How to prune Albizia julibrissin?

donn_(7b-8a)August 22, 2006

I have 3 seed-grown Mimosa's, which I would like to keep in the shrub size-range. The largest of them has a 2' 'trunk' and two wings, almost 6' long, one opposite the other.

How do I rein this guy in? He's in his second year from seed, and growing in a 5 gallon pot, banked into woodchips.

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It gets to be a fairly good sized tree, anywhere from 30-45 feet tall and just as wide (in fact some sources say it is wider than tall). It is known for rapid growth. Not really sure how much you CAN rein it in.

Perhaps cut it to the ground each spring and let it sprout back entirely?

    Bookmark   August 22, 2006 at 2:10PM
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My goal is to keep them shrub-size, by growing them in containers.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2006 at 4:11PM
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Are you going to root prune them too? Otherwise, they will bust out of those pots. Down here in the south, they send out roots that go for several feet in all directions (as I found out when I had to dig one up).

I just realized you posted this in the shrubs forum, not the tree forum!

Good luck, I would just prune away what is too big and see how it goes.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2006 at 5:16PM
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Sure..I'll root prune them. My question about pruning them covers any form of pruning. I generally root prune a variety of container plants when they outgrow their containers.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2006 at 6:15PM
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karinl(BC Z8)

I just looked out at the branches of my neighbour's Albizia, which are brushing against the window of my house, and I see it blooms on the tips of new growth, maybe even small secondary new growth. Which means if you prune during the summer you'll prune off flowers. Depends if you want flowers or not.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2006 at 1:19PM
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Don, I grow a number of trees in pots too, including 3 Mimosas and rarely cut roots, just trim back tops or cut to 6-inch level in spring. They will resprout at least one but usually 2-3 trunks and down here will reach 10 feet by end of summer. In fact I'll bet your 6 footers ae wider now! I use mine to give filtered shade to more tender plants...but I love the Mimosa for itself too. I've had one that bloomed at 18-inches and even had seedpods. This was in a 10" pot though...not recommended!

My larger Mimosas are in pots about 18" across...very probably rooting into ground although I water most days in summer and weekly in winter...most all plants will put out roots from drainage hole if sitting on soii. I could use downturned saucer underneath but don't really mind if I get a couple of extra trees...just didn't want to have to dig hole to plant thus the use of pots.

My pots of Mimosas are in fourth year now...and I'll start new ones if they start to decline rather than trying root-trimming. Good luck with your shrubs...I think they look like tree ferns! josh

    Bookmark   August 27, 2006 at 10:26PM
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Donn, nice picture of the trees. I've had one in a pot similar to Josh's 18" container; had it for about 14 years now. It stays about 5 feet high and about 6-7 feet wide with a little annual light pruning (in Spring)and would bloom for over 2 months, but the weather usually gets too cold for it to finish blooming. I also take it out of the pot every 2-3 years for some light root pruning. Good idea to bank up the pot with something to keep it from blowing over in the wind, that happenend to mine a couple years ago. Of course up here in Maine I have to bring it in to the garage for the winter and wrap up the pot in blankets to keep soil from freezing solid. Oh, also, you may want to add some bone meal to the soil each year to help with the flowering, seems to work really well with mine AND give it miracle grow about once a week in the summer. Btw, Josh, I'd like to hear how you got that one to bloom in such a small pot! You said it was about 18" high in a 10"!

    Bookmark   September 10, 2006 at 9:07AM
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Dave, my little bloomer just did it on its own... I'm not sure if this was a seedling in its first year but I think so since it had a very skinny trunk. We moved 4 years ago and I brought dozens of plants in containers from my old garden. Possibly it was a seed that had fallen (or buried by squirrels) and just germinated in pot with a few other plants...don't remember now but I remember the grin on my face when I saw it blooming. I'm constantly amazed at plants...often the puniest and least likely will surprise you.

And what a surprise your neighbors must feel seeing the Mimosa blooming in Maine! josh

    Bookmark   September 13, 2006 at 1:17PM
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While not the most common subject for this purpose, silk trees are often used in bonsai, so the ability to grow them in containers under dwarfed conditions exists. Although I am not partcularly knowledgeable about bonsai techniques, I'd assume the normal practices of root pruning and training would apply.

Scroll down this link to the photo of the bonsai'd Albizia in full bloom - it is a charming little tree.

Here is a link that might be useful: bonsai'd silk tree

    Bookmark   September 15, 2006 at 10:03AM
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fuchsiafrank(8 / U.K)

I've grown an Albizia Julibrissin which is now 3 or 4 years old. It's in a pot and has been trained so far to a standard tree shape - straight trunk to about 4 feet high which then branches into 3 branches. It's lost it's leaves now (it's winter - but warm). I'm not sure what to do now.

Should I prune back each of these branches to a few shoots each or do nothing? I certainly want to retain the classical tree shape.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2007 at 8:47AM
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An incredible bonsai collection, what a pleasure to look at those pictures.

However, I was sorry to see this comment under the mimosa picture:

"In the south where this species is native, it begins to blossom in June...

It is naturalized, NOT native!

    Bookmark   January 21, 2007 at 6:51PM
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Just bought one of these lovelies and reading this thread. Ours is currently in a 10" pot and about 8 ft tall. One nice, healthy stem a little less than 1" in diameter and branches at the top.

If I decided to keep this potted what would I need to do for it to survive a coastal NW Washington winter??

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 1:27PM
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Forgot to add ... like the original poster I'm wondering if I will I be able to prune it to control the size if I plant it or am I better off keeping it potted in order to control the size of it?

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 1:33PM
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