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How to Remove a Yucca Plant

April 26, 2024

Sarah Randall

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We're so glad you're here! We've been transforming spaces together for the past five years and slowly renovating our own 1950's home. Join us as we create a home we love!

Hi, we're Jake and Sarah

If you’ve been following along, you know we’ve had quite the yard work nightmare as we’ve been trying to remove these awful yuccas once and for all! We decided to learn on our own how to remove a yucca plant. Welcome to, The Yucca Diaries.

What’s the problem with yuccas?

When we first bought our house back in 2018, we largely underestimated how much of an issue these yuccas would be. After doing some research, I quickly learned what a nightmare these plants are. Apparently they were popular to plant in the early 2000’s because of their modern look. But, they grow into absolute monsters and have already cost us thousands of dollars to try to maintain and remove. Here’s what the side of our yard looked like in 2018.

We saw a video online of someone attaching a chain to their car to pull a stump out of the ground. We thought…”we should try that”. So we drove our Swedish tank (aka our Volvo XC 90), attached a chain, and tried! This was our first attempt at figuring out how to remove a yucca plant.

It worked for one small stump and that was it. So we upgraded to a mini excavator.

Did you know they just drop these off at your house and expect you to know how to drive them? Anyway, the excavator worked beautifully. Charlie and I couldn’t stop watching! I was surprised it could handle this!

The new problem is that our green waste facility doesn’t accept stumps larger than 3 feet. Time to get creative.

Our electric chainsaw literally just wasn’t cutting it (pun intended) through these huge stumps. So, we headed to Lowe’s and upgraded to this 20 inch Craftsman Gas Powered Chainsaw and it performed so much better!

Since our local dump doesn’t accept stumps bigger than 3 feet, we had to cut them down.

Once these stumps were cut down to smaller than 3 feet, we loaded up the truck one stump at a time. (I promise you these are heavier than they look.) And of course, the stumps were moldy…😇

With the help of a 20 inch gas powered chainsaw from Lowe’s, my wonderful strong husband, and my Opa’s truck, Jake was off taking his first load to the local dump.

After taking one truckload of yuccas to the dump, we realized we needed to upgrade to a larger solution.

Cue 40 yard dumpster

I finally cleared out the last of the green part of the yucca which is a huge feat! These super sharp leaves have actually been reported to cause ear injuries. Some people have even lost their hearing!

I was starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel. After living with these things for 6 years I’d never felt this hopeful. It’s crazy to think one day, these would all be gone.

Cutting the stumps down with a chainsaw and taking them to the dumpster piece by piece was a really slow process. It’s safe to say this project has pushed us to our physical limits. We’re waking up sore every single day. I’ve posted about this before – but this heated neck/back massager from Amazon is amazon. As we’ve been learning how to remove a yucca plant, it has literally been a game changer for us.

Neck Massager

We tried to lift the stumps up into the wheelbarrow, but sometimes the stumps were too heavy so we tried rolling them and sometimes that worked.

Side note – Jake actually approached some guys one morning at the hardware store to ask for help with manual labor and once they saw a picture and realized they were yuccas, they said no.

We ended up bending our wheelbarrow (thanks to the heavy stumps), so we switched over to a dolly which worked pretty well. It just barely fit on the ramp of 2 x 4 is leading up to the dumpster so that was kind of a close call. But it made it!

When the 40 yard dumpster arrived, I thought we had made a mistake and it was too big. But we actually needed that much space! We’re actually started to out of room for the larger stumps and we couldn’t lift them over each other. Look how full it was!

After two days of lifting these ourselves and literally killing our backs, (I even had to make a doctor’s appointment to check for a hernia…no joke) we decided we needed more help. Jake finally rented a stump grinder and it was pretty much our holy grail item. Here’s how much we had left at this point. I was praying the stump grinder would bring us to the end of this saga.

Stump Grinder

After seeing this in action for about ten seconds, I was so happy right I could have cried. This was a very good decision. A whole hillside of seven or eight took yuccas took about a day to destroy.

Here’s what the wheel looked like up close. Jake operated the machine while Charlie and I cheered from the sidelines.

After such a long struggle against these invasive plants, this day just felt like a victory. At this point we’d used skid steer excavator, chains, a chainsaw, shovels, and a pick axe. But the stump grinder was the most satisfying because it meant this job was finally coming to a close.

I saved a little piece as a souvenir of this journey.

We have a bit of a mulch problem, but we’ll solve that later! All I could think about was how thankful I was for this stump grinder.

There were just two big stumps left on our bank that both the excavator and stump grinder couldn’t reach. So, we went back to chains and our Volvo. My heart was racing – I thought the stump was going to fall down into our pool.

We recruited my brother-in-law from next door for support and he suggested using straps. It worked! But our lemon tree was sadly crushed in the process.

Why didn’t we just use our chainsaw again?

Well, we’d already spent $400 on chains in the last 3 weeks and we were just over buying chainsaw chains. Ironically, this stump was too big to put in our trash can so we had to use a chainsaw anyway.

The Final Yucca


Here’s where we started:

And here’s where we’re at! I’m so proud of us!

Cost Breakdown

We got a professional quote for this yucca removal project. It was way out of our budget. That’s why we decided to do it ourselves! Here’s what we spent on everything versus the professional quote we got.

  • Skid Steer – $420
  • Mini Excavator – $525
  • Chainsaw – $250
  • Dumpster – $821
  • Stump Grinder – $ 462
  • Chain – $52
  • Pick Axe – $35
  • Chains & Sharpener – $430

Total Cost – $2,995

Pro Quote – $30,000

While I can say with confidence this was our most difficult DIY project, it feels like we made $27,000 off of this project. #girlmath

Was this more or less than what you thought?

Thanks for tuning into the Yucca Diaries as we learned how to remove a yucca plant (or a whole yard full of them). It’s been quite the journey – but we are ready to move on!


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