Transplanting Sago Palms – How To Transplant Sago Palm Trees
Sago palms are one of the most popular tropical trees in the world. They grow well in almost any climate conditions and they provide shade for many other plants.
There are two species of saguaros: the big and small ones (Pelargonium grandiflorum). The smaller saguaro is much preferred because it produces fruit twice a year instead of once every three years.
The biggest saguaro tree grows up to 50 meters tall and its fruits ripen from May until October. It’s not uncommon to see them in parks or gardens during these months.
You may even see them growing on your roof!
Sago palms are native to South America and their seeds germinate easily in moist soil. When they mature, they produce a single seed which sprouts into a new sapling.
The leaves of the sago palm are edible and have been used medicinally for centuries. They’re often eaten raw with fish sauce or cooked like spinach or kale.
The sago palm is also the national tree of the Bahamas.
The sago palm has a fibrous straw-like trunk covered in stiff sharp spines. When mature, a sago palm can grow up to 15 meters tall.
It flowers only rarely and develops a single fruit that ripens after 90 to 150 days. Once ripe, the sago palm fruit attracts many birds that feed on it.
The sago palm has a huge root system that spreads up to 15 meters away from the trunk. It’s possible to move a sago palm by digging up the root and replanting it in a different location.
How To Transplant Sago Palms
The sago palm is a very resilient tree that can survive under adverse conditions. It can easily survive in deserts, shores, rain forests and even in the polar regions.
It can survive in temperatures of up to 45 degrees or even -5 degrees. It can thrive in moist or dry soil and with little rainfall.
It’s quite easy to move a sago palm and you should only do it after the tree matures and starts producing fruit. Once this happens, transplanting the saguaro becomes very risky because its roots are firmly entrenched in the soil.
The sago palm has a huge and complex root system that spreads underneath the surface of the ground. The only way to safely transplant a sago palm is to make a deep trench around it and then carefully remove the roots from the soil.
Take out as many roots as you can and plant them in the trench after you dug it up.
Prepare the new location about 1 to 2 meters away from the old one. Dig a hole that’s three times wider than the root system of the sago palm and about twice as deep.
This will ensure that the new tree gets enough water and nourishment.
Carefully remove as many roots as you can from the soil without breaking them. Put as much soil as you can in a bucket or a bag and then use the spade to carefully lever the rest of it out of the ground.
Take out as many roots as you can without breaking them.
Once you’ve taken out as many roots as you can, soak the root ball of the saguaro in water to make it softer and easier to remove more roots. You should soak it for several hours or even over night if necessary.
While you wait, take the time to remove as much of the grass and weeds in the new plot. Dig up the grass and weeds and put them all in a bucket.
This will ensure that your sago palm has enough nutrients in the new location.
With the root ball soaked, remove as many more roots as you can. Don’t worry if you can’t get all of them out because you’ll be able to replant the root system correctly once it’s in the hole.
Now take the root ball and place it in the middle of the new plot. The saguaro cactus should be about 1 to 2 meters away from trees, buildings or any other obstructions.
If necessary dig out more soil in the new plot until you’re satisfied with its position.
Carefully fill up the hole around the roots with the soil that you removed from the original plot and some extra dirt to ensure that it’s fluffy.
Water the sago palm well and then place a few branches around the root ball to hold the root system in place. Be careful that you don’t step on or damage the roots as you place the branches around it.
The sago palm will need about 3 months to get accustomed to its new position before you can start harvesting fruit from it. You can encourage new growth by cutting the top of the tree back by about 30% after planting it in its new position.
Once the sago palm has started to grow new leaves, you should start harvesting its fruit about once every two weeks. At first, the skin of the saguaro will be green, but as it ripens, it will turn a golden yellow.
The fruit tastes best when it turns yellow and falls off the tree on its own accord or you can pick it yourself when ready. It should be soft enough that it dents under your fingers when you press on it.
When you pick the fruit, cut off the top and scoop out the fluffy flesh with a knife. You can eat it fresh, or you can dry it in the sun and then grind it into a fine powder.
The fruit is very nutritious and loaded with vitamins and minerals. It’s rich in complex carbohydrates, which give your body a quick burst of energy and it also contains soluble fiber, which is great for maintaining a healthy digestive system.
It’s rich in antioxidants and the soluble fiber will help to keep your cholesterol levels low.
Saguaro cactus fruit juice is a great remedy for rehydration. It has a mild flavor and is naturally sweet, so it’s not unpalatable like some other candidates for dehydration remedies are!
