Mature dragon trees do not require much maintenance except for clean up of seeds that fall to the ground from their seed stalks and dried up old leaves that either fall off the tree or stay tangled up with the young, live leaves. One of the most painful things I have experienced as the caretaker of these beautiful trees is discovering the unauthorized butchering of the leaves.
Because of a bad back, I have a gardener taking care of most of my front yard, primarily to mow my lawn. Apparently inconvenienced by some low-hanging leaves as he was trimming an adjacent bush, the gardener took to pulling off healthy green leaves. I heard the ripping sounds and ran outside to stop him.
My tree has three trunks. As shown in the picture, the foreground shows the part of the tree trunk that has had natural leaf fall. In the background, the smaller trunk shows quite a lot of the remaining nubs of where leaves were ripped out.
It seemed also that the gardener was unfamiliar with this tree and perhaps thought it was something like a yucca palm tree, and “trimmed” it of its “extraneous” leaves so as to have a martini-glass shape.
Thankfully, this tree is tough, a real fighter, and I have no doubt about it recovering from a misguided garden maintenance effort. In the end, I educated the gardener about this tree and, sadly, stated that it was henceforth off-limits to everyone but me.
What I learned: If you have an unusual plant for your area and have a gardener assisting in the maintenance of your garden, it will save you quite a bit of stress (and possibly having to replace plants) if you instruct the gardener early (and often) about the proper care of your plants.