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

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

Care for non-native Mexican ruellia in Monroe LA
October 27, 2009 - Dwarf Mexican Petunia I have found information that late in the season, when growth becomes leggy, cut back plants by as much as a half to force a new spurt of growth. Watch for tobacco bud wo...
view the full question and answer

Problem with Chinese Pistache tree
September 01, 2014 - We have a gorgeous Chinese Pistache in our yard, about 25 feet tall. We bought it for its gorgeous fall color. The problem is that it has never turned color for us. All the other pistaches in the neig...
view the full question and answer

Will deer eat lemon cypress trees from Hayden ID
June 02, 2012 - Do deer eat lemon cypress trees? We do not think so since they are so spiny, but wanted a clarification.
view the full question and answer

Invasive nature of non-native Zoysia japonica grass
April 22, 2007 - I have been reading up on Zoysia grass and I am curious about its invasive nature. Is there a good way to keep it from going into my neighbors' yards? I was thinking about using some edging material...
view the full question and answer

Reseeding a dead lawn in Wimberley TX
February 07, 2012 - Our new house had a sodded lawn that now appears dead. There remains a layer of sandy soil as a part of the sodding process. Is there a way to reseed these existing slabs of sod and what process wo...
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