How to Dig Up Yucca Plants


The yucca plant (Yucca filamentosa), also known as Adam's Needle, is an evergreen ornamental shrub-like plant that is native to the southeastern United States, though it is often planted to add a "southwestern" feel to the garden or yard. As an added bonus, the yucca plant blooms large creamy white flowers in the summer. If you decide to dig up your yucca plant, wear garden gloves while handling the plant since the edges of the foliage are quite sharp.

Step 1

Cut off the foliage to about an inch above the ground. It will now be easier to dig up the yucca plant while still being able to see where the plant is located. It will also remove much of the sharp-edged leaves.

Step 2

Dig a small trench around the perimeter of the plant. Start out about 6 inches from the base. If you feel roots, dig a bit further out. Once you don't feel roots, dig straight down for at least 12 inches. Yuccas have deep roots.

Step 3

Dig at an angle toward the center of the plant. If you are hitting roots, you will need to dig further down before cutting in. Wet the soil first in the trench to help loosen the soil, if necessary.

Step 4

Lift the plant out of the ground once you have successfully cut in on all sides to middle under the root ball. If necessary, a shovel can act as leverage in order to lift the yucca out of the ground. Be careful though as you do not want to break the shovel's handle in the process. A second person with a second shovel may be needed if the root ball is large and heavy.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden gloves
  • Pruning shears
  • Shovel
  • Water


  • Ohio State University: Yucca filamentosa
  • University of Illinois Extension: Getting Rid of Yucca Plants
Keywords: dig up yucca plants, remove yucca, get rid of yucca

About this Author

Melissa Lewis graduated from the University of Maryland Baltimore County and is a former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist. She has written over 20 episodes for the radio drama entitled "A Work in Progress." She also writes for several online outlets, including Gardenguides, Travels and Examiner, and is currently finalizing a movie script to be filmed in 2010.