How To Kill A Century Plant

Strong, succulent, rhizomatous perennial with leaves arranged in a rosette at the base. rigid, leathery, hairless, fleshy leaves (1-2 m x 15 cm) with borders lined with high, coarse teeth (5 mm) spaced 4 cm apart and a conical, hard spine at the apex (25 mm long). Candelabra-like clusters of numerous yellow flowers are carried on branches off the main stem of flowering stems, which grow 7–10 m tall and generated quickly at maturity (after 10-15 years). The flowers are followed by seed capsules carrying black seeds (5 cm long). The basal rosette dies after flowering and is replaced by several little lateral rosettes (daughters).

Why is it weedy?

Has a long lifespan, no known parasites, and can withstand harsh drought, wind, salt, high temperatures, poor soil, and low fertility. It also recovers from injury and is not grazed by stock. Compared to other plants in the area, it is taller. Succulent leaves regenerate from shards, while small rhizomes produce new daughter plants.

How does it spread?

Daughter plants, seeds, and stem fragments are naturally transported to new locations by escaping gardens as well as by ocean tides, intentional planting, soil movement, particularly down banks.

What damage does it do?

replaces delicate dune species, colonizes bare sand, creates sand buildups that might result in the formation of new (often foreign) habitats and erosion elsewhere, and puts pressure on surrounding species due to pedestrian traffic as people try to avoid the agave plants.

What can I do to get rid of it?

1. Dig out small plants (anytime of year): Dispose of all fragments at a waste disposal facility. 2. Stem injection: 4–10 5ml glyphosate injections, depending on the size of the plant (undiluted). Leave the area to decay. 3. Slash and spray: Depending on the size of the plant, make 4–10 lengthwise incisions. Then, inject 5ml of undiluted glyphosate into each cut. Leave the area to decay. 4. Trim the tree and paint the stump: Cut the tree at ground level, treat the stump with glyphosate (200ml/L), and dump the leaves to a garbage disposal facility.

What can I do to stop it coming back?

Occasionally, offspring plants and resprouting leaf pieces are overlooked. Permanently ban cattle from the area. Always remove plants before they go to seed, or before the tall flowering stems start to bloom. Check in on the sites at least once a year.

How do I remove a sizable century plant?

If you can, dig down two to three feet around the taproot. Sever the taproot and throw away the top of the root using an ax, spade, or tree pruner. Cutting the tap root ought to stop the plant’s regrowth.

What causes agave plants to die?

Agaves are eye-catching accent plants in gardens in the Phoenix area and a favorite in our scorching, arid surroundings. The century plant is a common agave (Agave americana). It is a huge, magnificent agave that produces a towering flower stalk before going to seed. The blue-green leaves of this agave have sharp spines along them. Agaves in good health can live for 25 years or longer.

Agaves need to be planted in soil that drains properly and receives lots of sunlight when they are mature; immature plants require some shade. The plants require little maintenance and encounter few pests or other issues aside from that.

Agaves can, however, be completely destroyed by one bug. The huge, black agave snout weevil appears to prefer the large century plant, especially as it gets ready to bloom. It can attack and kill agave plants.

Damage at the point where leaves meet the plant’s stem is the most typical agave snout weevil indicator. Around May, the plant’s lowest leaves typically start to wrinkle or wilt. On occasion, you can see the weevil’s egg-laying tunnel, which is roughly the size of a pencil, close to the base of a leaf. If gently rocked, the plant may become free in the earth.

The agave eventually falls over and perishes. The vile grubs spend some time under it hiding before making their way to a nearby plant.

The majority of agave snout weevils travel with the agave plants you buy in their soil. Infected plants in your garden or your neighbor’s yard are another source of them.

Keep in mind that stressed agaves are more susceptible to snout weevils, so make sure you follow the planting, soil, and water requirements. For instance, when planting agaves, make sure the soil line matches the one in the container of a healthy plant and avoid disturbing the roots too much.

To prevent bringing the agave snout weevil into your garden, always check for larvae when purchasing new plants or opt for bare-root plants.