The fruit can also be used to make wine, jam or jelly although you should remove the seeds first.
Saguaro syrup is another popular way of using the saguaro fruit. To make the syrup, you must first remove the flesh from the fruit and then cook it down to a thick syrup consistency.
It can be stored for up to a year if kept in a sealed jar in a cool, dry place.
The cacti itself can be cut up into small pieces and used as firewood. It gives off a nice, steady heat and will last for around 2 hours depending on the size of log that you use.
Saguaros are very strong plants and they only have one natural predator: the gila monster. These fat, sluggish lizards grow to about 1 meter in length and they love munching on saguaro fruit.
They also love the cacti themselves and will happily make a meal of a young saguaro, killing it in the process. The saguaro’s survival instinct is to release a nasty toxin when it feels threatened. Not only does this toxin kill the lizard, but it also deters other lizards and animals from dining on it in the future.
The saguaro is a magnificent plant that has become a symbol of the American southwest. It’s one tough survivor that has successfully adapted to its environment over thousands of years.
It’s a true marvel of nature.
Saguaro seeds can be collected in the fall and can be sown straight away or stored until the following spring. If you want to collect your own seeds, make sure that you leave plenty of fruit to grow into new saguaros!
Saguaro seedlings are extremely small and delicate and they need to be kept in a warm, dry place until they are large enough to handle. If you are lucky enough to have acquired some saguaro seeds, then treat them with extra care!
Saguaro seedlings require a lot of attention and love. If you don’t feel up to the task, it’s best to leave them to grow on their own.
The saguaro is a hardy plant that has survived for centuries in a land of intense heat and scarce resources, it can probably survive without your help.
Saguaro seedlings are extremely slow growing. It takes years for them to grow large and strong enough to withstand the rigors of the desert.
Only then will they start to flower, but this is a very small bloom and it won’t produce any fruit. It takes another few decades before they reach sexual maturity and start producing delicious fruit. To reach this point, they must be at least 20 years old.
You can help the process along by providing some basic care. Give them enough water and they should grow a little quicker.
Fertilizer will help boost the growth rate as well.
Saguaros can live for hundreds of years. The oldest known saguaros (not including those that went unrecorded) are both found in Arizona.
They are both over 1400 years old!
The largest saguaro is found near Phoenix, Az. It’s over 18 meters tall!
That’s taller than a five-story building!
The Gila monster is the saguaro’s only natural predator. It’s a sluggish lizard that grows to about 1 meter in length.
It is also the only reptile native to Arizona that can survive in its heat.
The Tonto Apaches and other Native Americans of the region used to harvest the saguaro fruit, but they had to be careful not to harvest too much or the cacti would die out. They would only harvest enough to get them through the winter.
The saguaro fruit has great nutritional value. It’s high in vitamins A and C and also provides a considerable amount of carbohydrates.
It can be eaten raw or cooked, but when cooked it becomes sweeter and less acidic. It can be made into jam, syrup, or jelly.
The saguaro is also a source of water. It can be cut and then holes can be punched into the pulp.
The water that leaks out can be drunk or collected in containers for later use.
The saguaro provides excellent shelter when nothing else is available. They can be used to block the sun from your skin during the day and they can keep you out of the cool night air.
Saguaros grow in clusters called populations. Each population is separated by miles of open, arid desert and each population has hundreds or even thousands of members.
Most populations grow slowly and only a few reach old age. The average life expectancy of saguaros is about 150 years, some don’t make it past their second century.
The saguaro is a resilient plant that has survived unchanged since the days of the dinosaurs. It has changed locations to adapt to climate changes, but it has never been pushed into extinction.
It grows only in the Sonoran desert of Arizona, and a small part of Mexico. It grows best in areas that have permanent access to groundwater, but it also grows in areas that are occasionally flooded with seasonal rainfall.
You can tell if a saguaro has been taken within the past 5 years, because it will not have grown more than 12 inches. After 10-20 years it will start to grow longer branches and another 10-20 years it will grow flowers.
This is nature’s way of telling you that the cactus fruit is ready for picking.
There are many different types of bees that rely on the saguaro blossom as their sole food source. Only after all the blossoms have been pollinated and the fruit has been harvested do the bees die off.
The saguaro reproduces in two ways. The first (and most common) is through sexual reproduction with pollen and seeds.
The second is much more interesting. It reproduces asexual by creating clones of itself! This happens when a limb falls off and roots grow out of it. This new saguaro is attached to the original one and shares all its memories. Over time this new saguaro can grow bigger and even smarter than the original.
