How to Prune Cycads

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Keep a tropical garden lush by regularly trimming cycads.
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Cycads, a prehistoric plant family, resemble palm trees with their large, green fronds and rough trunks. These tropical plants thrive in warm environments, growing easily without extreme coaxing or care. Watch the growth of a cycad in the landscape and prune it periodically to keep it healthy and attractive. Although exceedingly slow growing, with the proper technique, pruning cycads will help them produce the signature umbrella appearance with the textured trunks.


Step 1

Examine the base of the cycad to find any yellowing and browning leaves. It is common for the oldest leaves of cycads to yellow and brown over time.

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Step 2

Position the pruning shears on a discolored leaf, as close to the trunk as possible. Snip the leaf off cleanly with the pruning shears. Repeat the same process with each discolored leaf.

Step 3

Discard each leaf you remove. Never leave pruned foliage on the soil around a plant. This practice can lead to disease.


Although discolored leaves are common, yellowed leaves can also be an indication of growing problems in cycads. Over watering and over fertilizing can cause old leaves to yellow. Over fertilizing and depleted soil can cause new leaves to yellow.

Removing discolored leaves frees the plant to direct energy toward new growth. Prune cycads at least once per year during any season.

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