Mimosa Tree--yea or nay?

Katalina(24 CA)June 21, 2005

I live in San Diego and I have an enormous yard by So CA standards. I need an established shade tree because I'm too old to wait around. I found a good size Mimosa silk tree in a 24" box for $250. I want to plant it in a lawn area in the yard which would give me instant shade. I can control the watering. I researched and didn't find anything awful but I thought I'd ask you experts if I should run away from this tree. Thanks!

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shadowsmom(Sunset z24)

Dear Katalina-
I am not sure if this is the same tree you are considering, but I had a beautiful Albizia called a Silk Tree. It was A.julibrissin. I just loved the flowers and the lacy shade. I live in South Orange County, so my climate (zone 24) is probably similar to yours. The only complaint I had with the tree is that it was deciduous, and did not leaf out until May! That left too many warm spring months with no shade. I am too old to wait around also, so I thought you might find this disappointing. The blooms and scent are truly spectacular, though. I would have another if I had room.
Best Regards, ShadowÂs Mom

    Bookmark   June 21, 2005 at 5:01PM
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Katalina(24 CA)

hmm, yes it is also called a silk tree. Bummer. When the leaves fell, did they fall all at once do you know? The worst thing is when they drip on and on for months.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2005 at 6:11PM
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KathyY44

These are beautiful trees and extremely tough. The water company just cut some self seeded ones down that were on the side of a ditch, twenty feet from the water. Don't know if roots were reaching the water or it is really that tough as there was no other water. Bummer, why do I want to look at bare dirt when a nice flowering tree was doing just fine?

Self seeding! A tree several houses away has been very generous with its seeds. They aren't a big problem, much easier to pull than Mexican Fan Palms but it could be an issue for some.

I had a friend who hated the flower litter from her tree. It was near the patio, probably not a good spot for this tree. I like the look of fallen flowers on a lawn though.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2005 at 7:18PM
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shadowsmom(Sunset z24)

Hi-

Oh, yes, when the leaves start to drop it is only a week or so before the tree is bare. The leaves also "curl" at night like they are going to sleep. Kids think that is interesting/funny.

When the flowers drop, they are a bit sticky and may stain decking, but I agree with KathyY44, it is fine on grass and also not that difficult to clean up.

Another thing: the best view of the flowers is from above. My neighbor loved looking down from her deck on to the tree when in bloom! --Shadow's Mom

    Bookmark   June 21, 2005 at 8:16PM
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Chilidawg(Zone 9B)

The hummers will love you if you plant it.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2005 at 10:10PM
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wanda(Z9 CA)

My neighbor had one and I hated it. It seeded all over my yard. They are easy to pull, but they are just so prolific. I'm in a different zone, so it may be different in your climate.

wanda

    Bookmark   June 22, 2005 at 12:52AM
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teedup1(21-23 So.CA)

Speaking from personal experience, I vote NAY!!!!!! You WILL regret planting that beautiful silk tree. The litter never stops--all the shattered small leaves with their separated long "sticks;" mountains of pink flowers and brown downy poufs; and thousands of pods containing 10+ small seeds (each one sprouts into a new tree in June) are a continuing maintenance nuisance. Additionally, it is the first tree to lose its leaves (in September) and the last one to get new leaves (in May). Yes, it's pretty, but definitely not worth it. Admire one from afar--way far...in someone else's yard.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2005 at 2:08AM
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andrea_san_diego(z10 So Cal)

I just ordered a new Albezia julibrism varetiy from a San Diego nursery called Summer Chocolate. The shape and flowers are the same but the leaves are black and the trunk is dark grey. I've seen pictures and the tree is absolutely stunning. I can't wait till it arrives.

Andrea

    Bookmark   June 22, 2005 at 9:18AM
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youreit

I have to agree about its propensity for self sowing. My folks have one tree, yet they have little babies ALL over the place. They are rather messy, too.

For that price, there must be some other options out there.

Brenda

    Bookmark   June 22, 2005 at 12:23PM
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susi_so_calif(USDA10/Sunset24)

For an evergreen tree with a similar look, consider planting Calliandra surinamensis, the Surinam Powderpuff Tree. In Encinitas it bloomed for me virtually every day of the year, kept its leaves, virtually never had seedlings (although it does produce seeds), and in about 3 years grew to 15' tall from a 15-gallon plant. It also needs only moderate water and looks great! You can let it get very thick or prune it to a lacy form.

You can see photos of it in the book Ornamental Trees of San Diego, which is sold in nurseries and bookstores all over San Diego. It is published by the San Diego Horticultural Society.

