Toxicity of remains of a sago palm?

yorkiefanOctober 13, 2013

Just a couple of days ago I found out how incredibly toxic sago palms are, and had to dig mine up for my dog's safety. I completely pulled out the root ball and disposed of the palm (about 12 inches diameter on the trunk, so it was a bit heavy) but did not get out the roots under the root ball maybe 1-1.5 feet deep and probably left a few other smaller roots. Will these remain toxic indefinitely? Do I need to go dig all of that back up, or do they need to be alive to remain toxic?

I have been keeping my dog away from the area and spent a lot of time making sure no pieces of the palm remained (e.g., no little chunks in the dirt), but I wonder how long this will be needed. She's a little yorkie so it wouldn't take much of it to hurt her, but conversely, I don't see her digging 1-1.5 feet in to get to the big roots left under the now removed root ball. Is there anything else I might need to do to protect her?

Man I hated removing that thing, as it has been here probably 30 years and was beautiful, but I just can't take any chances with my puppy.

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I had a garden with over 200 cycads in it (all toxic similarly) and I know of at least a dozen other cycad growers with far larger collections... all have dogs in their yards (I have dogs, too). Not a poisoning case among the lot. Yes they are poisonous (though not nearly as poisonous as something like an Oleander, Azaleas, Yew, Castor Bean, China Berry or even a Coral Tree). Problem with cycads is they don't taste that bad so are sometimes ingested by manic dogs. However, unless you have a manic dog that munches plastic-like foliage all the time (eats, not just chews on), or you have fruiting cycads (this is the real danger most often, and my friends with dogs do keep them away from maturing female cones) there is not necessarily too much to fear.

I have never heard of a Yorkie eating a toxic plant, but it can obviously happen. Usually when I see cycad toxicities in practice, it's a large dog like a lab as they are the ones that like to sample foliage most often. The cycad fruits taste pretty good to dogs which is the main concern with them, though a Yorkie couldn't reach a cone.

So if you ever end up with another cycad, and it cones, just chop the cone off and there will be no risk of fruits falling to the ground. As for the leaves, a yorkie would actually have to eat one of the leaves to get a toxic dose. So if you have a plant that is old and large enough with leaves that start higher up than a foot, you might be safe there anyway.

My dogs ignore my thousands of toxic plants- most hold no interest and most of those are bad tasting.. cycads are sharp and plastic-like, so my dogs are very uninterested in them.. but I have no labs or large dogs that might chew on something like that out of boredom. But if i had a Castor bean or coral tree in the back yard, I would probably have to move it, since seed of those fall to the ground and are extremely toxic. Seed may not be interesting, either, but they are small and super easy to eat, so I don't feel comfortable with that situation. Oleander is just too horrible tasting for dogs to even nibble on it, and frankly not heard of a toxicity in dogs with that one...

    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 9:37AM
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My yorkie is a puppy and puppies want to chew everything, so I didn't want her digging and getting a fresh root to chew on. Thankfully it didn't put out seeds (I have read of many yorkies killed by the seeds on a yorkie forum I participate in). But how long are the roots in the ground a worry if she digs there? Right now I never let her in that area and she is always supervised outside, but I wonder how long it will be before I can start planting flowers there without fear of her getting sick from one of the roots if she starts digging in that garden where the sago used to be. My pup absolutely loves digging, including occasionally digging up a flower or two.

Now the big roots are all gone in the first foot of soil, but I'm sure there have to be a few of the smaller roots I didn't get, since you can never assume you did something 100% correctly.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 9:57AM
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