With all of the yard clean up that’s been a work in progress since we moved into our new house in June we have learned about new plants that are common in this area.  Sago Palms can be found all over Charleston and our yard has 5 of them in the front and side yards of varying sizes.  When I was tackling the side bed that we share with our neighbor, Hunter decided it was time to prune up the palms – especially all the yellow and brown fronds.  The transformation was CRAZY so now I’m sharing the tips with you in case you have some pruning to do!

  • Sago palms are toxic, so wear gloves and be careful when touching the plants.  Also don’t let your animals near them or to eat them.
  • Prune from the bottom up, clearing the fronds at the trunk by 6″ to 2ft.  These are the oldest and lowest leaves and it helps increase air flow.
  • Only remove completely dead and damaged fronds. Cutting healthy fronds can weaken the plant, but you can expose the trunk of the palm for ornamental purposes by removing extra fronds.
  • Don’t trim sago palm fronds that are between 10 and 2 o’clock positions.
  • The best time to prune is autumn when it’s not producing new leaves.

Additional sources: Gardening Know How & Home Guides

Here’s the full process from the first time we cleaned up the side bed with the biggest sago palms, to the pruned version!

Much cleaner right?  Sadly, we think one of the palms in the front is dying or diseased, so we’re hoping to see some fronds grow, but it’s not doing well.  The other 2 in the front yard are smaller and were pruned up as well.

Go ahead and put this knowledge in the “something I never thought I’d need to learn about” group, but homeownership is full of lessons and learning!

6 Thoughts on “How to Prune a Sago Palm”

  • If you trim them, will they not grow higher? Ours are getting too big, we want to stop them from getting any taller!

  • Here in Vegas they seem to grow about 1 foot per year. These are older plants though. Sometimes when you transplant them you need to cut all the frawns off and leave the plant to sprout another round of frawns next year. I learned this from my gardner who raises sego palms.

  • We had a horrible freeze in Texas a few weeks ago and my Sego needs trimming all the leaves are dead…can I still trim it and exactly how do I do that?

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