Here is a link that might be useful: San Diego Horticultural Society

    Bookmark   June 23, 2005 at 3:09AM
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Katalina(24 CA)

Thanks so much for all your responses. I'll look for other alternatives.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2005 at 1:04AM
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Carmen_Elisa(z9, Houston, TX)

I just purchased a mimosa tree on ebay. I'm wondering if I made a hug mistake, I purchased it for the hummingbirds. I'm in the process of creating a butterfly and hummingbird garden. Does anyone else know what would attract hummingbirds and still bloom beautiful? (tree wise)

    Bookmark   July 17, 2005 at 7:40PM
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oops(z7-8 MS)

by the way, those aren't pink flowers... they're FLAMINGO LARVAE

    Bookmark   July 23, 2005 at 1:31PM
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jenn(SoCal 9/19)

Here's a link to some pics I took today of the mess our Mimosa tree creates all over our garden. These are close-up shots so you can really see how horrible it is. From a distance, it's just a beige haze -- EVERYWHERE. Hubby mows the lawn mostly to pick up the blossoms from the lawn, and there are hundreds more by the end of the day. They are sticky and difficult to hose off even with the jet spray.

Our tree is very established and we are now seriously talking about replacing it with something else.

Here is a link that might be useful: Messy Mimosa

    Bookmark   July 23, 2005 at 9:16PM
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teedup1(21-23 So.CA)

Jenn: Your pictures say it MUCH MUCH better than my rantings ever could about the mess these ?beautiful? mimosa trees make. We have not missed our trees at all (nor the mess) since removing them several years ago to repair root heaved damage to our patio floor to the tune of $10,000!

Thanks for sharing in warning the unaware.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2005 at 1:30AM
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spambdamn_rich(Sunset 16.5)

The flower mess is similar to what my Cooke's Special blue wisteria vine drops. But it only flowers heavily once a year, and I don't mind ghe flower litter. The delicious aroma and beautiful display is worth it.

If only I could get it to reseed itself :-)

I found a web site with a shot of the Surinam powder puff mentioned earlier. Sadly, it's considered invasive in the tropics.

Here is a link that might be useful: Here's a shot of the Calliandra surinamensis mentioned earlier

    Bookmark   July 24, 2005 at 5:19PM
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lynns(8a)

I've had a mimosa for about 8+ years. It's about 12' tall and 15' wide. But it hasn't bloomed yet. Can anyone tell me when it's supposed to start? It's not a baby.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2005 at 5:11PM
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lynns(8a)

Never mind. Just finally saw some blossoms. I should have asked sooner and maybe it would have bloomed sooner.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2005 at 2:14PM
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Chilidawg(Zone 9B)

Well, we like our Mimosa and so so the hummers. Here is a shot of the lawn mess 5 days after the last mowing.

http://www.sonic.net/~weasel/temp/P8062682.jpg

    Bookmark   August 6, 2005 at 1:15PM
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jenn(SoCal 9/19)

Chilidawg, very pretty tree. Obviously, the mess this tree produces is proportionate to the size of the tree. A big tree (like ours) produces a mighty big mess! The tan blossoms literally blanket the lawn. I can barely see them in your photo. :-)

    Bookmark   August 6, 2005 at 1:20PM
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Swedeinla(SoCal z10)

The Mimosa mess might not be pretty in the near term, but I covet and soil amendment on my clay pan yard. You have convinced me to get one. Thanks.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2005 at 7:57PM
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fouquieria(10b)

Katalina,

I was trying to think of another potential tree that you can find in 24" boxes in San Diego for around the same price. You might want to consider Cassia leptophylla, the Gold Medallion tree. Look around the Internet for pics and more information. I've not grown it, but have seen it around, and I think it's quite lovely. Maybe others have more information on it.

-Ron-

    Bookmark   August 12, 2005 at 3:05PM
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Gingers_Garden(z10a CA)

Weeping willow is a rapid grower, suitable to zone 24, and grows large enough to look proportionate in an "enormous" yard. It is deciduous but drops its leaves over a short period of time. Willows require a lot of water. Lawn irrigation, which should be frequent short waterings, is the opposite of what the willow would need. Supplemental watering could be done, however. A willow would not be appropriate if you want to sit under the shade tree as the branches droop down to the ground.
I second Susi's recommendation of the Ornamental Trees of San Diego book as it has nice color pictures of mature specimens. As a big bonus, the address where each tree was photographed is included so that if you wanted to see the tree in person you could!
Kristi

    Bookmark   August 13, 2005 at 4:21AM
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gght(z7a AL)

Weeping Willow's don't require as much water as one might think. I have one planted on a slope, no water nearby, and it never gets watered. It's doing fine.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2006 at 10:45AM
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socal23(USDA10/Sunset23)

gght,

in the average year, your tree will receive more than 25" of rain between May and November. In California, we often get no rain whatsoever during that period. There are many trees that do well with only occasional irrigation during the dry season here, weeping willow isn't one of them.

