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
12 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

Burning back Gulf Muhly instead of trimming from San Antonio
December 19, 2011 - A few years ago I noticed that the Center burned back its Gulf Muhly rather than cutting it back. Did that study result in any conclusions or recommendations?
view the full question and answer

Decorative Trees for Scenic Bench in Fairhope IL
June 10, 2012 - I am looking for a recommendation for a pair of small trees (does not grow taller than 18-20 feet) that can provide shade on either side of a stone bench. The site is in full sun, western exposure an...
view the full question and answer

Spring care for Garrya ovata from Pflugerville, TX
February 24, 2014 - Hello again, Mr. S-P, I planted a Mexican silktassel in April 2012 (purchased at the WFC). It has done well, but the leaves are bronzed and splotchy from this winter's freezes. All the stems are...
view the full question and answer

Tree with no invasive roots for Los Angeles
July 24, 2011 - I have a large in ground planter sharing the outside wall (on south/east corner) of my house in east LA 90032. I would like to find a tree that grows quite tall (2 story building), but grows roots ver...
view the full question and answer

Best time of year to trim oak trees from Beloit WI
July 23, 2010 - What is the best time of year to trim oak trees?
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center