The Q&A Archives: Sago Palm

Question: I have a Sago Palm outside and the leaves are beginning to turn brown, like they want to rot - what to you use to prevent that???

Answer: Caryota, or Sago palms, are small to medium-sized palms that grow best in shady sites, in rich, moist soil. If your palms are acting differently than they have in the past, they may need to be fed, or they may need a deeper soaking than the sprinklers are giving them. Periodic deep soakings will also leach salts away from the roots. If you can get up to the top of the palm to inspect the leaves, you may find spider mites (look for webbing between the leaf fans and the stem). An infestation of spider mites can turn leaves brown prematurely. To avoid the problem, hose the foliage down every few weeks to remove the dust and any spider mites that might have taken up residence. If you want to feed your palm, you can spread several inches of organic matter over the roots so the nutrients released as the organic matter decomposes will trickle down into the soil, or you can broadcast an 8-8-8 complete fertilizer over the root zone. Palms are sensitive to salts, so don't apply any more fertilizer than the label recommends or you'll burn the roots.

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