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July 21, 2018


My Mimosa tree has lost all its leaves. They started by getting lighter green then they fell off. We had some pink blooms. I had one sprig of regular green leaves and now they have fallen off. It's about 5 years old, 30 feet. Is it too late to save it?



I have actually had several such emails/calls in the past few weeks. Mimosa trees are beautiful when in bloom, and I am seeing more and more of them in the wild.  Unfortunately, I consider them trash trees for several reasons. One, they are highly susceptible to a disease –which I think you have—called mimosa wilt.   It typically attacks a tree when it is well established—usually around 7-9 years of age.  It is caused by a soil borne organism called fusarium wilt. The trees can die almost overnight, or it can be a bit gradual.  You will occasionally see a sap coming out of splits in the trunk.  There is no control for the disease, so once it hits, you may as well remove the tree—there is no saving it.  Once the tree dies, you may end up with numerous root suckers coming up all over the yard.  Mimosas also set hundreds of seeds, which drop and germinate, and that is why we have so many seedling trees coming up in the wild.  Mimosas can be invasive, which then hurts native species, so I would not recommend planting another one. 


June 3, 2017

QuestionI have a question about Mimosa trees. I have read that it's is discouraged to plant them but I have very fond memories of them from my grandmother’s house as a child and have always wanted one. I never remember her having issues with them seeding and making new trees but she had it in an area that was constantly mowed so I assume any that would have grown were mowed down. If I have a large open area that is frequently mowed would that prevent them from making new trees for the most part?



Mimosa trees are considered trash trees by many horticulturists for several reasons.  One is that they do set a lot of seeds which can be messy in the fall and they do grow from seeds.  They are nowhere near as invasive as privet or Bradford pear, but they can reseed.  For me, the biggest detriment is the mimosa wilt, a disease which they are quite susceptible to.  It typically doesn’t hit until the tree is mature.  When it does hit, the tree dies fairly rapidly, and there is no cure.  Once the mother tree dies you get hundreds of root suckers coming up around the tree, which can be a nuisance as well. 


March 2014

Question There are mimosa and privet trees coming up all over my yard, in the flower beds! I've been trying to get rid of them for several years now, to no avail. I cut them down, and they just grow right back, bigger and with more trunks than before. Is there something I can paint on the stumps that will kill them? Or is there some other way to get rid of them once and for all?  

Answer Have you considered moving?! While that may be easier, with perseverance and patience you can take control, but it takes time.  If there is any way to dig out the roots that will help, but they will still send up sprouts. Chances are also good that there is privet in other areas in your community which flower and then set seeds, which the birds eat and drop, resulting in more privet.  Pruning, weed-eating any plants you see, treating the cut area with Round-up or Brush-b-gone (be sure to read label directions and ONLY apply where you don’t have desirable plants that could be damaged) can all help.  Late summer through fall is a better time to kill woody perennials, because they tend to be storing reserves for the winter, and will move the chemicals downward better then too.  But total kill is rarely attained in one season.  Good luck! 


(Sept 2011)

QuestionYear before last I had a beautiful bed of hosta. It was in the shade of a large persimmon tree. We had a storm and had to cut the persimmon tree down, that left the hosta bed in the sun. The hosta bed is on the south side of my house. I have planted a mimosa tree in place of the persimmon tree. The mimosa is doing well, except for one problem. It has one very tall branch and one short one close to the bottom of the tree. Do I need to cut the top out of the Mimosa or will it finally branch on its own?


AnswerYou are probably going to have to provide some assistance. Prune it to a strong bud and it should branch out. Do so in late February to early April to catch the resurgence of new growth next spring. I know that many folks like mimosas, but they are not my favorite tree. They tend to be fairly weak and are susceptible to a wilt disease which causes an early death. Probably more information than you wanted since it is already planted in your yard. Watch your trees growth each year and gradually train it into the shape and size you desire. Wherever you prune, you should encourage branching. It may take a few years to get the desired shape.

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