Easiest/Best way to remove pups?

love_the_yard(z9A Jax FL)April 8, 2006

I want to remove some one-year-old pups from my mother sago. The are quite large, as is Mom. I am one of those people who does not trim all the lower fronds off the mother plant, so it's going to be pretty tough to get at those pups (unless I *do* trim off the lower fronds). I know to use a sharp knife, make a clean cut, don't pull on the pup, etc, etc, but what I can't figure out is how to get in there to the pups! Do you just suck it up, get on your knees and go in? I tried using a shock cord/bungee cord to hold up Mom's fronds, but there was just no way. That didn't going to work. Any tips or tricks to getting TO the pups?

Thanks and hoping to not having arms that look like pin cusions,


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Opposite question.. how do I get my pups to sprout fronds or leaves? I have about 5-6 of them just below the soil line and would like them to come out.. I did remove one when I planted it and it really just snapped off without any real trouble. I dont think it takes much to remove them just dont damage mom.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2006 at 10:36PM
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cycadjungle(z9b Cent FL)

Kevip, you really should not snap off any offsets, that can easily cause a fungus to get into the mother and kill it.

This is an excerpt from my article on my website:

How do I remove the offsets at the base of my sago, and what do I need to do grow them into plants?

This is probably the question I get the most. I am going to describe the method I use. Most people do not have to go through as much trouble as this, but to make sure that every one has a good chance , it doesn't hurt to make sure to do it right.
Cut all the leaves from the offset plants. If you do not cut the leaves off, they will draw moisture and energy out of the offset before it has a chance to produce roots. The secret to all this is the starch content in the offset. It can live on this starch until new roots are formed. This is another reason why the offset does not need to be watered like you would a cutting, I will get into that later. Remove all the soil from around the offsets. After I have removed most of the soil, I like to spray the area with water to wash off every bit of soil so I can see what I'm doing and also to keep everything as sterile as possible. Use a very sharp tool to remove the offsets from the main plant. Make sure to make a clean cut. Do not pull the offset off the main plant. Sometimes the offset will pull out a small, round piece of stem when you do this, and this makes a hole for fungus to get into. Also the more jagged the cut, the more there is a chance to have a place for fungus to get into. Sometimes I have to cut the offset again, once it is removed to make a cleaner, smoother cut. Tools that seem to work the best are very large knives, very sharp shovels, machetes, and if you remove offsets on a regular basis, there is nothing like a reciprocating saw, or otherwise known as a "sawsall."
Once you have removed all the offsets, spray or brush the wounds of the offsets, as well as the wounds on the main plant, with a fungicide. I like to use Daconil. You can add a rooting hormone to the fungicide that you use on the offsets if you want. It seems to help a little. Once this has dried, I paint all the wounds with black tree paint, or also known as tree sealer. Once this has dried, the offsets are ready to plant, and the soil can be placed around the main plant once again.
"Advanced method" If you have done this before, and are good at starting offsets, you can try this advanced method. When you cut the offset, the more area that is cut, the more roots that will be produced. Most offsets are attached to the main plant by a narrow attachment point, instead of the width of the entire offset. By making another larger cut on the offset you can get at least 5 times the roots. This larger cut also has a larger wound to heal, so it is better to get used to rooting offsets before you try this. This is where the tree paint comes in very handy.
Now that you are ready to plant the offsets, place the offsets in containers with the cleanest sand you can find. I use course builder's sand. Any organic material can increase the chance of fungus getting into the offsets. Some people use pumice, or perlite, instead of sand. I try to place an offset in a container that is close to the diameter of the offset. I put the small ones in a community pot. Place the containers in the shade, the sun can dry out the offsets if it is too extreme. The most important thing to remember is that there are no roots or leaves on these offsets. They don't lose very much moisture, and can't take very much up without roots. This means that you don't water these offsets like you would a regular plant, or a cutting. Moisten the offsets maybe once a week or once every other week just to keep them from desiccating. The offsets live from the starch contained in them so there is no need to treat them like cuttings. The offsets will root in faster if it is warm, but even during the warm months, it may take up to 8 months to root in and produce leaves. Once the offsets are fully rooted you can plant them in your normal medium, and put them out in your growing area. TB

    Bookmark   April 8, 2006 at 11:37PM
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love_the_yard(z9A Jax FL)

Ack! My post got hijacked. Could anyone please help me with MY question?

    Bookmark   April 9, 2006 at 9:41PM
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cycadjungle(z9b Cent FL)

Sorry, I answered the question stated on the heading, the way to remove pups, I just didn't address the leaves in the way. I always cut the lower leaves off because of what you are saying so I don't have this problem. You can hardly see what your doing without removing those leaves.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2006 at 10:01PM
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love_the_yard(z9A Jax FL)

Huh. I have always heard that pruning lower fronds to give the palm the appearance of a feather duster was bad for the palm and akin to crape murder for crape myrtles. I was hoping to be able to do it without removing the fronds. If I remove the fronds AND the pups, I'll be left with visible trunk and ground. Not really what I want. :(

    Bookmark   April 9, 2006 at 10:34PM
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Cycad I didnt mean to remove any of the pups, it was a transplant and it just happened during the transplant process. I would like these guys to take off and start growing.. there are quite a bit more still attached.. any advice? I saw one sago today for sale at HD and they had just cut in half some of the pups attached.. this cant be good..

    Bookmark   April 10, 2006 at 12:25AM
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cycadjungle(z9b Cent FL)

I've been thinking about this one all day. What you want to do doesn't have an easy answer, so the task won't be simple either. When I deliver large spiny cycads to people, I tie up the leaves so they are more upright. You may need someone else to help, but you may need to tie them up. I am known for always trying something new and have made a sleeve to tie up cycads for delivery so I don't get stuck bad. If you had some thick cloth, or better yet, burlap, if you loosely surrounded the stem and tied the top and bottom of the burlap, you could make a sleeve. You might need a second person but with this sleeve, the two of you could lift it up and it would hold all the leaves in an upright position. then untie it when you are finished.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2006 at 9:30PM
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mattyb1(10A San Diego)

Can you use an old umbrella and stick it in there and slowly open it up to push leaves aside and shelter you. Just a crazy visual I had.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2006 at 7:14PM
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love_the_yard(z9A Jax FL)

Wow, two great ideas, cycadjumgle and mattyb! And Cycad, I can't tell you how much I appreciate your "thinking about this one all day". That is so kind of you! I do have both some old sheets and an old umbrella. I will give the results after this coming weekend!

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2006 at 10:36PM
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Hi Cycadjungle,
Thanks for the instructions, but have some questions. How far from the top of the pup do I make my cut? Do you paint both the pup and the mother plant after removing the pup?
Last, can you remove more than one pup at a time or will it hurt the mother plant?
John Young

    Bookmark   August 16, 2007 at 5:40PM
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donray(7b Texas)

Hey John, Tom at cycadjungle no longer posts here, but you can reach him at the link below. Go to his forum and post all the questions you have. He is a very kind man and will usually respond the same day that evening. He is by far the best there is when it comes to cycads!

Here is a link that might be useful: cycad jungle

    Bookmark   August 16, 2007 at 6:29PM
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