How Do You Cut Back Sago Palm?

A sago palm makes a dramatic statement in a yard or as a container plant. Pruning is a part of the routine upkeep and maintenance of a mature sago palm. Annual pruning maintains the tree as an attractive part of the landscape, removes debris in the tree and deals with insect infestations.

  1. Prune in the fall

    Do not prune a sago palm until after it has stopped growing for the season. Wear heavy garden gloves and long sleeves to protect yourself from the spines on the fronds

  2. Remove the right foliage

    Use garden clippers to remove all yellow-tipped and brown fronds, which are signs of aging foliage. Removing old foliage helps protect against insect infestation. Cut the lowest fronds as close as possible to the trunk. Depending on the height of the palm, clear fronds up the trunk from 6 inches to 2 feet. Remove extra fronds close to the trunk, if desired, for decorative effect.

  3. Remove the sago’s flower cones, if desired

    The seeds that develop in the flower cones are poisonous to both people and animals. Removing the seeds and flower cones does not affect the development of the palm.

  4. Clean up after pruning

    Discard all pruned fronds and plant litter. Increased air flow to the trunk helps to keep a sago palm healthy.