How to Remove a Sago Palm?- Easy Step Guide

Do you have a Sago Palm in your garden and you wanna move it? Yes, then this post is definitely for you. Today we will discuss some of the methods to remove a sago palm from its place. Let me make it clear we are not going to kill any plant. A Sago’s palm is a beautiful and very costly plant. You may have spent $100s to grow and care for it. No one wants to waste effort and money especially if it has cost years to perfect.

How to Remove a Sago Palm
How to Remove a Sago Palm?

Check out my previous post:  How to Grow and Care Roma Tomatoes?

Introducing Sago Palm

The scientific name of Sago Palm is ‘Cycas revoluta’. It is a very old plant species that belongs to one of the oldest plant family-‘Cycadaceae’.

The Sago palm plant is native to the tropical southern islands of Japan. In the United States, you can grow it in USDA zone 8 and Above.

Some common names of sago palm are Japanese palm, king sago, sago cycad, or funeral sago. Although it has Palm in its name still it is not a Palm tree. In fact, Sago Palm is a gymnosperm, coniferous plant. It is more like a pine tree.

Ever Sago Palm is unique in its existence. It can either have a male or female reproductive part. That’s why sago cannot reproduce sexually on its own.

These plants are very slow growers. It can take 80-100 years to mature and reach its maximum height of up to 25 feet.

Only fully grown mature sago’s palm can produce gametes for sexual reproduction. The male plant grows a 2 feet long conical yellow colled extension at the center. At the same time, the nearby female plant will develop a spherical furry ball-like structure. It will produce 2 inches big Sago seeds once successfully fertilized.  This phenomenon is very rare in modern gardens.

The sago palm is popular for its prehistoric-looking spiny leaves. The leaves of a sago palm can grow up to 5 feet long and 8-10 inches wide. These leaves are a treat for the eyes but not so for your skin. It has shape spiny tips that can easily pierce into your skin.

Therefore,  never grow a sago palm near a lane or playground. Also, make sure it is settled in an isolated location so that your children or pets don’t interact with it. Sago’s palm is very dangerous for pets, especially for dogs and cats. So make sure they don’t eat any part of the plant.

Can you move a Sago Palm?

Yes, you can move a Sago Palm from one location to another. The size of the plant will decide whether you can do it easily or you need some extra helping hands.

A medium-size sago palm can be heavier than a motorcycle. It can be a tedious task to lift and shift the plant with its spiny leaves.

Asking your friends or neighbors for help is a good idea in this situation.

Does Sago Palm have deep roots?

A sago Plam doesn’t have a deep root system as compared to its height. Although it can have few long vertical roots which you can easily get rid of. The root ball of a 5 feet sago palm can spread at most 2 feet in diameter.

The root ball grows with time and eventually becomes very heavy. Almost 70-80% weight of the whole sago palm is in this root ball.

The mature sago palm can have a root ball bigger than 6 feet in diameter and weighs more than 1000 lb (pounds).

Read more about Can You Grow Corn From Popcorn Kernels?

How to Dig up a Sago Palm?

  • If the sago palm is a single individual plant. Then start with clearing the area around its root ball. Remove every unwanted item to clear the space. You will need at least 2 feet of clear area in all directions of the plant.
  • Next start removing soil around the root ball. Use a sharp deep shovel to remove the soil.
  • Remove soil by digging the area around the rootball. Dig deep enough to reach the lowest portion of the roots. Basically, you may have to dig a pit at least half the size of the actual plant.
  • Use a crowbar to move and shift it from its place. Meanwhile, remove the extended root system and some of the lower leaves for comfort.
  • You can cut most of the root extensions including the main taproot. It will not harm the plant until the main root ball is intact.
  • Place the uprooted plant in a Wheelbarrow or a wide tarp and drag it to the new planting location.

Sometimes you can have several baby plants or pups growing beneath the main sago palm. You should first remove each of the pups to dig up the main sago palm.

why gardeners fail-improper soil managements

How to Remove Large Sago Palm Pups?