Ryan

    Bookmark   April 25, 2006 at 7:30PM
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slave2thefur(san diego - north coast)

If your mimosa isn't blooming, it's probably because there's not enough heat. There's another post in gardenweb about this - the trees bloom along roads due to reflected heat, but not in backyards ... as my neighbor found out. ...dd

    Bookmark   April 27, 2006 at 10:20AM
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jenn(SoCal 9/19)

Here's our mess today, 5 days after the last mowing... no kidding. I'm hoping it will do us a favor and collapse into a pile of sawdust one day. Want it? I'll help you dig it up. (Click on the images to enlarge.)

Heuchera maxima is buried under there somewhere...

It's hard to believe, but there are millions still on the tree...

The beast.....

    Bookmark   July 9, 2006 at 12:40AM
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youreit

OMG, that's awful, Jen! I bet it's real fun trying to remove them from your plants, especially if they get wet! :(

If we don't hear from you soon, should we call the authorities?

Brenda

    Bookmark   July 9, 2006 at 2:16PM
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jenn(SoCal 9/19)

LOL Brenda. Hubby raked them up this morning into 4 huge piles. He raked them off the plants as carefully as he could but you can't get them all off the plants without damaging the plants. He wanted to rake them up today so he could run the sprinklers. They formed such a heavy blanket on the lawn that most of the water would have just soaked the blossoms into a mat.

Anyone who wants this tree should just come by and see in person what a mess it makes, then come back at summer's end and see all the seed pods and sprouts everywhere. If you still want a Mimosa...... well I don't have the words to express my thoughts on that. :-)

Jen

    Bookmark   July 9, 2006 at 3:17PM
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susi_so_calif(USDA10/Sunset24)

Someone posted above, regarding the Calliandra surinamensis (Surinam Powederpuff Tree); "I found a web site with a shot of the Surinam powder puff mentioned earlier. Sadly, it's considered invasive in the tropics."

The good news is that is doesn't seem to be invasive here in our climate. I never had any trouble with any re-seeding, despite the flowers 365 days of the year. AND it is NOT a messy tree in the least. Best of all, a 15-gal tree grew to the size of a 24" box in under a year at about half the initial cost.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2006 at 8:21PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

I've grown a 15' brugmansia in 18 months from a 6" cutting I rooted myself for free. It's a bit messy but nothing like Jenn's mimosa. The shade it provides is quite good and it's very pretty if you want a tropical look. You could get fast shade from a brug and plant something slower growing that would provide shade in a few years, then just remove the brugmansia when the slower grower is big enough. That would expand your choices, and often slower-growing trees are better in the long run than the fast growing ones.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2006 at 3:46PM
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karij_luvplants

My grandparents have a large Mimosa in their back yard, I asked them why it never blooms and grandpa says he cuts it back every year to keep it from blooming but to still get the shade. I just planted one (5 gal) in the dog's kennel to provide some shade, I don't think the dog will mind the mess :)

    Bookmark   September 8, 2007 at 2:02PM
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ruben_m

Hello
Although very beautiful they are very messing no doubt about it so if you do not want a maintenance headache stay away from the Mimosa.

Although I have one and I planted it In remembrance of a dear friend. It is still young so not so messing yet.

I do have a question and maybe someone can help me out.
I do have a question and maybe someone can help me out.
The Tree I planted that I thought was a Mimosa Not sure what it is. The leafs the trunk the growth is all the same. The flower is different instead of the Pink feathery flowers the flowers on this tree are round in shape and are yellow to tan in color. Anyone know of have seen this tree.

Thanks in advance
Ruben

    Bookmark   September 9, 2007 at 12:12PM
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youreit

Could it be plume Albizia (A. distachya, a.k.a. A. lophantha), Ruben?

Brenda

Here is a link that might be useful: Google pics of plume Albizia

    Bookmark   September 9, 2007 at 6:40PM
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stanofh

No. They have all the bad habits mentioned and one not. They are highly susceptable to a virus that kills the tree quickly.Look around. Rare is the old monarch Mimosa. You can find dozens of large Jacarandas to one large(old) Mimosa.Yet you can find dozens of young Mimosa's planted for every Jacaranda. They reseed young and can get by on little care.But when they get that inevitable virus,you will think of all the other trees that could have had those decade or two to grow in your yard and would just be hitting their show stride.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2007 at 2:53PM
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whiteyford

I live in southern Michigan, zone 5-6. There are only a handful of Mimosas in all of Metro Detroit. I'm going to attempt a replanting of a seedling in my frontlawn,from a nearby Mimosa, not too far from the blacktop road. This is a full sun area. Hopefully it works out!

