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
2 ratings

Thursday - August 07, 2008

From: Agoura, CA
Region: California
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Pruning of non-native chocolate mimosa
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a one year old chocolate mimosa that has grown 2.5 feet in height. It has seven leaf stems two feet from the bottom and only three at the top canopy. The trunk is only three quarters of an inch in diameter. There are five feet of trunk with no bud growth at all. Should I prune off the top down to the bottom where the growth is more abundant?

ANSWER:

What is commonly referred to as a mimosa or silk tree is a relatively small, fast growing tree. The mimosa tree is a native of southern and eastern Asia and the burgundy-leaved cultivar "Summer Chocolate" was recently developed in Japan. Since it is non-native to North America, it will not be in our Native Plant Database, so we will go hunting for other information.

So, we'll just talk about mimosas, in general, because the culture of the "Summer Chocolate" seems to be no different from that of other mimosas. It has a beautiful burgundy leaf, turning that color after a green spring. The mimosa often, but not always, develops multiple trunks. If we understand your description correctly, you have a clump of growth near the ground and a clump of growth at the top, with a lot of empty space on the trunk in between. In the first place, now is not a good time to prune anything, You should wait until late Fall, when it's cooler. In the second place, this is a very young tree to be expecting any shape to form. Ideally, you want a "leader" trunk on your mimosa, from which the smaller branches grow, instead of the multiple trunk with a possible weak "v" in the trunk. Our advice is to take care of the little tree, making sure it has plenty of water, and see what the shape is looking like in mid-winter. Hopefully, there will be more growth, more green branches on the upper part of the trunk, and you can prune the lower branches to help establish a trunk.

For more information on the mimosa, see this University of Florida Extension website for details on culture, disease, etc.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Care for non-native 'Glacier Blues' from Charlton MA
March 24, 2012 - Do you have to prune or cut down Glacier Blues in the garden? My plants look brown and wilted.
view the full question and answer

Native Species List for Ponca OK
June 24, 2011 - I planted daylilies in my Austin garden and did not do well. I moved these daylilies to my garden in Ponca City Oklahoma and have done outstanding relying only on mother nature's rain. My garden in ...
view the full question and answer

Need some help with my Mexican Bush Sage in Rockport, TX.
July 07, 2011 - My Mexican bush sage looks leggy,ratty and sparse. It's planted in full sun and was cut back to the ground in early spring. My soil is sand and I've watered it sparingly as we've had no rain. I'm...
view the full question and answer

Non-native herbs being burned by pool chlorine in St. Petersburg, FL
July 11, 2010 - My herb garden is next to my swimming pool, which is serviced by a company using chlorine. I have found that on the two unsuccessful attempt to establish my herb garden, the herbs burn off after the p...
view the full question and answer

Plants for full-sun landscape
November 20, 2007 - I live in a very rocky area just outside of Fort Worth, TX. It's taken me all spring, summer & now I'm going into the fall, to landscape just 30 feet in front of my house. The front of the house get...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center