The KPRC Radio Gardenline Tip By Randy Lemmon For 4/27/06 Printer-Friendly Version
MOST COMMON MISTAKES WITH SAGO PALMS
(Plus, someone will win a free palm tree Saturday)
In honor of my appearance this weekend at Houston Palm Tree, (more on that in just a moment) I wanted to remind everyone of the biggest mistakes most people make with Sago Palms. Okay, I admit Sagos are not real palms by definition, rather Cycads. But since they feed on palm foods and have fronds like palms, then by all means we can call them palms for the benefit of this email tip.
The biggest mistake that most people make with Sago Palms is planting them too close to driveways, sidewalks and entrances. On new builder construction, how many times have you seen two tiny sagos planted on opposite sides of sidewalk? Five years later, I get a phone call asking about moving them because they've grown so much that they are blocking the sidewalk.
So, if you're doing your own landscape don't plant Sagos by the sidewalk or driveway, or for that matter just outside the front door walkway. They are still great landscape plants for the Houston area. They just need to be planted in open areas of the landscape.
The next biggest mistake people make is leaving a Sago completely alone. The best looking ones are maintained in such a way that the pups/sports are not allowed to proliferate. Sagos can be grown to have multiple trunks, but that doesn't happen for many, many years.
If you allow the undergrowth (pups/sports) to push up and out, it mangles the original set of fronds. So, once a year, you should perform a clean-up to remove the undergrowth and at least the lowest level of fronds as well. When you get into that habit of removing the pups/sports and the lowest level of fronds every so often, then you can develop a Sago tall enough to start developing the multiple trunks.
The last most common mistake people make with Sagos is over-treating for things like fungal diseases and insects, when all they need is water. Sagos show their need for moisture by a yellowing of the fronds. Ironically, if you over-water them they can get really yellow too. But that ever so faint yellowing is usually a sign that the Sago is not getting enough water. So, before you drench it in fungicide or insecticide, try the garden hose first along with a bit of fertilizer.
While on the subject of feeding Sagos, you may be asking exactly what do you feed them? Many things! Left over (3-1-2) lawn fertilizers from the fertilization schedule works extremely well. Plus, there are many commercial palms foods on the market that also work just fine. Just avoid the blooming plant foods with high middle numbers and you should see great results.
Now for this week's appearance at Houston Palm Tree on I-45 between Bay Area Blvd. and Nasa Road One. We are giving away an 8 foot Florida Sabal Palm and it shall be professionally planted too boot. That's nearly a $500 value, and all you have to do is sign up for your chance to win between the hours of Noon to 3 p.m. Plus, for the first 15 people that purchase a copy of my book during the appearance we will give you a $15 jar of Nitro Phos Palm Food for free.
If you can't make it to the south side of town on Saturday, and would still like a signed copy of my book, then come to RCW Nursery on Sunday. For the first 15 people that purchase a copy of my book during the Sunday Book Signing from 1 to 3 p.m., you will get a free bag of Nitro Phos Super Turf Fertilizer. That's nearly a $20 value for free, just by purchasing a book. RCW Nursery is located at the corner of 249 & Beltway 8 on the northwest side of town.
And be sure to check out kprcradio.com/pages/events-randy.html, Randy's event page, to see where Randy will be for the next few weekends. Bring your plants, bugs, and diseases for identification purpose.
And you can still purchase a copy of my new book "Gulf Coast Gardening with Randy Lemmon" at http://www.lulu.com/content/142186. If you are a garden retailer interested in stocking this book, please call the Nitro Phos Warehouse at 713-228-1868 for wholesale ordering information.
Until our next issue, here's to great gardening from the GardenLine, heard exclusively weekend mornings 8 a.m.-noon on TALKRADIO 950 KPRC.