Troubleshooting Jacaranda Tree Problems: Caring For Ailing Jacaranda Trees

By: Teo Spengler

The jacaranda tree (Jacaranda mimosifolia, Jacaranda acutifolia) is an unusual and attractive small garden specimen. It has delicate, fernlike foliage and dense clusters of lavender trumpet-shaped flowers. The fragrant blossoms grow from the branch tips. Some 40 feet tall with soft, spreading leaves, the jacaranda is a tree you don’t forget easily. Read on for information about problems with jacaranda trees.

Jacaranda Tree Problems

Problems with jacaranda trees are generally minor, ranging from a few insect issues to cultural problems. However, the tree is also susceptible to a serious jacaranda tree disease, a lethal bacterial infection.

The jacaranda tree can get aphids and scale, just like many other garden plants. Another insect pest, the glassy-winged sharpshooter, can also infest its leaves. Get rid of these pests by spraying with insecticidal soap or neem oil.

Too little water or too much fertilizer can also cause ailing jacaranda trees. You need to water the trees thoroughly every other week during the growing season, providing a long, slow drink. And skip the fertilizer – the trees grow better without it.

Over pruning or planting in shade can prevent a jacaranda from blooming. Too cold of weather can also cause jacaranda tree problems. They are sensitive to cold and can be seriously damaged by a frost.

Jacaranda Tree Disease

The glassy-winged sharpshooters that can infect jacarandas carry the lethal Xylella fastidiosa bacteria. If a tree is infected, it develops oleander scorch disease, for which there is no cure. This is the most serious of the jacaranda tree problems you are likely to encounter.

Identify the disease by yellowing leaves with dark margins. The bacteria proceed from the outer tips of the leaves inward, passing through all the branches. They plug up the xylem tubes that transport water, causing the tree to die of thirst.

Jacaranda Tree Root Problems

Jacaranda tree root problems are sometimes caused by incorrect care or culture. For example, the jacaranda requires well-draining soil. When planted on soil with poor drainage, the tree can develop mushroom root rot.

Other problems with jacaranda trees can develop from root issues. In fact, various root and stem rot pathogens attack jacaranda wood causing jacaranda tree root problems.

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What is the root system of a jacaranda tree?

Jacarandas have a vigorous root system You'll have to be careful where you plant your jacaranda tree. While also considering space, be careful not to plant it near drains, pipes, water lines and paths, as they have a vigorous root system and can cause fungal problems if dug or mowed out.

Also Know, how big does a jacaranda tree get? Although they begin small as seedlings, jacarandas can grow into massive trees. Jacarandas commonly reach between 25-50 feet (7.6-15 meters) in height and can have a width of 15-30 feet (4.5-9 meters). Plant the jacaranda in a large, open area where it will have room to grow to its full size.

Also to know is, how quickly do jacaranda trees grow?

Jacarandas grown from cuttings or that were grafted to seedling rootstock take from two to three years to bloom. Settle in for a longer wait, from seven to 14 years, if you started your jacaranda from seed. Seedlings may also not have a bloom similar to the parent plant, when you finally do see their flowers.

Is my jacaranda tree dying?

If the jacaranda is stressed from too little water, the leaves yellow, wilt and drop prematurely. Those getting too much water are more likely to have smaller than normal leaves, branch tip die-off and premature leaf drop. Overwatering also leaches minerals from the soil, which may also be a factor with a sick tree.

Climate and Culture

Jacaranda trees grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9b through 11 where temperatures will remain well above 27 degrees Fahrenheit. Best flowering and growth occurs in full sunlight, but these semi-evergreen trees tolerate partial shade. Although jacaranda trees grow well in a range of soil types, they prefer sandy soil with a slightly acidic pH range. Jacarandas have a high tolerance for drought and suffer in wet soils therefore, the soil must be fast draining. Their foliage does not do well when exposed to salt spray, so avoid planting these trees along coastal areas.

Landscape Uses

Due to their soft wood and the messy litter they create when dropping their foliage and flowers, plant a jacaranda away from structures or pools. They make attractive specimen trees and their dropped flowers leave a carpet of purple beneath the tree. They also work well used along a sidewalk, as shade trees, or planted among evergreen trees as they continue to add color to the area when they drop their leaves in late autumn and winter.

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Nadinne, we're also in SoCal. Though we've never had a jacaranda, our neighbors do. As you may know, they're deciduous, beautiful and quite messy with those purple blooms. The flowers tend to be sticky, shed heavily and attract bees both in the tree and on the ground. You need to wear shoes when walking on the blooms (I've been stung). I think it's important to have plenty of space for this tree. If you do, plant it where it can be displayed nicely and where the falling blooms won't be a problem for cars and other things. like neighbors who might not be thrilled. Our neighbors have theirs pruned regularly, and the pruned areas grow back quickly.

Jacaranda Tree Varieties

There are two notable varieties of jacaranda mimosifolia:

  • J. mimosifolia 'Alba': Also called 'White Christmas', the Alba cultivar is a full-size jacaranda tree with a similar habit and care needs to the species tree. It can grow to be about 40 feet tall and up to 60 feet wide. Its foliage is often more lush than that of the species tree, and its blooms may arrive a little earlier, starting in April in some climates.
  • J. mimosifolia 'Bonsai Blue': A relatively new dwarf cultivar, 'Bonsai Blue' matures at only 10 to 12 feet tall and 6 to 8 feet wide. Its flowers are similar to those of the species tree, and it grows in USDA hardiness zones 9 through 11.

Q. Jacaranda Mimosifolia

Recently I've been growing 4 Bonsais - Picea Mariana, Pinus Aristata, Pinus Thunbergii, and Jacaranda Mimosifolia - and one of the Jacaranda seeds hasn't sprouted. It's been a little over 2 weeks and all the others have already at least 2. I'm wondering what went wrong during the germination process. I'm thinking it might have something to do with the difference in seed shape and thickness. I still have half of the seeds left and am going to try again in less than a month if it shows no progress. If anyone has any advice on Jacarandas or Bonsais in general I would really appreciate it, I need all the help I can get.

The art of Bonsai takes lots and lots of practice! Don't be discouraged, as you may kill hundreds of seedling, and trees before you get one that grows like you want.

Learning the basics, and starting with a tree that is very hard to kill is a good idea. Privet is forgiving, and will be easy to form into bonsai since they are already tolerant of cramped roots, overpruning, and very little feeding.

As far as why a seed didn't germinate. There are too many reason, but trying again will be the first thing. If the other seeds are germinating, then it could be that the one particular seed was dead, or inactive.

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