Frizzle Top in Sago Palms

Source(s): Jacob G Price

Frizzle top is a condition in palm trees as well as Sago palms that causes newly emerged leaves to become yellowed, frizzled and distorted. The condition is caused by a deficiency in Manganese (Mn), a micronutrient needed by Sago’s.

pH and Mn in Sago Palms

The optimal pH for Sago’s is 6.0-6.5.. The optimal tissue analysis for Mn in Sago’s is 50-250 ppm. For every one point increase in pH, the availability of Mn decreases 100 times. In other words, Mn is 100 times more available in a 6.5 pH than a 7.5 pH. The Sago pictured on the left has a 7.5 pH and less than lOppm Mn.

Fertilizer Program to Prevent Frizzle Top in Sago’s

To remedy manganese deficiencies, spray leaves with a solution of 1 tsp/gallon of water monthly for three months. Have a soil analysis performed in the root zone around problem Sago’s to analyze pH. Fertilize Sago’s with 1.0 pound of palm fertilizer in April and September. Soils with a pH higher than 6.5 or with a history of frizzle top problems, should be fertilized with 1 to 5 pounds (depending on size) of Manganese Sulfate in September. Apply 1 pound of Manganese Sulfate each September to prevent problems.

If lower leaves show an unusual amount of yellowing, add 1 pound of Magnesium Sulfate in June. Apply all fertilizers in a 100 square foot area around the plant. Most of the root mass in Sago palms is near the trunk with some roots extending to the edge of the leaves. If the pH was in a normal range the Sago may have problems other than frizzle top. Refer to previous fact sheet for other Sago problems.

Jacob Price
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