Expert Grass Tree advice!

My favourite supplier for Grass Trees is located on the Northern NSW coast they are called Bruinsma Grass Trees and stock lovely healthy specimens, however that is not all they do…

They also follow up and offer excellent advice through their newsletter and love talking about growing this iconic sometimes mystifying Australian native.

Below I am sharing their last email newsletter as I thought it was valuable information that needs to be spread as far and wide as possible. Please get in touch with them and sign up if you grow Xanthorrhoeas in your garden and want more information or have some tips to share. Enjoy!

I’m willing to bet that you can relate to this story…

Grant and Stephanie are wanting to transform their garden. You help them decide that grass trees are the perfect feature plants for their space. They’ve splurged a little, but when planting day arrives, they’re over the moon with their choice – the grass trees look stunning.

Some months later, you get a phone call from Grant. He’s concerned. One of the grass trees doesn’t quite look right. The leaves aren’t looking as full they once were. Stephanie thinks it’s gone a bit “flat” on top. Some of the leaves have even discoloured a little yellow. They’re worried it’s dying.

What do you tell Grant and Stephanie? Is it sick? Is it dying? What’s happening? How do you reassure them?

Two years ago I planted a cluster of grass trees in my own front garden. Four out of the six flowered a few months later. As an experiment, I cut a couple of the flowers off and I left a couple on to grow their full measure. Three of the four took a couple of months before they shot back with new growth.

But the fourth, well… check out this photo.

 18 months after flowering.

My friends have been hassling me about this tree for a while. Telling me it’s sick and dying. But I know it flowered. I know it’s just dormant.

Flowering is quite a rigorous process for the old grass tree. It uses a lot of water and energy to produce that fantastic flower at quite a rate of knots. After flowering, it will often lay dormant for long periods of time. Of these three trees pictures, only the one on the right did not flower. The middle tree appears to be struggling.

New shoots begin to emerge once again.

Just the other day, I discovered these new shoots! In 6 months or so, these little green shoots (they look greener in real life) that I’m pointing at will be almost full length. I’ll remove the older yellow leaves and you won’t believe it’s the same grass tree.

The solution? Patience, water, and more patience.

The first question to ask Grant and Stephanie is if their tree has flowered recently? If the answer is YES, you can reassure them that this is totally normal for the tree to go through a period of dormancy.

Grass trees are survivors. Shonky harvesters have given grass trees a bad reputation. But in reality, grass trees have an amazing ability to survive – and going dormant for long periods of time is one of those strategies that make grass tree stunningly unique.

Patience and consistent watering is the best way to nurture it through this dormancy period. Regular seasol won’t hurt either. The tree is exhausted, depleted and stressed from flowering. Like an introvert after a week of visitors, it just needs some time out to recuperate. Be patient and soon it will be thriving again with new life.

Happy to help!

Should you have any questions about the health of the grass trees in your nursery, or how to help your customers with their grass trees… with dormancy, or anything else, we’re always happy to help. Send a photo/s to support@grasstrees.net.au and we’ll do our best to help you out.

Thanks Mitch! we need more growers in the industry like you, passionate and helpful, keep up the good work!

2 thoughts on “Expert Grass Tree advice!

  1. Margaret Mitchell on

    Hi Grass Tree Supporters, I have four grass trees two have propagated two more trees over the last nine years. The two taller ones each flowered yearly, but one looks sick since October last year when pest control guy sprayed around the windows. It hasn’t recovered. Any ideas please?
    I’ve tried to attach photo no luck so far. Many thanks for reading. Margaret

  2. Martine Maurizio on

    Hi Mitch
    My hubby bought my tree in September 2018. It has been beautiful with new growth popping up from the centre. It has flowered twice since we got it. It has always been in same position. It gets rain water and is protected from the wind, gets morning and some afternoon sun. I also water it and give it a brown sugar water drink every 2 months. Since my hubby cut out the last flower earlier this year it has become yellow and I do not see any new growth. My hubby in his wisdom also decided to cut off the yellow leaves. I’m so worried it is dying. Are you able to advise me what to do. I am unsure how to post a photo. Thank you very much. Martine

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