The Q&A Archives: Sago Palms

Question: I have a huge sago palm in my backyard(roughly 6 ft. tall). I'm aware of how costly these palms are, but it desperately needs to be trimmed. What is the best way to do this without harming the palm?

Answer: Your sago palm (cycas revoluta) is neither a fern nor a palm, but is related to conifers (cone-bearing plants). In youth it looks like a fern. As it ages, the crown (center) of the plant grows upward into what looks like the trunk of a tree. At maturity it can reach about 10' in height. You can remove some of the older fronds for a neater appearance, but it isn't a good idea to try to reduce the height of the "trunk". If you cut it back, it will not produce new foliage at the top. Instead, the remainder of the trunk will die down to the ground. If the plant is healthy it may resprout from the roots and you can start all over again. But there's no guarantee. Since your sago is almost full grown, and it's a relatively slow-growing plant, you may want to just allow it to grow at will rather than trying to reduce its size.

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