrous System: The Shallow Roots

Like in other plants, yucca plants’ fibrous roots are shallow. The primary purpose of those roots is to obtain water near the ground’s surface.

They do an excellent job absorbing the rainwater that deep roots won’t access. As a result, they help the plant survive even if it grows in a place with limited underground water.

3 – Rhizomatic Roots: Widely Spread

Rhizomatic roots are the roots that spread horizontally around the plant.

They’re responsible for producing new yuccas from the parent plant. Because of their wide-spreading nature, these roots make the process of removing the plant highly complicated.

Can Yucca Roots Damage Foundations?

The profound roots of some yucca plants and their invasive nature can pose a risk to home walls and foundations.

If you grow a yucca plant close to your home, its roots can expand, causing considerable damage to its foundations. These damages include interior or exterior cracks.

The repairs for these losses can cost you an arm and a leg.

Therefore, experts advise gardeners to grow their yucca plants away from their homes. They also recommend keeping them far from swimming pools and even sidewalks.

Can Yucca Roots Damage Pipes?

As with home foundations, yucca plants can cause damage to any nearby water or sewer pipes. These effects can be severe or mild, depending on the plant’s root size.

That way, always make sure you plant your yuccas in a place far enough from your house pipes.

How to Avoid Damage Caused by Yucca Roots

The best way to avoid the problems yucca roots can cause is to plant them in a large pot instead of the garden. That way, you’ll have control over the roots.

However, in this case, you’ll need to repot the plant from one time to another.

When Do You Need to Repot Your Yucca?

Generally, you’ll need to repot your yucca plant every two years if planted in a large suitable container.

During this period, you’ll notice that the plant roots become crowded in the pot. However, this isn’t an issue, as yuccas can grow with no problem while having crowded roots.

Given that, to determine whether your yuccas need to be repotted, perform this quick check:

Pour a bit of water into the plant pot.

If the water runs straight through the pot without penetrating the soil, the plant needs to be repotted. If the soil absorbs the whole water, it doesn’t require repotting.

Another sign that repotting is necessary is when the plant’s roots start growing out of the pot’s drainage holes.

How to Prevent Damage Caused by Yucca Roots

If you have a yucca plant causing problems, you need to address this issue quickly.

There are two ways to prevent your yucca from destroying your home or garden. Here are they:

Move It: For Young Yuccas

One of the possible ways to prevent yuccas’ potential damage is to transplant them into another, more suitable location.

This only applies to small young yuccas, as old and large ones are hard to move.

The best time to transplant yucca plants safely is in the fall. However, you can still transplant it in the northeast region in warm weather, like spring or early summer.

Once you’ve determined a proper time, follow these steps to transplant your yucca properly:

1 – Pick a New Suitable Location

Before starting, you need to pick a new suitable location for your yucca. Ideally, choose a place that has access to sunlight throughout the day.

It should also be at least two times the width of the yucca’s root ball. In addition, ensure it’s far enough from other plants and home foundations.

2 – Gently Loosen the Root Ball

To prepare the plant for removal, you need to loosen its root ball. To do this, use a shovel blade to dig deep for around 15 inches within an 8-inch circular area.

Once you’ve freed the roots, gently pull the plant to remove it from the soil.

3 – Transplant the Yucca

To transplant your yucca, dig a 15-inch hole in your chosen place. Hold the plant and plant it in the hole.

Remove It: For Large Yuccas

If your yucca becomes old and large, it’s impossible to move it. In such cases, the only way to prevent its potential damage is to get rid of it.

Still, you can grow a new plant from the cuttings of this old yucca if you want.

That said, removing yucca plants isn’t a one-time process. That’s because these plants’ extensive roots can continue to grow even after removing the plant.

In addition, keep in mind that the process may take several hours to get done. The older the yucca, the harder it is to get rid of it.

Given that, here’s how to remove your yucca plant:

  1. Before starting, wear protective clothing as this plant’s leaves and branches are highly sharp.
  2. Start by cutting the main trunk and drilling holes around the base
  3. Spray herbicide or stump remover through the holes to spread them throughout the entire root system and kill it completely.
  4. Dig deep and remove as many roots as possible.
  5. After removing the plant, check the area regularly for a few weeks and remove any new growing roots.

Final Thoughts

Do yucca roots cause damage? Yes, these plants can damage their surrounding plants. They can also cause cracks in your home’s walls, foundations, or pipes.

That way, you need to plant yuccas in a location far away from these objects to prevent any problem.

Moreover, if your current yucca plants cause any issues, follow the above-mentioned steps to move or remove them correctly.

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