The easiest approach to stop snout weevils from infecting an agave once it has been planted in your landscape is to make sure the soil drains well and to refrain from overwatering the plants. Consider shifting your agave to a better location in the garden if it appears to be getting too damp due to neighboring drippers or the soil there (or move the irrigation). Regularly check the agave for early snout weevil damage or symptoms of stress.

The application of a systemic insecticide containing imidacloprid in early April and late May is another efficient prophylactic approach. This treatment can also aid in halting the spread of snout weevil infestations if they are discovered early enough. It is better to forego treatment if your agave is ready to flower, though, as it can impact the pollinators attracted to the blossoms.

If you find that one of your landscape’s agaves has agave snout weevil symptoms and can no longer be treated, you should remove the plant as quickly as you can to safeguard neighboring agaves. To help you find and eliminate any grubs you find, use a cloth or tarp to collect the dirt around the plant’s roots. The grubs can be placed in a trash bag and treated with a broad-spectrum insecticide.

Digging and manually removing the grubs is the greatest method of management if you’d rather not use insecticides on live plants. You might also hire a landscaper to completely eradicate the bugs, check other agave plants for weevil symptoms, and treat them if necessary to keep the grubs from establishing new residences.

They can attack any agave, with the exception of the few types that have been bred to resist the snout weevil, despite the pests’ preference for century plants and other varieties with wider, stiffer leaves. Plant the more sensitive types in eye-catching pots rather than the ground if you want multiple agaves in your yard.

Agave attenuata: How do I get rid of it?

Agave attenuata, also referred to as the spineless century plant, may make a striking statement in landscapes with a desert theme. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s plant hardiness zones 9 through 11 are suitable for the spineless century plant, which thrives in hot, dry environments. Like other agave species, this variation reproduces by growing little plants from its roots, which are referred to as pups. Remove and destroy all of the century plant’s roots if you no longer want it in your garden.

To protect your hands, put on some heavy-duty gardening gloves. If it’s a really large plant, use pruning shears to remove the foliage of the spineless century plant. Digging up the roots is made simpler by removing the foliage.

At the plant’s base, bury the blade of a long-handled shovel. To cut the plant’s roots, place one of your feet on top of the shovel head and push down with that foot. To cut the roots from all sides of a huge plant, make your way around it with the shovel.

With the shovel, dig the plant and its severed roots out of the dirt. To dispose of the plant, place it in a bag. Because the plant is difficult to decompose, do not place it in a compost pile.

Wearing gloves, dig up the remaining roots of the plant and discard them. Use your shovel to break up the soil surrounding the roots if you’re having difficulties getting them out.

Wearing gloves, moisten a sponge brush with undiluted glyphosate herbicide. Within five minutes of hurting the roots, apply the herbicide to them. The wounds will begin to heal if the herbicide is not applied quickly enough, decreasing its efficacy.

In the coming weeks and months, keep an eye out for fresh spineless century plant puppies to emerge from the soil. Dig them and their roots out of the ground as soon as they appear, if any.

What occurs if a century plant perishes?

A century plant will only ever bloom once in its lifetime, but you don’t have to wait that long to see it. The name of this succulent is deceiving because it typically blooms after 10 years, but typically before it reaches 30. It does so dramatically, shooting up a flower stalk that is straight and could reach a height of more than 20 feet. The extremities of horizontal branches that extend from the flower stalk, which resembles an enormous asparagus spear, bear 3 to 4 inch long yellow-green flowers.

After blooming, century plants start to die. Monocarpic plants are those that behave in this manner. However, century plants continuously produce “pups,” or offspring, that continue to develop even after the primary plant has perished. To create new plants, these pups can be divided up and transplanted. Indoor-grown century plants seldom ever have blossoms.

How difficult is it to get rid of an agave plant?

Agave are quick-growing, drought-tolerant succulents that cover the yard with rosette-shaped leaves and are simple to grow.

Because they require so little water once they are established, agave are common landscape plants in xeriscape gardens and drought-tolerant locales.

Agave, if left to grow unchecked, may swiftly take over an entire garden and be very difficult to get rid of.

In the early stages, it is far simpler to control these plants than it is to have them take over your entire garden.

