En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - June 08, 2008

From: Mercer, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Survival of non-native mimosa in Pennsylvania
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Can a mimosa tree survive in Pennsylvania weather?

ANSWER:

In answer to your question, there's good news and bad news. First, the good news; yes,the USDA Plant Profile for this plant shows it growing in Pennsylvania. This tree is considered hardy to Zone 6a (average min. temperature -10 deg). As far as the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is concerned, this is also the bad news. Albizia julibrissen, silk tree or mimosa tree, native to southern and eastern Asia from Iran to China and Korea, is non-native to North America. At the Wildflower Center, we are very committed to the care and propagation of plants native to North America. The reason for that is that natives are adapted to the area in which they live, and therefore require less water, fertilizer and maintenance. Please see the section on our website on Plantwise, discussing the partnership working to educate the public and communities about best management practices to prevent harmful invasive plants from invading parklands and natural areas.

But over and beyond its nativity, there are other reasons to consider this plant undesirable, among them the fact that it is tremendously messy, can be very invasive, it is often very short-lived and breaks down easily, and vascular wilt in the species is becoming widespread. In fact, some cities have passed ordinances outlawing further planting due to the weed potential and wilt disease problems. This Plant Conservation Alliance website Least Wanted sums up some of the many objections to the plant.

In fairness, however, we would like for you to read the posts on this forum, Dave's Garden Mimosa Tree, on which you will find comments from both sides, including at least 2 gardeners growing it in Pennsylvania. This is pretty lengthy, with a lot of strong opinions on both sides of the question, but perhaps it will help you make your decision.

So, if you happen to choose on the native side (which we hope you do), let us suggest some trees well-adapted to Pennsylvania which should make good choices for your environment.

Amelanchier arborea (common serviceberry)

Betula nigra (river birch)

Cercis canadensis (eastern redbud)

Cornus florida (flowering dogwood)

Gleditsia triacanthos (honeylocust)

Chionanthus virginicus (white fringetree)

Ilex opaca (American holly)

Liquidambar styraciflua (sweetgum)


Amelanchier arborea

Betula nigra

Cercis canadensis

Cornus florida

Gleditsia triacanthos

Chionanthus virginicus

Ilex opaca

Liquidambar styraciflua

 

 


 

More Non-Natives Questions

Plant native Lantana urticoides and not non-native
March 09, 2015 - San Antonio Water System does not want to assist invasive plants but we want to encourage Lantana sp but we need to know what Lantana camara hybrids are sterile
view the full question and answer

Splitting bark on non-native mimosa from Buda TX
June 24, 2012 - What would cause my Mimosa tree to have splitting bark. I've only lived in this house for 8 months and am learning about this tree. The other tree seems fine. It looks as though it split and then ...
view the full question and answer

Is non-native Japanese Blueberry tree fruit poisonous to cats and dogs from Houston
August 09, 2010 - Are Japanese Blueberry Tree fruit poisonous? I have dogs and cats and I was concerned if they ate them. I also live in the Houston, TX area.
view the full question and answer

Getting flowers to grow under non-native globe willow in Salt Lake City
June 12, 2010 - We have a globe willow in our back yard that is about 15 years old and cannot get any flowers to grow under it. Can you recommend what we need to do to treat the soil, and what type of flowers will gr...
view the full question and answer

Watering a vegetable garden in San Marcos TX
March 24, 2012 - Can you give me a general idea how long to run my drip irrigation on my raised vegetable garden? Currently I use it twice daily for one hour. The soil feels slightly moist but not very damp. Should...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center