    Bookmark   June 27, 2009 at 3:27PM
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ingrid_vc(Z10 SoCal)

We must be one of a select view who have the perfect location for a very large mimosa, which was already here when we bought the house. We live on a large hillside property and the gardens we have are around the house, at a higher portion of the hillside. The mimosa therefore is below us, which gives the best view and the area around it is just wild hillside so there is no maintenance. We also don't need it for shade. The only living things I've seen there are bunnies and snakes, and I don't think either of them have sleepless nights about garden litter. I never knew what a problem these trees are, but now I'm really happy that this troublemaker doesn't have much impact on our gardening lives.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 7:00PM
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mdvaden_of_oregon(NW Oregon)

They are not a headache.

Not my first choice in trees, but one I would plant if I had the room. Planted one at our last home in southern Oregon.

The key with Silk Tree, is to prune them properly for the best form and structure that you can get from what you have. At least every 2 years to stay on top of things.

M. D. Vaden of Oregon

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 5:37PM
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birdofprey

For a shade tree thats fast growing what about a royal (empress) paulownia tree? As for the willow I'd rather deal with the mimosa mess than the roots on that damn willow. I cut it to ground on my new house as it was hollowed and dangerous. It regrew to 6ft same season and the roots are spreading all over the place. I think I'll put my mimosa saplings in the back where the mess wont matter just in case they do become messy. My paulownia is cut to ground after an early frost killed it.....or so I thought ;) Here's hoping for the tree to live up to its reputation.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 4:21AM
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queerbychoice(USDA 9a/Sunset 8 (CA))

NAY on silk trees from me too. I could tolerate the mess, but not the self-seeding. If you plant one, you'll be pulling up hundreds of seedlings every single day until it's dead. And charging $250 or one of those things, at any size, is like charging $250 for a large specimen of spotted spurge or filaree. At any size, it's still a weed.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 4:46PM
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brettay

I have a ten year old (or so) Mimosa tree and I have to say that I am a big fan. Some points I would make about it.

1. The tree never produces new seedlings. Perhaps this is specific to the variety I have, the fact that we get no rain in the summer, or that the winters are too cold to support seedlings. In fact, none of the Mimosas in my town in the bay area put up seedlings.

2. It is a great shade tree. It doesn't completely block out the sun, but the arching branches are a great way of bringing filtered sunlight to an area you want partly shaded.

3. Both the leaves and flowers are very beautiful and bring a real tropical look to the garden.

4. I have no problem with the mess it makes. it is certainly a lot less clean-up than my Japanese maples or any other densely-leaved deciduous trees, although the mimosa requires a bit more consistent clean-up through the season. I use a blower once every couple of weeks and have no problem.

-Brett

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 4:09PM
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Min3 South S.F. Bay CA

mimosa blossoms are sweetly fragrant and bees love them!

min

    Bookmark   April 10, 2010 at 11:52AM
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socal23(USDA10/Sunset23)

Holy necro-post batman! I'm sure the original poster long ago made her decision. It's been almost five years.

Ryan

    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 2:31PM
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brettay

These threads certainly aren't just for the person who originally posted. I am sure other people considering mimosas for their yards have seen or will see this thread. I know I often reference old threads when looking for useful information.

-Brett

    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 3:35PM
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birdofprey

I'm on your side Brett...good or accurate knowledge is timeless. Found some REAL old posts on my "new" purple smoke trees. Regardless I found some nice info on them. Found this site sorta by accident and not really a poster or blogger but liking it so far. As I (and the wife) tend to like the exotic stuff I've found it helpful so far.

This zone 5 thing however is making it kinda tuff tho. Blazing hot dry summers, brutal winters most years, and enough wind to knock over my truck sure dont make it easy.

Had to laugh though, someone recommended oleander. Told him when I want to poison myself and my family AND the dog I'll just drink some bleach ;) lol

    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 4:28AM
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cheimp63_gmail_com

I live 5 miles north of Boston and can't wait for my Mimosa tree to blossom.It is a spectacular sight from above but has incredible aroma at ground level.I bought it at a Home Depot store in Mass. as a sapling in a plastic bag approx. 15 years ago.It's now 20'tall and has a canopy of about 30' in diameter.I absolutely love it as do all my neighbors who come to see it.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 8:08AM
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ranchovertical_gmail_com

Bought a future roseate temple of "Chocolate Summer"- 5 trees!
Though I want over-the-head sweeps of tree, it's agonizing cutting off such beautiful branches.(the deer don't have any problems eating them off)For best form,should I prop up low branches or lop 'em? Any 'ol time they get (beautifully)in the way? And while you're here...ever prune Maytem trees? Any pointers?

    Bookmark   July 18, 2011 at 6:54PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

Joy, you really should start a new message for yourself, instead of tacking onto a 6 year old thread. That way, you can check off the auto notification box so you know when you've gotten responses.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2011 at 8:41PM
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