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Monday, April 16, 2012

Joshua Tree Blew Over in the Wind

Joshua tree that blew over

Q. I've attached a few photos of our Joshua Tree - on the ground! The trunk completely broke during a strong wind on March 25. We planted it 4 years ago and it has grown almost 18" in that time. Can we replant it in the ground even if it has broken off? Is there any way to save it? Re-grow it? We are heart-broken that it might not be salvageable.

A. Unfortunately your Joshua tree is gone. I have never heard of anyone propagating Joshua from above ground stem pieces of the plant. 
Base of Joshua tree in the ground

            I am curious about why it blew over in the wind. This is not normal for a Joshua tree and makes me wonder if there was another problem associated with the plant. Some people have reported the agave weevil attacking Joshua tree. The agave weevil normally attacks agaves (Joshua is a yucca) with American agave being a favorite of theirs.

            This insect is a small snout-nosed beetle that lays its eggs normally at the bases of leaves of the agave. The eggs hatch producing the immature beetle form, a larva or leggless grub. These grubs feed on the stems of agave, normally at the base causing the agave to begin to collapse and rot at the base.
Agave weevil in agave crown
            If these grubs were present on your yucca (Joshua) it might also cause the base of the tree to rot and collapse as well with the upright part falling on the ground. Visual damage and collapse of yuccas is usually reported in early to midsummer in my experience.

            You might look in the remaining stump on the ground and bottom of the blown over portion for 3/8 inch brown to gray snout-nosed beetles or legless off-white grubs of a similar size.

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