What do I do about the agave in my yard?

Because it is simple to grow and difficult to harm, agave is a favorite among many gardeners. It is a typical plant in the home landscape in mild to warm regions and is occasionally grown in pots. A garden-grown agave, with its pointed, sword-like leaf, will self-propagate and grow out of control if left unattended, posing a risk to children and pets. You may permanently get rid of your unwanted agave with diligence and persistence.

Put on a long-sleeved shirt, leather or heavy-duty gardening gloves, long pants, boots, and safety goggles. Agaves are prickly and pointy plants whose cut foliage exudes a fluid that frequently irritates skin.

Look around the edges of your plant for suckers or baby plants that emerge from the earth. With a shovel, dig these out and take them away. You can plant them yourself, or you can gift them to a friend who will plant them.

Use a specific trimming tool developed for cacti and succulents to carefully prune the foliage to the ground. Starting at the agave’s perimeter, prune your way inside to the core. Put the clippings in a cardboard box that you can simply dispose of or on a tarp to be disposed of later.

With a shovel, dig down and around the agave, going 8 to 12 inches deep. In an arc, the shovel was driven into the earth in the direction of the agave’s center. Lift the root ball out of the ground once it is free. To make it easier to remove the root ball out of the ground, you can also divide it into more manageable pieces. Use a spade to cut the roots or a pruning saw to remove them.

Keep an eye out for any new agave growth. As soon as new growth arises, get rid of it fast to prevent dying roots. In the interim, grow other garden items to assist use up the nutrients and water in the soil.

Are agave plants rooted deeply?

As with many succulent plants, agaves have shallow roots. They can therefore be grown in a shallow pot because they don’t require a lot of soil.

invading agave plants

Mr. Smarty Plants, a group of volunteers who have handled tens of thousands of inquiries for the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center over the years, offers sound guidance in that regard. The advice would have been helpful when I planted numerous Agave americana around our ranch house near the Llano River more than ten years ago. The rocky caliche soil and scarcity of water at the ranch looked to be the ideal combination for their blue-green fleshy leaves, exotic character, and reputation for low maintenance during the stifling Texas months.

Professor Kelly Lyons, a specialist in grasses and biology at Trinity University, triumphs over an Agave americana. Assisting is Brisket Rivard (left). By Monika Maeckle, the image

My agaves, however, were an annoyance because we only visit the property every other weekend, sometimes fewer. I missed too many events. I was bad at managing the plant. As Mr. Smarty Plants suggests, pruning the pups early is essential to preventing an unruly agave cluster because they are controllable and have shallow roots. For more than ten years, I paid no attention to the agaves at all. The outcome? There were several savage agave forests that poked and stabbed anyone who ventured too close.

It should go without saying that agave Americana deserves our respect. The plant is a study in independence; it demands NOTHING in return for its dependable development and, eventually, its astounding presence. It doesn’t require more water, fertilizer, pruning, or prissing. It enjoys a single episode of reproduction and leads a spectacular semelparous life. Then it expires.

In its lifetime, agave americana only experiences one bloom. Image courtesy of the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center

The agave grows between 10 and 30 years and produces a single, towering stalk that extends yards into the air. The developing branchlets have clusters of yellow blooms and resemble candelabras. Bats and hummingbirds adore this pollen goldmine. Although it is technically a Mexican native, agave americana can also be found in South Texas. Its range will inevitably move further north because to climate change.

The plant should be listed as “watch list as potentially invasive,” advises Dr. Kelly Lyons, a grass expert at Trinity University. In sand dunes, where it outcompetes all rivals, it has already earned the labels of unwelcome and invasive. If left alone, the plant takes control, creating dense communities surrounding the mother plant with its rhizomes and pups. Each one has a unique pair of fronds that resemble serrated blades and leaves with needle tips.

Twelve years ago, I made the dumb decision to bring Agave americana to our property. I placed one on either side of our front gate, hoping that their dramatic poise would “welcome guests.” Others I plugged in around the home, some on a heavily traveled trail, and a few on our switchback-lined main dirt road.