Sago Palm with pups can be a little tricky to remove. The plant will be heavy and the extra foliage and roots will harden the tasks. Therefore, ask a friend or anyone to help out with this. You will definitely need an extra hand this time.

The pups of so palm can be of different sizes. A 5-8 feet sago palm pup can weigh 300-500 pounds. It can have a 3-4 feet wide rootball of its own. It is a pup which means the roots must have interconnected sections. This can be a problem to get rid of.

Therefore you must start with cleaning and then diggings.

  • After cleaning and digging the root ball. Locate the junction point of the parent sag palm and its pups.
  • Use a sharp shovel or a hex saw to cut the pups out. Mark clean vertical cuts in the rootball section between both plants. They must be separated before shifting.
  • Now tie a thick rope around each pup and drag it out of the pit area. You can also use a crowbar and shovel to lift it off the hole.
  • Place the pups in a wheelbarrow and shift to the desired location.
  • You must remove extra lower leaves and root extensions before shifting the sago palm pups. It will be more comfortable to move without lots of spiny leaves.

 How to remove a Dead sago Palm?

A dead sago palm is quite easy to remove. Although dead large sago palms can be dangerous to handle. These palms can break or fall while digging. They can have internal damage or serious rotting.

Therefore, you must check the plant for its strength before digging its roots. Don’t dig the root ball if it fails the basic strength test.

You can simply strike the trunk with a hammer or hard stick. If it sounds like a drum then it has internal rot. Heavy jerk or push and break the trunk which can cause an accident.

So either ask for professional help or follow these safety precautions will working.

  • Tie a long thick rope or chain with the dead sago palm.
  • Pull the palm toward any open direction opposite to your working area.
  • Lock the rope or chain to this tensioned state, so that it will keep forcing the plant to move along its side.
  • This is a very effective measure to avoid any accident. Even if the trunk break it will fall in the direction of the rope. You will be safe but keep an eye on it during work.
  •  As the plant is dead you can also cut it off to ease the task. This will also reduce the risk of accidents.
  • Finally, dig the hole around its root ball. Remove the soil, cut the roots, and put the plant upward using a crowbar.
  • The dead sago will eventually fall with little effort on the crowbar.
  • You can also give it a little thrust by pulling the tied rope from a safe distance.  Simply tie the other end with your car and pull it out with care.

How much cost to remove a sago palm?

You may have to spend an average of $200-$300 to remove a sago palm. The professional diggers will use heavy machinery and lose your pocket a little bit more.

The best and most affordable way to remove a sago palm is by taking the help of your friends, neighbors, and family members. You may have to spend 100 bucks for drink and dining but it is better than paying professionals. The best part is you can have a fine get-together just for your garden help. Who knows- maybe someone will take an extra sago palm pups and help you for free. Simply let others know about the situation and some will definitely come for help.

What is your best way to remove a sago palm? let us know in the comments. Check out this How to Maintain perfect Compost to soil ratio? I’ll wait for your reply.

Till then, Keep reading keep gardening!


Hi, My name is Sukant. I am an I.T professional. Gardening for me is not just a hobby, it's a way of living life with nature. My Ancestors were Commercial farmers: So I personally feel attached to the green. I am not an expert, I'm here only to share my gardening experiences. It's always Refreshing.

One thought on “How to Remove a Sago Palm?- Easy Step Guide

  1. Thank you so much for you information. I live in the Florida Panhandle and bought a house that has 2 large Sego palms that have large pups growing at the base. They are so large that one of the trees is starting to lean a bit as the large pup is pushing it . I am going to attempt to remove the pups. Hurricane Michael devastated this area and the palms survived. I have 2 really tall Palms that are not Sego but the winds whipped the palm fronds and the fronds are all dying. If I remove the dying fronds do the trees stand a chance of living? I am going to remove their pups also. Many of the round seeds are in the ground sprouting out now. Should I leave them alone until they are bigger? And I also have 2 palms that are maybe 15 feet tall that need to be moved as they were planted too close to a building. Can that be successfully done? I would appreciate all information you can give me. Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Posts