The saguaro has many different kinds of predators. Mountain lions and bears will eat the fruit, but their main diet consists of the saguaro’s flesh.
The tortoise likes to munch on young saguaros. Humans have also played a big part in declining saguaro populations, but it is not clear whether we are a predator or a herbivore.
The saguaro is a sun-loving cactus that stores water in its body so that it can grow in places where nothing else can live. It has long thin branches that grow up and out, searching for the sun.
Each arm can grow to be over thirty feet long and when they get too long they can bend to the ground and root there.
In this adventure you will learn about the fascinating creature known as the saguaro cactus.
You are walking through the hot, dry desert when suddenly you see something in the distance. It appears to be a person lying on the ground.
You walk closer and that’s when you realize it isn’t a person at all. It’s a saguaro cactus. What you thought was a shoulder is really a thick, green branch and what you thought was an arm is really a smaller branch. Its skin is green, not because it is alive, but because it is covered with a thick layer of overlapping limas that protect it from the sun and skin-rippers like you.
You get closer and closer until you are just a foot away from the cactus. It doesn’t move at all.
It doesn’t even blink. You reach out to touch its skin and find that it feels leathery, not slimy like a mushroom. It doesn’t feel rough or gritty like you thought it might. In fact, if it weren’t for its green color and unusual shape, you might mistake it for a person.
You run your hand from top to bottom, all the way down the cactus’s back. It feels so strange to you that you do it again, this time a little slower.
After doing this several times, you notice that there are tiny hairs coming out of the skin. They are so small that you almost missed them altogether.
You take a deep breath and run your hand up the cactus from bottom to top this time. You notice that the hairs feel stiffer on this side of the cactus.
They aren’t as soft as a flower petal or a cloud, but they aren’t as scratchy as you thought they would be either.
All of a sudden, you see something move out of the corner of your eye. You turn and see another cactus move further down the line.
Maybe there are people inside these cactuses and they are hiding from you. You step back to get a better look at the other cactuses. That’s when you notice that they are all moving!
Not all of them, but many of them have small arms and legs poking out from their sides or backs. A few even have a tiny head with one eye poking out at you.
It’s as if each cactus had a child hide inside it.
What you saw at first made sense. The cactuses rolled over on their sides so that their children were protected from the sun and from predators like you.
Even though there are no flowers or ripe fruit on the cactuses, they are still able to reproduce. Nature is wonderful that way.
You walk a little closer and touch another cactus. The children inside it all roll over and hide from you.
They want nothing to do with someone who might eat them or their mother. You get down on your knees and crawl between the saguaros. There are so many of them that you feel as if you’ve been transported to another world–a world of living cactuses and hidden children.
You crawl from one saguaro to another until you come to one with arms and legs poking out on the bottom and a tiny head peeking out from the top. It is slowly inching its way out from the safety of its mother so that it can get a better look at you.
You reach out and gently touch its skin. It feels cool and leathery just like the other saguaros.
It doesn’t move or try to get away. It just stares at you with its little eye. You give it a little tickle and it lets out the tiniest giggle you’ve ever heard. The cactus child thinks you’re playing!
You play with that cactus child for hours. You dance from saguaro to saguaro and from cactus to cactus.
You crawl under them and peekaboo between their skin and arms and legs and try not to get too close to their spiky bits. You make up a song about cactuses and the cactus children have never laughed so hard. The sound of their giggles bounces around among the saguaros and fills the whole desert with music.
When you finally crawl out from between the cactuses, the sun is going down and your mom is calling you home to supper. You don’t want to leave, but the saguaros will still be here tomorrow if you want to come back and play again.
You make a promise to yourself to come back tomorrow if you can. You make a lot of promises to yourself when you were little, but as you get older it seems that you have less and less time to keep them.
As you walk home, you feel sad that you aren’t going to see the cactuses children again. They are so cute and so much fun to play with.
But, as you walk through town something amazing happens. A tiny arm and hand stick out from the side of a building. A little grinning head peeks out from behind the corner. Your heart leaps with joy. The cactus children aren’t letting you go that easy!
Everywhere you look now, you see little arms and hands poking out from behind buildings and shy heads peeking out from around corners. You have to keep reminding yourself that they are just illusions; the desert air and the setting sun are playing tricks on your eyes.
But it sure is fun to pretend they are real!
You have so much fun playing with the cactus children that you forget all about supper. Your mom is going to be so mad at you!
