Safe Agave Removal
Hello Agave, meet my machette...
Protect yourself or face a nasty itchy burning sensation
Agave americana, also known as the century plant due to it's long flowering cycle (actually not one hundred years), is a pain to remove unless you have access to heavy machinery. The spikey tips of each of the leaves stab deep and can cause swelling and bruising, while the juices feel like a chemical burn that eventually turns into red itchy blisters that look like poison ivy, which luckily do not spread, but still itch like crazy for a couple of weeks. Before going out to tackle these prehistoric looking super plants, make sure you are covered from head to feet. Leave no skin exposed, and the thicker the clothes the better. Make sure you have a pair of heavy duty leather work gloves, so when you do have to touch the plant, it can't touch you back.
It's not about the tools, its how you use them
Most people, like myself, can not afford to rent heavy machinery to remove these plants. I prefer to go at it with only two tools: a machette and a hand-held tiller mattock. These plants have a crazy root structure that holds on real tight to the soil below it. The first tricky part is getting past all this plants defenses. Use the machette to cleave through all the long stabby leaves until you are left with only a stubby defenseless core (defenseless as long as you have no exposed skin!). Use the tiller end of your tiller mattock to break up the roots and soil around the base of the plant, rocking it back and forth to further release it's grip on the ground. Hack through any stubborn roots with the mattock end. Pretty soon you should be able to just pull the final remains out of the soil.