Explore Plants

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 

Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - February 01, 2010

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Frost damage to Mexican palm and non-native Sago palm in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have frost damage to the leaves on my mexican palm tree which is about 12 feet high. Can I cut back all of the damaged leaves and what month? Also, Sago palms have some frost damage on the upper most leaves. Do I cut back just the damaged portion and what month?

ANSWER:

Sabal mexicana (Rio Grande palmetto) is native to Texas, mostly to areas along the southern coast and the Rio Grande. It is hardy in USDA Hardiness Zones 8 to 11, and can tolerate temperatures down to 12 deg F with little or no leaf damage. Austin is in Zone 8a, but the whole country has had most unusual cold weather recently.

The Lady Bird Johnston Wildflower Center is committed to the care, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area where they are being grown. Cycas revoluta,  Sago Palm, is a subtropical, native to the southernmost islands of Japan, an area of high rainfall and warm temperatures. The Sago Palm (not really a palm, but a cycad) is hardy from USDA Hardiness Zones 8 to 10. Here is an article from Floridata that might give you some clues on what to do about the yellowing branches. Please note this article's warning about the toxicity of the entire plant. 

In both cases, we feel the plants are safe, and the damaged leaves can be trimmed away any time. Right now, while most plants are somewhat dormant, would be a good time to tidy them up. 

Pictures of Sago Palm from Google

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:

 

 

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Non-native Indian Hawthorn not flowering in Fairfield, TX
March 17, 2012 - My indian hawthorn shrubs won't flower, they are the white variety and I live in Freestone County, Texas, greenery is beautiful and very healthy plants but no flowers Have had the plants for over tw...
view the full question and answer

Problems with mature Blue Agave in Kenya
December 09, 2012 - I have a mature Agave plant and there is a thin black liquid that looks like oil starting to appear on the leaves. The plant plant seems to be dying (from the bottom up). (The plant is a blue Agave an...
view the full question and answer

Organic means for ridding garden of stinging ants
April 18, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smarty Pants, I have a butterfly garden that is filled with native plants the butterflies LOVE! However I have a colony of red ants that have moved in. I need to trim some of the more inva...
view the full question and answer

Zucchini blooms but no fruit
August 26, 2008 - My zuchinni has lots of flowers, but they seem to fall and I am getting no fruit.. WHY
view the full question and answer

Why are the leaves on my Laurel hedge turning brown in Everett, WA?
February 22, 2010 - Our laurel hedge seems to have brown leaves on the top of the bush. We haven't had a freezing winter so we are trying to figure out why some of the leaves are brown.
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.