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Article: Introduction to Agaves: Cutting the leaves on Agave americana

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Forum: Article: Introduction to AgavesReplies: 4, Views: 39
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Austin, TX

March 8, 2010
6:53 AM

Post #7612728

I have two beautiful specimens . And yes they do like to sprout babies, but I found easy to dig out once or twice a year with out harming the mother plant.
My question stems from cutting the leaves as they die off. I had quite a delima and injury initially cutting the leaves till I discovered I could use small hand saw I have. It works great, but I am just curious if there is something better or if I am hurting them? My neighbors do the same and their plant is older than mine.

Thank you again,


Acton, CA
(Zone 8b)

March 8, 2010
7:18 AM

Post #7612789

they make curved blades that are more like razors than saws, though still corrugated, just for cutting succulent leaves. I see them for sale at cactus/succulent shows. Saws get caught up in the fibrous leaves and end up not quite cutting all the way through the leaves sometimes leaving strong strings of fiber still attached... makes for a messy looking cut.
Palm Coast, FL

March 9, 2010
8:45 PM

Post #7617570

Watch yourself when cutting agaves. The sap contains minute, sharp crystals of oxalic acid which can penetrate the skin causing painful and extensive rashes. Keep skin covered ; wear glasses . I speak from painful personal experience.
Austin, TX

March 16, 2010
4:36 AM

Post #7632798

Thank you both for your help.
San Diego, CA
(Zone 10a)

December 3, 2012
6:32 AM

Post #9348499

It's a labor of love with these plants, isn't it? Planted this specimen over 15 yrs. ago in an area next to a walkway, so have to keep it trimmed back. Once you control the pups at the base, it becomes easier to maintain with regular attention. I have learned to be very careful and work slowly, to avoid cuts and stab wounds. The cut leaf sections do tend to turn downward and shrivel over time, so it heals naturally. There were several very large pups at the base, coming out horizontally. Keep wondering if this plant is going to bloom.

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