Are my sago palms dead?

b.joy.bearMarch 31, 2014

Once year ago this month, I bought my house on the Alabama Gulf Coast (I'm on the north side of Mobile), and the house came with enormous sago palms (I think).

I am a newcomer to the south, having grown up in Indiana, so during this spring's late frosts, I thought to cover my garden seedlings, but I didn't even think about the palms. As you can see in the image I have attached, the palms look pretty bad.

So, experienced Gulf-Coast gardeners, how can I tell if my palms are dead? If they are alive, what's the best strategy for removing the dead branches (fronds?). If dead, what's the best way to remove the whole plant?

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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

They do that around here too when winter is cold. Last winter they stayed green. Yours should be OK. Looks like it's still got some green near the middle? The old fronds can be cut close to the base. You'll want some leather gloves to handle them, if you hadn't already decided that. New growth should start poking from the top soon if it's still alive.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 1:30PM
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b.joy.bear

Thanks, purpleinopp! I'll pull out my gloves this weekend and see if I can lop off the old fronds.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 5:55PM
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zzackey(8b GA)

And long sleeves and jeans! They sure are sharp!

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 5:58PM
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krelavie

I just want to follow up to this by mentioning (only because many don't know), sago palms are poisonous to cats and dogs. I had to rip up about 6 in my yard because my dog wouldn't stay away. If I remember correctly, they can cause liver failure...but I don't remember for sure.

I believe they might also be poisonous to humans too, but only when digested. So make sure you wear gloves and wash your hands. :)

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 8:17PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Any signs of life yet? Just saw the first greenery on one of these a few days ago. And something that may not be good, another one with no green on top, but a pup sticking out awkwardly from the base at ground level. Not dead, but not the right "landscape shape" anymore.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 5:22PM
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