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Mimosa tree not flowering?

Posted by elissabee NJ 6 (My Page) on
Thu, Jun 28, 07 at 20:53

I just moved into a house that has a small mimosa tree in the backyard. When I say small I mean it's ony about 8 feet tall, tops. It has just a few branches and is pretty sparse. This is my first experience with one of these trees and I've been waiting for it to bloom. Now today I noticed blooming mimosas all over northern NJ. But mine has no flowers or buds or anything. Am I doing something wrong with this tree or is it too young to flower? It gets full morning sun for about 4 hours, then part sun for the remainder of the day.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Mimosa tree not flowering?

If it's only 8 feet tall, it's probably only a few years old. I planted one in the summer of 2005 and it's blooming for the first time now. These trees don't require any special care.

It was about 6 feet tall at the time of purchase, but I planted it at an angle in the ground to encourage a spreading multi-trunked form. It worked like a charm, and it is 7 or 8 feet tall, but has a spread of over 15' with lots of branches.

Be prepared for some responses here about how much people hate these trees. They are all in the south, where the mimosa is an invasive pest.

QQ, that's your cue :)

Alex


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RE: Mimosa tree not flowering?

Sounds like it's becoming invasive in NJ too if she sees blooming ones all over northern NJ. Don't say we didn't warn you guys.

I pass a huge one every day to and from my house. It is absolutely covered in blooms. I curse it every time. I hate mimosa.

Anyway, it's probably just too young. Sigh.


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RE: Mimosa tree not flowering?

Thanks, Alex. Yes, I've read alot about how much Mimosa trees are hated in the south. I'll just put a disclaimer in now--they're not considered weeds here in New Jersey! ;)


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RE: Mimosa tree not flowering?

With all due respect to esh-ga and others who hate mimosas, these trees are not taking over some other trees' natural habitat because Northern NJ is so overly developed that there isn't much natural habitat left to be overtaken. To be honest, it's nice to see something besides the lowly sumac on the roadside of Route 80. In fact I never knew them to be invasive anywhere until I started researching them on these boards.


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RE: Mimosa tree not flowering?

  • Posted by bboy z8 WA USA (My Page) on
    Fri, Jun 29, 07 at 0:00

Low forking is characteristic.


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RE: Mimosa tree not flowering?

With all due respect to you elissabee, I don't know that you are qualified to assess that mimosas are not taking over some other trees' natural habitat because Northern NJ is so overly developed that there isn't much natural habitat left to be overtaken. I'm sure the managers of NJ's many parks and roadsides would disagree with your statement.

I realize that you didn't plant this tree so certainly this has nothing to do with your choices. I am just trying to educate other people that is not a nice plant and one day it will move from a Category 2 to a Category 1 invasive plant in your state.

Sumac is a shrub that is beneficial to wildlife and as a native species offers them an important food source. I'm not saying that is all you should have on roadsides, but don't knock it. There are many great native plants that could be occupying that spot in your yard, providing habit and/or food to migrating birds or small mammals. In all likelihood, that tree is only there because a seed drifted in.

Here is a link that might be useful: Please see Category 2 Invasives in NJ at bottom of page


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RE: Mimosa tree not flowering?

I live on two acres in N-NJ and I see about 1 or 2 new volunteers a year. The seem to die at about the same rate, so I don't see a net gain or loss.
They start flowering after about 3 years, but only sparsely. Unfortunately they rarely get more than 5-7 years old before dying. I wouldn't mind having at least one fully formed tree, but they die suddenly without any obvious sign of disease. I guess they're winter killed, or don't like my soil.

By the way, a local nursery was selling a brown leaved variety this spring. "Summer Chocolate" I believe they called it. I really liked the look, but couldn't justify $79 for a 4-foot sapling that's unlikely to live more than a few years.

It's a sad story really. A lovely looking plant, with a bad reputation, perhaps well-earned, but that it never gets to display because of its tragically short life. (at least where I live)


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I will just add that in this case the OP inherited the tree and seems reasonable about not planting invasives.
And that the problem with things like Mimosa summer chocholate is it may not be invasive in a certain state but if a grower ships their mimosas to that state and they sell like hot cakes you can count on them being shipped to areas they are a problem.


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RE: Mimosa tree not flowering?

Jeez, esh_ga. Maybe I exaggerated when I said I'm seeing them "all over." I saw about 10 of them on a 12 mile stretch of urban highway. Is that too many? I don't know but I'm sure you'd be happy to educate me. I haven't seen one of these trees planted as an ornamental since I was a kid at my grandmother's house. They are considered an old fashioned plant of the 1950s.

