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How to Kill a Sago Palm

By Irum Sarfaraz ; Updated July 21, 2017

The sago palm (Cycas revoluta) is a member of the Cycadaeae plant family and is also referred to as funeral palm and Japanese sago palm. The tree is a native of Japan and grows to a mature height of 10 to 12 feet with 4- to 5-foot-long, glossy, dark green leaves. Slow-growing sago palms are female or male, with the female plant producing a reproductive structure from the center of the foliage. Ohio State University recommends using herbicide for effectively removing unwanted trees from the landscape.

Select a product with the active ingredient glyphosate. The general-use herbicide kills all woody plants, weeds and grass. Choose an undiluted, water-soluble formula, as this is more effective than esters or the oil-soluble formula.

Cut down the tree to a stump using a sharp axe. Make the stump surface smooth and level to keep the herbicide from flowing off. Though you can use glyphosate at any time of the year, the recommended time is August and September.

Spray the entire surface of the stump on diameter less than 3 inches. If the stump diameter is more than 3 inches, spray only the 2 to 3 inches right next to the bark, as the inner heartwood of larger trees is already dead.

Apply the spray to the fresh-cut stump right away. If you were not able to do this immediately, make a new cut on the stump to expose fresh tree tissue before using the herbicide.

Avoid using glyphosate on extremely hot days or on severely drought stressed trees. Do not spray chemical on a stump if there is a chance of rain within six hours of application. Repeat the application after seven to 10 days.

Leave the dead stump as it is or grind to a depth of about a foot below the soil line with a stump grinder.


About the Author


Irum Sarfaraz is a freelance writer with over 20 years of nonfiction writing experience in newspaper op-eds and magazine writing, book editing, translating and research writing. Sarfaraz is originally from Pakistan and has been published in both American and Pakistani newspapers and magazines. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature, and diplomas in nonfiction writing.