How to care for Sydney’s most iconic tree: The Jacaranda

There are few trees in Sydney that are as iconic as the Jacaranda. Owning one, however, is both a pleasure and a responsibility since these magnificent trees quickly reach a notable size and leave behind a thick blanket of purple when their canopy sheds its flowers once a year. In this article, we outline what steps need to be taken so that your Jacaranda tree maintains its health and beauty year after year.

A quick background on the Jacaranda tree

While many believe the Jacaranda tree to be a species native to Australia, it’s first seeds were actually shipped here from Brazil. Considering how well adapted to the climate these trees are, and the fact that the oldest in Sydney dates back to 1910, it’s easy to see how one might get the impression that they’ve always been here.

But in truth, it was a great challenge for botanists at the time to propagate the first few trees that ever sunk their roots into Australian soil. It was a great achievement for them. Though they quickly realised that from one healthy tree, many saplings happily emerged from freshly fallen seeds. So much so that Jacaranda’s are considered a pest in native bushland. This is one of the many reasons why the Jacaranda tree requires specific care and why it’s important to work with arborists as they understand the species well and are equipped to assist you in maintaining the health of your tree.

Before planting a Jacaranda tree

First and foremost, make certain that you have enough space. Jacaranda trees can reach 15 meters in both height and in width in less than 20 years. You don’t want to encroach on your neighbour’s property or have issues with power lines so be sure to give it sufficient room to grow. Jacaranda’s also prefer well-drained sandy soil so if there are any areas of your property where this is naturally occurring they’ll be the best-suited location to plant. Last but not least, look for a spot where there is plenty of direct sunlight.

Steps to growing and maintaining a healthy Jacaranda tree

If you are growing your tree from a seed it will take anywhere from 7-14 years before you see it in full bloom whereas if you decide to go the seedling route you will be enjoying its beauty in as little as 2-3 years. For the first few years of the saplings life, it’s essential to soak the soil and let it dry out before repeating this process. Once the tree passes three meters in height it’s advisable to enlist the help of a professional to help care for it.

It is best to prune Jacaranda in winter and we highly recommend they have a healthy pruning, at the very least, every 3 years. An arborist will use precision tools to remove dead branches as well as any crossed or lower branches to ensure the canopy is full and moves upward with the growth of the tree. They will also remove the seedlings from the base, allowing the trunk to grow strong and support its heavy upper canopy. It’s important to note that at most you should only ever lose 1/5th of the canopy during pruning, if you hire a company and see them removing more than this it’s worthwhile to speak up and ask if there’s a reason.

When proper care is taken these incredible trees can last up to 200 years and serve as a legacy to your family. We’re big fans of this tree type so if you have any additional questions don’t hesitate to contact us.