One of my oldest cactus beds is a raised rock garden with very few cactus, a constant supply of agaves that come up from the roots of deceased plants, sedum for ground cover, snowy mound artemisia, rocks, and large yuccas. I always keep the bed weeded but have been negligent when keeping the yuccas trimmed and clean. It is an awkward and tedious job that is easy to put off. To do it easily would take four hands, really efficient trimming tools, and impenetrable gloves-which, trust me, for cactus, agaves, and yuccas, simply don’t exist, never mind what the label on the gloves say-and alas, I have none of this. What I do have is two hands, a decent trimming tool that is really too large to fit my hand well, and a good pair of gloves that do protect me from the sharp tips and saw-tooth edges of the yucca leaves. These gloves are long and protect most of the length of my arms, which is a plus when yucca is involved, but the occasional jab still gets through.


I had put off the trimming too long, and the poor yuccas looked pretty sad. I rounded up my trimmer, the gloves, a knee pad, and looked for a place to start.



I started at the back and gradually worked my way around till I had cut off all the dead brown leaves. I didn’t bother trying to contain the cuttings in a neat pile or wheelbarrow or something because they wouldn’t stay put. So I just let them lay where they fell and would rake them up for disposal after I was done. I had company while I worked.



The soft-leaf yucca needed some work as well, but it didn’t look as bad to begin with as the other plant.


After picking up my mess and trying out different accent pieces, this is the finished bed.


The lesson here is don’t wait too long to trim. When you see the results of your work and how much nicer and cleaner the yucca looks, you’ll be glad you tackled the job.