Growth Products, Ltd: Horticulture

A Yucca Story: Looks Aren’t Everything

October 2018

A Mohave Yucca (Yucca schidigera) growing in a desert isn’t likely to set an artist’s heart a pitter-patter. Its scraggly brownish crown and prickly leaves shaped like bayonets are not lush or classically beautiful. But show a Yucca schidigera to a botanist or an agronomist, and there’s a good chance that he or she will be fascinated.

A Soapy Solution: The Basics

Native to the high deserts of Mexico and the Southwestern U.S., Yucca plants contain saponins, or natural compounds that create a foamy froth when mixed with liquids. Indigenous tribes made soaps and shampoos from Yucca plants and used Yucca medicinally. Today, Yucca saponins are widely utilized in the beverage industry, in agribusiness, and in the cosmetic industry.

Growth Product’s Hydro-Max™ All Natural Wetting Agent Plus Humic Acid has a high concentration of Yucca saponins to increase water penetration in soils and reduce surface tension of turf sprays. Water and other liquids, when mixed with Hydro-Max, become able to quickly soak into the soils – see chart below. This not only lets the liquids get to work rapidly, it prevents wasteful – and often costly – run-offs. Because of this, HydroMax™ has long been the “go-to tool” for fixing dry spots and hydrophobic soils, where ever they occur and whatever the weather. Because it is nonphytotoxic, it can even be applied to stressed turf and stressed plants during hot dry, weather. It is easy to use and can be mixed with fertilizers, fungicides, herbicides, and most other materials.

Penetration minutes of yucca vs. various synthetic wetting agents and distilled water.

Natural Steroidal Benefits: Stimulating Plant Growth, Improving Soils, and More

Hydro-Max has many advantages compared to synthetic wetting agents. Used over time, the natural saponin steroids found in Hydro-Max, combined with Hydro-Max’s humic acids, work to condition soils, leach excess salts, increase the cell wall permeability of turf grass, facilitate better absorption of macromolecules such as proteins into plants and turf, and reduce harmful nitrate accumulations. The steroidal action also stimulates plant growth.

Yucca extracts are environmentally friendly. They naturally degrade in soils, where they then serve as a food source for beneficial soil microbes. Mixed with macro- or micro-nutrients and applied as a spray, they can increase foliar absorption and boost plant health. Applied to hydrophobic or compacted soils, the yucca extracts can be a true game-changer.

While it has long been known that yucca extracts excel in the ways mentioned above, growers are just now realizing and capitalizing on Yucca’s other benefits. The extracts’ soapy properties can make them useful as insecticides, and Yucca may help control nematodes in certain soils.

Yucca schidigera extracts are a near pure-play in HydroMax, constituting 70 percent of the active ingredients. Yucca schidigera extracts are also featured in many Growth Products’ products, including Essential®, Compost DeThatcher, BioNutrients, and other liquids and dry granulars.

Same Product, New Seal of Approval

From the start, Hydro-Max™ was an organic, all-natural product. Now that it has undergone strict and extensive testing by the Organic Materials Review Institute and is OMRI-Listed©, Hydro-Max displays the official green and white OMRI listed logo on its product label. Whatever you are growing – from citrus to turf, from nursery ornamentals to large landscape trees – there is a role for Yucca extracts. Application rates can be found on the HydroMax’s label and spec sheet, and your Growth Products regional representative is just a phone call away.