En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Non-branching mimosa tree

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
3 ratings

Thursday - June 26, 2008

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives, Pruning, Trees
Title: Non-branching mimosa tree
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a Mimosa Tree, just about 2 years old, grown from seed. The problem with it is that it has not branched out, it looks like one long branch growing out of the ground, about 5 feet if stood straight up. Is there anything I can do to shape like a normal Mimosa Tree?

ANSWER:

There are mimosas and mimosas. Two native trees that are called mimosas are Mimosa texana (Texas mimosa) and Desmanthus illinoensis (Illinois bundleflower). However, we're betting the one you refer to is Albizia julibrissi, a non-native of North America, instead native to an area ranging from Iran to Japan. All three are in the Fabaceae or pea family,but there the resemblance ends. At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, we promote the use of plants native to North America because they need less fertilizer, water and maintenance growing in their natural habitats, and thus are better for the environment. The problem we had in trying to find the answer to your question is that most websites were more interested in getting rid of the mimosa than getting it to grow normally.

Plant Conservation Alliance Least Wanted Silk Tree.

USDA Forest Service Albizia julibrissin. The USDA Forest Service is usually at least neutral about non-natives but it doesn't have much good to say, and no information on how to make a single trunk branch.

But you didn't ask us to evaluate the value of your tree; you asked how to make it branch. Ordinarily, we would recommend pruning just below a bud area to promote growth of new branches. However, what you have now is a single leader, and most experts strongly advise against pruning leaders. You shouldn't even consider pruning now, in the heat of the summer, but wait until winter has cleaned off the foliage and permitted you to see the skeleton of the tree. By then, perhaps you will be able to see a branch radiating out from the leader that would make an acceptable crotch for the tree. This article from the University of Minnesota Extension on Pruning Trees and Shrubs seems to us to have the best diagrams and instructions for dealing with a young tree. You need to be aware that the mimosa is basically a weak tree, and a storm or even a strong wind could snap that thin leader in two. If that happens, we would advise you to start over with a stronger, native tree.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Different kinds of lantana in Wilmington, NC
July 19, 2009 - I live in Wilmington, NC. I spent a small fortune on three varieties of lantana--Cherry Sunrise, Ham & Eggs and Bandana Red. I live on a salt water tidal creek and most are in full sun. Some are i...
view the full question and answer

Locating ruda plants in Florida
January 24, 2009 - Where I can find or who sells Ruda plants? in the Miami, Florida area ?
view the full question and answer

Non-native weeping willow losing leaves
June 03, 2008 - We have a willow tree (weeping), which sprung up naturally about 12 years ago. It has done very well until this summer. After its bloom in late March, it is losing its leaves again..turning yellow and...
view the full question and answer

Non-native photinias dying from Austin
September 14, 2012 - I have some red tip potinias that are dying. The ends of the branches are dying and the leaves are turning brown, I don't think this is the fungus that affects most red tips, any clues?
view the full question and answer

Is the non-native California pepper tree (Schinus molle) toxic for horses?
September 14, 2009 - Is it safe and a good idea to put a horse corral around an established California pepper tree? Thank you, Mr. Smarty Plants
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center