You hope she doesn’t get the belt because if she does you know it will probably be your fault. You’ll have to sneak out again after she goes to bed so you can go see the cactus children again. You hope they will still be there tomorrow night. They seemed so happy to see you that you don’t think they will disappear like ghosts do.
But, who knows about things like this?
Maybe the desert will swallow them back up before tomorrow night.
You creep into the house as quietly as you can and hide in the corner behind the door. You don’t have to wait long before you hear your mom call out from the kitchen:
Where are you?
Come here this minute!” Her voice sounds really mad, but she never finds you hiding in the corner.
The next morning, you sneak out of the house before your mom wakes up. You don’t even bother putting on your shoes.
It only takes a few minutes to run to the edge of the desert and once again the saguaros are there waiting for you.
The cactii children are nowhere to be seen. You call out to them, but there is no answer.
You don’t want to play hide and seek again. You want to play something else. Maybe if you look around you can find something new to do.
You walk past the prickly pear patch and around a tall saguaro. The ground starts to slope down and before you, is a big hole in the ground.
It is really dark inside and looks like the opening to a cave.
Have you discovered a real Indian Cave?
You’ve heard about them, but you’ve never seen one before. You find a stick to grab onto and lower yourself into the hole. It’s harder than it looks and you scrape your leg and elbow pretty good, but it sure beats climbing down using just your hands.
The cave is dark inside and you can’t see anything. Just to be safe you decide to wait until your eyes adjust to the dark before you go exploring.
While you are waiting, you take a look at your scraped up elbow and wiggle your toes to make sure nothing is broken. That’s when you hear a little voice say:
“She didn’t follow you this time.”
You look around, but don’t see anyone. Then you remember the cactii children.
They must live in the cave!
Did you live in this cave?”
you ask, but there is no answer. You lean forward to get a better look at the darkness and call out:
Once again, silence.
Are the cactii children afraid of you?
Maybe they have never seen a human before. You stand up real straight and tall so they can see how friendly you are and call out a little louder:
“My name is Timothy.
What are your names?”
Still, no answer. Not wanting to frighten them, you make your voice soft as you ask:
Do you live here all alone?”
It is then that you hear a little voice coming from the darkest corner of the cave and it says:
“No, I have friends here.”
Do you go to school?”
you ask, trying to make small talk.
What is school?”
the voice asks back.
“Well, it’s a place where kids go and learn lots of things…” Just then it hits you that maybe these children have never been to school!
They might not know about such things! You don’t want to scare them, so you quickly change the subject:
Do you have any fruit to eat?”
“We like fruit,” the voice says back to you. “Come on out and I’ll give you some.”
At this point, I’ve got to tell you that you are getting really curious about who (or what) might be talking to you from the darkness. You decide it would be best if you could see what you are talking to.
You reach out and grab hold of a prickly pear cactus that grows along the cave wall. Using it as a shield so you don’t get too close to the dark corner, you bend your knees and leap into the air.
Just in time, you see three beady little eyes staring back at you from the blackness. You land hard on both feet, but your momentum is carrying you forward.
So you throw the cactus in front of you like a spear and pray that it hits its mark.
You hear a shriek followed by the flapping of tiny wings. You don’t stop to see what happened, but turn and run for the entrance as fast as you can.
You can hear something close behind you and it isn’t stopping either.
Sources & references used in this article:
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Growth performance of sago palms (Metroxylon sagu Rottb.) in peat of different depth and soil water table by JF Shoon, A WATANABE, D HIRABAYASHI… – 2006 – pdfs.semanticscholar.org
Folk classification of the sago palm (Metroxylon spp.) among the Galela by S Yoshida – Senri Ethnological Studies, 1980 – minpaku.repo.nii.ac.jp
Relationship between geographical distribution and genetic distance of sago palm in Malay Archipelago by H Ehara, S Kosaka, N Shimura, D Matoyama, O Morita… – Sago Palm, 2003 – sagopalm.jp
Acclimatization of sago palm (Metroxylon sagu) outside its natural habitat by LEE Rallos, JMT Javier, JF Colcol… – Formerly Nature’s …, 2007 – agris.fao.org
Transplanted sucker stem growth in sago palm (Metroxylon sagu Rottb.) before trunk formation. by S Nakamura, K Nabeya, M Akama… – Improving food, energy …, 2013 – cabdirect.org
Commercialization of sago through estate plantation scheme in Sarawak: The Way Forward by H Mohamad Naim, AN Yaakub… – International Journal of …, 2016 – hindawi.com