En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Problems with non-native mimosa

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

Friday - August 29, 2008

From: Santa Rosa, CA
Region: California
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Problems with non-native mimosa
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We have 2 large mimosa trees in front of our house that are close to 50 years old. They have not been cared for over the past 8 years (we did not live here). This year, I trimmed them, removed dead branches, etc. The trunk of one of the trees is showing cracks and splits up the trunk that are beginning to worry me. Have these trees likely exceeded their life expectancy? The trunks appear to have split (bark) before and healed, so I'm not sure if these are danger signs or normal for the bark and trunks. Can you advise? Thanks.

ANSWER:

I am amazed at a 50-year old mimosa, maybe it should have its own museum.They are typically fast growing and short-lived. Since at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center we are all about the use of plants native to North America as well as to the area in which they are grown, we have no information on the mimosa in our Native Plant Database. For more complete information on the tree, see this site Albizia julibrissin (USDA Forest Service), and notice especially the section on Care and Management. You will learn that the mimosa is a weak-wooded tree, with branches and even trunks often splitting in storms. They are also vulnerable to many pests and diseases, including Mimosa (vascular) wilt, which is fatal to the tree, and is becoming more widespread. The bark is thin and easily damaged from mechanical impact (like a weedeater).

You may realize we don't recommend planting this tree and, in your case, would recommend your trees be replaced with a native tree that does not have the problems the mimosa does. And, finally, in California you should be especially cautious about invasive trees, which the mimosa is. This Plant Conservation Alliance Least Wanted List tells you that because the mimosa tree can grow in a variety of soils, produce large seed crops, and resprout when damaged, it is a strong competitor to native trees and shrubs in open areas or forest edges. If you remove the trees, you might consider replacing them with Chilopsis linearis (desert willow) or Prosopis glandulosa (honey mesquite), both of which are native to California and have a similar lacy, almost fern-like, look. 


Chilopsis linearis

Chilopsis linearis

Prosopis glandulosa

Prosopis glandulosa

 

 


 

More Non-Natives Questions

Non-branching mimosa tree
June 26, 2008 - 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 strai...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native Chinese pistache tree in San Jose CA
May 30, 2009 - We have a Chinese Pistache tree that is between 25 and 30 years-old. Over the past couple years, we have observed more and more branches dying. They turn black, and remain leafless in the spring, when...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for southwest side of house in Birmingham, AL
April 18, 2009 - I would like to know what I can plant on the southwest side of my house where there is a brick foundation and is really hot in the summer. I've tried irises and day lilies-not good. Suggestions?
view the full question and answer

Planting a non-native rose on oak tree in Hutto TX
April 07, 2011 - I would like to consider planting an earth-kind climbing rose on the south side of my 12 ft oak tree. Is this a good idea? Will I create problems?
view the full question and answer

Transplanting bamboo
July 29, 2008 - To transplant bamboo from one place to another, do you dig the plant up or do you get a cutting, put it in water and then root the plant?
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