En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

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
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
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
11 ratings

Wednesday - March 10, 2010

From: Burnet, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pruning, Poisonous Plants
Title: Pruning the leaves of Sago Palm.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Is it a cardinal sin to remove all the sago palm branches? This winter they were so badly scorched by the cold that hardly a frond went unaffected. So I cut them all off as I needed to get around the base and remulch and see what was going on with the dirt. Sure enough, there were armadillo holes all around the area. I was also wanting to raise their canopy some. These are all well-established plants. But now I see where there are cautions not to cut back all the fronds, even if affected. Can you please respond as I am losing sleep over this? Even though it is too late to undo the deed, I thought the new growth would just come on and it would be like any other type of a palmlike thing; just give more of a trunk. Thank you if you can tell me all is not lost.

ANSWER:

The sago palm is a popular ornamental plant used in landscaping in central Texas, and many of the ones in the area took a hit from the freezing weather this winter. The reason for this is partly because they're not from around here. The plant, Cycas revoluta, is native to Japan and southeast Asia. It can survive down to 15 degrees fahrenheit, but not without some damage.
The mission of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is to increase the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants, and landscapes. This leaves sago palms outside our area of focus and expertise.
However, I have included two links that will give you more information about sago palms , and tips for pruning them .  You should be aware that these plants are toxic to humans and pets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Pruning Questions

Trimming dead blooms from turkscap in San Antonio
July 10, 2009 - Great answer to the Turk's Plant question. But, I can't seem to find an answer to mine. I've had Turk's plants for years and cut them back as you suggest, but have always been confused about wha...
view the full question and answer

Leaf loss on Cenizo in Bertram TX
November 17, 2009 - I need help with a purple sage (Leucophyllum frutescens) problem. Most of one of my plants started having paler, more greyish leaves, then the leaves began to fall off. It seemed to still look healthy...
view the full question and answer

Should I top my scraggly magnolia tree? No
January 27, 2010 - Mr.Smarty Plants, I live in Crockett,Tx. My husband and I just bought this house. In the front yard I have a very tall,scraggly magnolia tree due to trees growing up around it. We have cut some of tho...
view the full question and answer

Pruning dogwood in TX
February 02, 2011 - I have a roughleaf dogwood (Cornus drummondii) sapling that I would like to keep at shrub height (~6 ft) rather than let it form a tree. Can I encourage this by cutting the main trunk, and if so, by ...
view the full question and answer

Pruning Roughleaf dogwood
November 28, 2013 - We put 5 rough-leaf dogwoods along our side deck; having been told (by the local, natural plant seller) that they would reach a maximum height of 6 feet. They have grown taller than that (despite som...
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center