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?


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
Not Yet Rated

Friday - July 23, 2010

From: Charleston, SC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Seeds and Seeding, Trees
Title: Sprouts from Sabal palmetto in Charleston SC
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I live in SC and have several palm trees (our state tree and symbol). The trees are wonderful, but my situation concerns the many, many sprouts that appear in the flower beds around the trees? Is there anything, other than constantly tilling the area, that will remove them safely?


We could find no mention of Sabal palmetto (cabbage palmetto)   having suckers or sprouts coming up from the roots of the palm, but rather learned that seeds germinate readily in the landscape, generating many seedlings. Removing the seedlings from beneath the canopy can be a nuisance, which you obviously already know. Much as we hate to tell you this, tilling will only turn up more seeds, including some weeds and other plants you don't want. We would recommend recognizing what the palmetto seedlings look like and pulling them as soon as they emerge. Because seeds germinate from middle to late summer, seedling growth the first year normally consists of a primary root, one fully expanded leaf with stem growth obliquely downward forming the rhizome.


From the Image Gallery

Cabbage palmetto
Sabal palmetto

Cabbage palmetto
Sabal palmetto

More Trees Questions

Safe branch length of oaks in Clayton NC
November 06, 2011 - I have 2 very large oak trees in my yard and I am concerned about the length of the branches over the house and driveway. Most seem larger than 4" in diameter. What is a safe length for these branc...
view the full question and answer

Care for oak acorns after planting from Huntsville TX
April 21, 2012 - I planted oak trees from acorns, how often and how much do I water them?
view the full question and answer

Looking for a seedless variety of Desert Willow in San Antonio.
February 17, 2011 - Is there a seedless (podless)variety of the Desert Willow tree that also has the dark burgundy color? If so, do you know who sells it in the central Texas area?
view the full question and answer

Fast growing shade tree for East Texas Piney Woods
April 11, 2013 - What is the fastest growing shade tree for E.Tx.Piney Woods? We have an area that desperately needs protection from the summer heat. The site is comprised of gumbo clay and there are no other plants t...
view the full question and answer

Wax myrtles dying in Alexander City AL
October 26, 2010 - I have a difficult problem with my wax myrtle plants dying. I have 36 Wax Myrtle bushes, approximately 10 feet high and they are dying, one at a time. They look fine and then within a week the lea...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center