Sunburn of Agave -Aloe -Cactus -Yucca

Disease Information


Sunburn is a common problem in greenhouse or shade house grown plants. It is also problematic in plants grown in open beds or filtered sunlight in nurseries when these plants are transplanted into open landscapes.


Those parts of the plant that have not been acclimated to direct sun will burn easily.

Sunburned plants turn yellow. As the damage progresses, the epidermis turns straw yellow and dies. Barrel cacti and columnar cacti are verysusceptible to this kind of damage.The entire plant usually does not die, but it is permanently scarred. Similar damage occurs on

Y. aloifolia, Y. gloriosa,and Y. recurvifolia, especially during summer months. The apex of the leaf or the area where the leaf naturally curves will become yellow. In severe cases leaves may die, but if damage is not severe, they may recover at cooler temperatures.


Sunburn can be minimized in nursery-grown plants by placing the plant in the same direction as it had been previously growing. Many nurseries will mark one side of the plant so it can be transplanted in the same orientation. Placing shade cloth (30%) or cheese cloth over newly-acquired plants reduces sunburn. If possible, purchase locally grown plants that have been grown in full sun or partial sun (depending on

the species) and acclimated to sunlight.

sunburn. Application of a mulch about two to four inches (5 - 10 cm) deep will help retain soil moisture and reduce reflected light and heat, but be sure the mulch does not cover the base of the plant and create a moist environment for rot organisms.

Many species will benefit from partial or dappled shade. By planting near a deciduous tree or shrub, the plant will be protected from the summer sun and winter freezes.



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