Troubleshooting Jacaranda Tree Problems: Caring For Ailing Jacaranda Trees

Ailing Jacaranda Tree
jacaranda scale
(Image credit: Kenneth R. Law, USDA APHIS PPQ,

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 (12 m.) tall with soft, spreading leaves, the jacaranda is a tree you don’t forget easily. Even beautiful trees can have problems though, and you will sometimes see ailing jacaranda trees. 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. 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 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.

Teo Spengler

Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.