Cycad Pruning

Many growers and collectors and enthusiasts believe in pruning, whilst some others do not quite.

 

Healthy plants will always flush new fronds soon after being pruned. They will maintain steady growth an likely flush annually. Excessive pruning places the plant under stress and will cause the caudex (stem) of the plant to thin out towards the crown as it grows. It is not recommended to prune seedlings and plantlings, as it could be fatal.

 

On the other hand, leaving the fronds on and only removing them once completely dead, allows the cycads to grow much  faster and fatter whilst not not easily noticed with the naked eye. 

 

When left with many leaves, cycads expand their root system as far as possible to collect all the moisture and nutrition required for growth. Stem expansion can be noticed over the long term, as the leaves are being dropped whilst the crown grows.The crown grows by producing many cataphylls. cataphylls are reduced leaves that are modified to perform specialised functions. 

 

In the case of cycads, they protect the inner crown whilst the plant is producing new leaves, or cones for reproduction, whilst also contributing toward growth. Having the same footprint on the stem as a leaf base, cataphylls contribute more towards growth when produced in large numbers in-between flushes of new leaves. 

 

It however does ultimately come down to personal preference, where some people enjoy the neat freshly pruned look, and others the natural bushy look, as well as the amount of space there has been allocated to a cycad.

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