Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
2 ratings

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-native Bird of Paradise plant (Strelitzia reginae)
November 30, 2008 - I have two Bird of Paradise plants on my lanai (Marion County, FL) and they are both in large pots. Nobody but me seems to like them at my house and I have been asked if I could trim all the leaves o...
view the full question and answer

Insect pest on non-native dwarf apply tree in Utica MI
June 02, 2011 - I have a dwarf apple tree that bears 5-6 different kinds of apples. I am having trouble with insects; what is a good choice for this and feeding it? Is there also a organic choice?
view the full question and answer

Do Banana Plants Grow in Galveston, Texas?
March 30, 2011 - Do banana plants grow on Galveston island?
view the full question and answer

Adding Wildflowers to Corpus Christi
May 20, 2012 - I have a dry sandy yard, full sun in Corpus Christi with lot's of stickers mostly, want to transform to wildflowers. When should I plant, how should I prepare soil, should I dig out stickers? Which w...
view the full question and answer

Native replacement for non-native Bermudagrass in Leander TX
October 16, 2011 - We have Bermuda grass. Large patches have died due to the drought and our yard has been taken over by weeds and St. Augustine grass whose seeds must have blown in. Even when the grass was in great con...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.