The mature agaves, quiet and understated in their youth, appeared intimidating. A thorny army of their litter of puppies defended each mother plant. Being wounded by these vengeful cacti at our front gate could not be more unwelcoming. Those in charge of locking or unlocking the gate were pricked and prodded by needle-nosed agave fronds; their barbed leaves hooked on your clothing and flesh, frequently leaving a sticker behind.

I’d been stabbed much too frequently. The out-of-control succulents, which by this point were taller than my five-foot-six-inch frame, inspired me to take action. Leather

Some agave leaves have bases that are nearly half a foot thick. By Monika Maeckle, the image

My agave combat gear included gloves, long sleeves, thick pants, a robust hat, and spectacles.

On one four-foot specimen behind the house, I began with a shovel. The factory was nearly impossible to approach. The actively defending agave colony repelled me with its tangled roots and jagged leaves. Agaves self-produce via rhizomes, sending tiny plants with shallow roots all over the base of the rosette, as stated by Mr. Smarty Plants. In the dry environment where it grows, this aids in water absorption. The roots connect and bind together into an impenetrable patchwork as they grow. Agave blades that have died and dried out on top of them form a sinewy muck. The fibrous material is impenetrable to a shovel.

If you decide to deal with an agave, make careful to first remove the leaves’ black, needle-like tips. By Monika Maeckle, the image

The thick agave leaves, which are swollen with water and appear to be a fortress enclosing the agaves, intrigued me, so I did some research and discovered that they also contain the stringy sisal fiber that native peoples and later Westerners used to manufacture baskets, carpets, ropes, and blankets. Cutting these sinewy leaves in order to access the soil in order to dig up the root presents a different obstacle that calls for the use of sharp shears, a knife, nippers, or a coba, a specialized tool from Mexico that a cactus grower friend provided to us. Some of the succulent leaves have bases that are close to half a foot wide.

I eventually persuaded my oldest son Nicolas to use the chainsaw out of frustration. We both had long sleeves, hats, and sunglasses on, yet the agave juice still splashed on the exposed skin, leaving behind itchy welts and blisters that lasted for weeks. Nicolas experienced an allergic response and developed a rash.

The Agave Americana has aggressive, thorny leaves. #watchout By Monika Maeckle, the image

I later attempted lighting the agave on fire with charcoal fire starter and kindling. Given the agave’s high moisture content, which makes it similar to burning a watermelon, maintaining the fire proved difficult. The flame eventually caught. The plant drooled water down the edges of its sword-like leaves, making it appear as though it were crying. It was a depressing sight, yet I still had to use a shovel to remove the root rosette.

I even gave herbicides some thought, but since the plants would need such massive dosages, it just didn’t seem right.

Finally, a seasoned landscaper advised me to pull the plant out by its tap-root using a chain or towing strap wrapped around the plant’s base and fastened to a trailer hitch or truck axle. This appeared to be a wise decision. My friend Kelly and I looped a chain around the rosette and fastened it to my Toyota 4Runner after clearing as many young agaves as we could to get to the base. I turned on the four-wheel drive and stood on the

An abandoned agave’s graveyard can be found on the rocky watershed, where it is impossible for it to reseed. By Monika Maeckle, the image

The agave let go of the ground and pebbles keeping it in place and released gas. We dragged the plant to the karst watershed’s “agave graveyard,” where it was unable to touch the ground. Agave is renowned for resprouting if any of its greenery hits the ground, much like its prickly relative, the prickly pear. Experts advise against adding it to the compost pile as well. It will firmly establish itself.

Robert Rivard, my husband, using his Coba, a tool for controlling agave plants that he received from a horticulturist friend in Mexico. By Monika Maeckle, the image

I’ve permitted two examples of this plant to stay on the property as a sign of my appreciation for it. We eagerly anticipate the year of these gigantic agaves’ centennial plant spurt, when they will shoot their reproductive stalks into the air and shower us with pollen-dusted yellow blossoms that will draw bats and hummingbirds. In the interim, we aggressively control the plant by routinely removing the pups and snipping its thick mature leaves with the coba.

We’ll stop growing agaves on the property once they start sprouting seeds. Related articles