Dragon Tree taking flight this August

This August we will be relocating one of the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney’s Dragon Trees from Palm Grove to the new Dragon Tree Lawn, currently being created, in the Lower Garden.

Dragon Trees, Dracaena draco, are one of the most spectacular trees to see in a landscape. They are known for their architectural and symmetrical umbrella-like canopy. The umbrella-like habit is a result of its unique flowering, whereby the apex of the plant terminates after flowering and side shoots are initiated in a ring just below the apex creating a new whorl of branches. The flowering and branching process is repeated over the life of the tree, approximately every ten to fifteen years, and this results in a dense rounded umbrella-like crown.

We have many examples of well grown Dragon Trees here at the Garden. Most notably, the trees on the Dragon Lawn in the Lower Garden and the large tree in the Succulent Beds of the Middle Garden.


Why are you relocating the Dragon Tree?

The Dragon Tree is being relocated to a new home within the Garden to give it a chance to thrive and live up to its full life expectancy, which can reach up to 1,000 years!

We have been monitoring the tree for some time now and installed supports to stablise the tree in the early 2010s. The tree is now showing signs of a sparse crown and a lean, which means the roots have been comprised and it is not well in its current location.

The moist, semi-shaded microclimate of the Palm Grove is not appropriate for this species that naturally occurs in desert like areas of the Canary Islands. Progressive shading and competition by; palms, subtropical rainforest trees and Clivea have resulted in the Dragon Tree not being able to flourish in its current location.

Over many years of progressive shading its crown has become stretched and not reflective of the dense symmetrical crown typical of this species.


Who will be transplanting the tree?

We have successfully moved several Dragon Trees to other parts of the Garden and most recently transplanted a large Dragon Tree to the new Ian Potter Children’s Wild Play Garden at Centennial Park. Find out more about that project here.

For this relocation we will be partnering with a professional treesplanting company, who have successfully relocated many Dragon Trees around Sydney and Australia.

Relocation works will take place throughout August.

Dragon Tree

Example of a well grown Dragon Tree. Note the tight rounded crown

Once the tree is relocated we will be providing the tree with special root stimulants and fertilisers to help increase its vigour over the next year. We will also be reducing the crown and systematically preparing its root system in preparation for take-off in late winter 2018.

Put your seats in an upright position and strap yourself in as we prepare for its ‘flight’ to join its brethren in the Dragon Weyr on Lawn 53.