Maintenance Mystery

Here’s the same development’s landscape, but different treatments to the same plants and for no apparent reason. Is someone listening and starting to think while experimenting?


Yucca faxoniana / Faxon or Palm Yucca


These different treatments are under 8 feet apart. The missing understory plants is another topic, for now.


Above: that yucca has been allowed to grow naturally, with a spiky sphere of live, green foliage to photosynthesize (manufacture food) for its roots. I learned about photosynthesis by the 7th grade!

Food is crucial to long-lived plants.

Below: this yucca has had over 1/2 of it’s live, green foliage removed. Often someone believes it needs trimming to look better. The live crown, important to plant health, was exposed from over-pruning; only the bottom 3 inches is brown and appropriate for removal, if at all.


One can research the need for plant photosynthesis and ways to neaten the skirt of dead leaves on yuccas (or palms) without doing long-term damage to the crown.

“Look better?” At least this couple gets to change out of their party costume; the plant can’t and is affected for years:



Dasylirion wheeleri / Blue Sotol


Above: adequate room, but left to grow naturally. Below: adequate room, but the aesthetic of the original plants is gone for a long time. The sotols won’t soften the view of utility boxes, either.



I’m sure any relationship between Hawai’i and Las Cruces is a coincidence.


Nolina greenei / Beargrass


Above: adequate room, but the beargrasses are left to grow naturally and sway in the wind.  Below: adequate room, but the beargrasses met the power hedge trimmers and became chopped cylinders.


All the above plant species require no pruning or shaping, and they look better that way than what many do.

Money saved by not doing counterproductive tasks can be applied to necessary landscape tasks. Imagine how much money adds up long-term, when monthly or even quarterly tasks are pared down to only what’s beneficial.

It costs less to do nothing or use restraint, and have elegance.


In another post, I’ll show you what can happen to ocotillos around these parts. Many aren’t so lucky, but these are sliding by so far!