Pruning a young jacaranda

lyael(z10 CA, ss 23)November 4, 2005

OK. I'm in San Diego, and last year at the new downtown ballpark, I saw and fell in love with a multi-trunked jacaranda (uplit at night--gorgeous). I liked it so much more than the single trunk trees all around me (also very pretty, but not what I want).

I just came home from the nursery with a 15" can containing, basically, 3 trees, each of which has then split into two (total=6;)) It's lush and pretty, but each of those 6 "trunks is pretty much growing straight up. I'd like it to branch out, and was wondering about pruning it now to encourage branching.

So...I start reading, and find (in regard to jacarandas, specifically):

  1. "You should always cut off multiple trunks and have one strong central leader" Does this really mean you can't have a strong, healthy, multi-trunked jacaranda?

  2. "Except for getting rid of multiple trunks, you shouldn't prune Jacarandas." Apparently, it causes lots of suckering. I'm wondering if maybe this is just referring to mature wood? (and it would be OK to prune back the soft green growth it has now? If do I do it?)

Help! Can anyone tell me how to have the lovely, multi-trunked, spreading-branched tree I long for, or is that just a pipe dream?

Thanks so much for your time and help. I didn't mean to be so wordy;)


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Jacarandas naturally grow as large shrubs and become trees only with training (removing all lateral branching) or with extreme age.

And a good rule of thumb when planting ANY tree is to NOT prune the first year (and maybe mininmally, if at all, the second year). Let the tree establish itself. Leave the photosynthetic material (leaves) on the tree above ground so that they can make food for the tree below ground (roots).

Once established (1-2 years), prune only for minimal aesthetic purposes.

Of course, you'll always prune off broken, dead, or dying branches as well as, eventually, crossing branches or anything that reaches beyond where you want it to reach. And if you live in a slightly windy area, also prune the tree to be more open to allow wind to blow through.


    Bookmark   November 4, 2005 at 3:36PM
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Mine died back a bit last year... same as pruning... no suckering what so ever.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2005 at 4:02PM
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gardenfan(z 9/10 CA)

Hi Laura,

Sorry about the late post....I have also noticed in my area that during the windy season jacaranda trees are especially subject to broken branches. It seems to me that the tree will be stronger with a single trained trunk. That's just my opinion. But the trees certainly are stunning, aren't they?

    Bookmark   December 11, 2005 at 11:03AM
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I planted a three trunk Jacaranda in 1995 from a 15" box. One trunk was weak and was removed a few years later. The tree is about 25 ft. tall and spreads about 20 ft. I have it trimmed and laced every year and it is growing strong and beautiful in Clairemont area of San Diego.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2011 at 2:45PM
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