a complete guide – ISPUZZLE

The sago palm, botanically known as Cycas revoluta, is not really related to the palm family. Instead, it is a cycad, and there are about 40 species of sago palm.

They have been around since prehistoric times and give a tropical vibe everywhere.

Although they look very similar to palm trees in appearance, they are very different from them.

The sturdy trunk and crown of bright green leaves make them very attractive for landscaping

They are native to tropical regions and like to grow in places with warm temperatures.

These palms need bright sunshine to thrive, but they also do well in partial shade when in warmer climates

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Why do sago palm leaves curl?

a sago palmThese slow-growing plants produce a new set of leaves each year. These new leaves are quite fragile when they come out.

But once they mature, they become tough and virtually resistant to most challenges their environment throws at them.

Of course, the new leaves emerging from the main stem slowly curl and straighten to form the appropriate leaves.

If it doesn’t curl properly or produces unnatural curls, it indicates some sort of underlying disorder. Unnatural curls can have several causes. The most common are:

1) Abnormal watering

Your sago palm can get sick from improper watering.

They only need a moderate amount of water, but don’t let them dry out completely.

If not properly hydrated, the glossy, shiny leaves can lose their luster and curl abnormally.

2) Nutrient deficiency

The most common nutrient deficiency your sago palm may experience is: manganese shortage.

Sometimes the soil may be naturally deficient in manganese or the sago palm may not have the proper fertilization to cause such problems.

Soils with extreme pH can also make it difficult to retain manganese. As a result, the sago palm is unable to extract the necessary nutrients from the soil.

The defect appears as yellow spots on the plant and can cause the leaves to gradually curl abnormally.

3) fungal diseases

Although sago palms are quite disease resistant, they can often become infected with various fungal pathogens.

Phytophthora is the most common pathogen responsible for root rot. It can cause damage to any part of the plant.

Early symptoms of the disease include leaf yellowing, which then gradually affects the leaves and causes them to curl.

Why does the sago palm turn yellow?

Sago palm trees can have yellow leaves due to many different issues, but the most common conditions are described below:

1) Scale Attack

The most common pests that disturb sago palms are the Asian scale insect.

These pests are found on the underside of the leaf where they invade the vascular system of the leaves and suck the sap.

This causes a lack of nutrients and the leaves turn yellow.

2) Over-fertilization

Applying too much fertilizer to sago palm can cause the leaves to drop and take on a yellowish tint.

Over-absorption of minerals can burn the plant and its leaves. This causes discoloration and browning of leaf edges.

The damage gradually affects the entire leaf and can lead to leaf drop.

3) Place them in cold temperatures

Cold weather prevents sago palms from absorbing nutrients from the soil.

Freezing temperatures can cause yellowing in this way and the only remedy is to allow the plants to survive the weather.

4) Move the plant to another location

The sago palm does not like to be disturbed frequently. If you move your palms from place to place often enough, your soles can go into shock.

Repeated root damage causes the palm tree to stop growing. It takes time to adjust to the new setting and it can cause existing leaves to turn yellow.

The leaves may also be bruised from the physical test and may also become discolored as a result of the damage.

You may also be interested in: How to Save a Palm Tree with Too Much Water

Sago palm diseases and problems

You should be on the lookout for the following diseases and issues that can seriously harm your sago palm:

1) Sooty mold

The sooty fungus does not grow directly on the palm, but rather feeds on the sugary secretions left behind by sap-sucking insects such as aphids, scale insects and scale insects.

The fungus coats all the leaves, giving them a dusty, sooty appearance.

This prevents sunlight from penetrating the leaves and reduces the plant’s ability to produce food.

This can easily kill the sago palm, so it is best to control the disease even if minor signs start to appear.

2) brown mold/brown fuzz

A close up of a sago palm

As already mentioned above, Phytophthora fungi are the most common pathogen to infect sago palm.

This brown fungus attacks the bark if there is enough moisture. It usually attacks when the temperature is cool and the humidity is higher than normal.

When the fungus takes hold of the plant, the bark cracks and the precious sap escapes. The bark eventually turns brown and completely falls off the plant.

The damage causes stunted growth and leaf drop. If not checked in time, the palm tree can very quickly lose its beauty and health.

3) Ganoderma butt rot

Another fungus called Ganoderma zonatum is commonly found to decay the trunks of sago palms.

The fungus is spread by spores and can appear out of nowhere without any warning signs. The infected palm shows weak growth and appears to be withered.

Once the palm tree is infected, it becomes impossible to treat it.

The only solution to the problem is to uproot the plant as soon as possible to prevent the infection from spreading to other nearby plants.

Other sago palms should not be planted in soil where previous plants had this type of problem.

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How to save a dying sago palm?

Follow the respective steps to save your dying sago palm:

1) Correct watering schedule

Watering sparingly will help keep your sago palm healthy. When you water, soak the soil and be careful not to overdo it.

Water it the next time the soil is completely dry. Normally, watering the sago palm once a week is sufficient. Also be careful never to water the foliage of the palm tree.

Wetting the leaves exposes the plants to fungal attack and also causes yellowing of the leaves. Therefore, special attention should be paid to this.

2) Keep your palm away from pests

If your sago palm is infested with pests, it is best to use biological control agents to eliminate them.

Neem oil works wonders in these kinds of situations and helps keep pests from coming back. Leaves affected by scale should be pruned.

Severely damaged leaves should be completely cut off. You can also use a homemade insecticidal soap spray to repel sap-feeding aphids.

Only use chemical pesticides as a last resort if problems get out of control.

3) A good diet

Sago palms are not so picky when it comes to nutrition. However, if they retain certain nutrients like manganese, etc., they can seriously harm plant growth.

To avoid such an accident, plan meals evenly spaced throughout the palm’s growing season. The main growth takes place from April to mid-September.

The fertilizer of choice for sago palms is slow release palm fertilizer. Regular compost does not benefit sago palms as much.

If your palm is deficient in manganese, you can fix it by applying manganese sulfate.

4) Plant your palm tree in favorable areas

Sago palms grow well when planted in well-drained, airy soil. They don’t like crowding.

Adequate spacing must be maintained between adjacent plants so that the sago palm has enough room to grow.

A sufficiently sunny spot will solve most of your problems. Also be sure to avoid mulching around the base of the plant.

This causes moisture buildup and can lead to unnecessary fungal diseases.

In the unlikely event that your plant becomes infected with root rot, it is best to transplant it elsewhere.

Although mature palms don’t tolerate transplanting well, it’s worth saving your plant early.

Final Thoughts: How to Fix Sago Palm Problems

a sago palmSago palms are majestic plants that are part of any tropical garden you can find.

Although quite hardy, they do require a little extra care with certain diseases.

By reading all the information above, I am sure you can solve all your sago palm problems without breaking a sweat.

Before you go, here are some more related articles that I encourage you to read below to solve more of your gardening problems:

How to Fix Kentia Palm Problems

Palma Kentia v Palma Areca

Can I put my Kentia palm outside?

About the Author:

Saad Anzar

Saad is an avid gardener and a great lover of plants, animals, photography and people. Currently, his focus is on indoor plant photography and captioning beautiful landscapes. Write and rewrite feature articles on nature and science.

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