I'm just an amateur gardener who inherited a mature rock garden which happens to include a seemingly intentionally planted mimosa. I think the previous owner was trying to attract hummingbirds. The tree is planted on a third of an acre with six of the biggest mature oaks I've ever seen, plus a few of their smaller offspring, and (gasp!) a young sumac. I'll be honest, I hate the sumac but I won't cut down the tree unless it grows up and falls on my house. I'm more worried about the native invasive vines of poison ivy, poison sumac and virginia creeper that are trying their hardest to kill my oak trees.

Thanks to the others for your kind responses. I eagerly await the day when my little mimosa gets fancy.


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RE: Mimosa tree not flowering?

Sorry if you took offense, elissabee. My only goal is to help make people more aware of the problem of invasives. This includes people that start a thread (like you) and the dozens of people that just casually read this. One of them just might make a different decision after this discussion.

Gardeners (amateur and professional) should be aware of what's invasive in their area and use that knowledge to make informed decisions on what they plant (and what they inherit). I'm glad to hear you have such wonderful oaks. Good luck with the vines - I have my own trials with native vines: muscadine and smilax, not to mention the invasive japanese honeysuckle that some bird thoughtfully brought into this area years ago.

Good luck with your garden and I'm glad to hear you're open to learning. Keep in mind that there is an invasive tree that many people mistake for sumac - Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima). Sumac is generally smaller and has very distinctive flowers compared to Tree of Heaven.


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RE: Mimosa tree not flowering?

The roadside tree I thought was sumac is in fact the invasive tree you referenced, esh_ga. I guess I was right to dislike it! Now to figure out if that's what's in my yard as well.


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What is seldom discussed is what to do when you inherit or discover an existing tree that you have is a catagory II invasive. Like in this case with the elissabee. It cost a fortune to remove mature trees. Personally I think its reasonable to let a catII live out it's life if already mature if it is not exhibiting obvious invasive behavior such as readily self sowing into the surrounding landscape. Other vulnerabilities such as brittle wood or tendancy to break or have stinky flowers might be more reasons but not grounds for urgent removal just based on that alone even if they are compelling reasons to remove it. Although if it is a young tree that can be cut down safely by the property owner then I think it is right to remove the catagory II before it becomes any larger, starts flowering or producing seed and becomes an expensive problem.

I'd love to hear/read other viewpoints.

Obviously I think the responsibility weighs most heavily on the growers. They should not grow any invasives. Local dealers and nurseries should check local DNP lists before selling anything that they were shipped. This is how the problem could be solved and keeping many catagory II's from becoming catagory I's.


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RE: Mimosa tree not flowering?

>Unfortunately they rarely get more than 5-7 years old before dying. I wouldn't >mind having at least one fully formed tree, but they die suddenly without any >obvious sign of disease. I guess they're winter killed, or don't like my soil.

They are susceptible to fusarium wilt, which can kill them very quickly. There was a large one near my house that had one branch die in the fall of 2005. It leafed out in the spring of 2006 and was dead in a couple months. I counted the rings when it was cut down, it was 30 to 35 years old.

Alex


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RE: Mimosa tree not flowering?

esh_ga wrote:

>I am just trying to educate other people that is not a nice plant and one day it >will move from a Category 2 to a Category 1 invasive plant in your state.

Right now it seems that the most limiting factor is that very few of the seeds make it through the winter. Are you thinking it will just gradually build up enough numbers to be category 1, or are you predicting that it will develop greater cold tolerance?

Alex


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RE: Mimosa tree not flowering?

A combination of two things.

1) My zone has already been upgraded from 7a to 7b, some people even claim it is now 8. It seems that areas are becoming warmer and I predict that conditions will start to be more favorable for it.

2) As more survive (some are already living long enough to set seed), more seeds will be created. More seeds = more likelihood of more surviving and creating more seed and so forth (your first point).

In addition, cold weather usually kills mature plants. Seed on the ground (the seed bank) would probably still be viable and grow up to replace the ones that died.

These comments are not mimosa-specific. They would apply to any weedy, marginally hardy plant.


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RE: Mimosa tree not flowering?

I dont think anyone really knows for sure. But invasives often persist in low density before they reach a certain point and thereafter begin to spread rapidly. By then it is too late. Slow initial population growth is common. Is that what will happen here? *shrugs*

Honestly I dont think this tree will be a problem that far north. It may become naturalized, but time will tell.


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RE: Mimosa tree not flowering?

I have some new light to shed on this subject after speaking with a friend whose mother lives in southern New Jersey, at the shoreline. It seems the mimosa is in fact a big problem down there. Whether it's due to the beachy climate or the sandy soil I don't know, but apparently the roots interfere with water systems, etc.


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On the shore

I don't know what zone you are for northern NJ, but the southern Jersey shore is probably a warmer climate. The southern shoreline of Virginia is zone 8, I believe, even though Georgia (which is more southern) is zone 7.


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RE: Mimosa tree not flowering?

It is so tiring to listen to the self righteous native plant people prattle on about the evils of exotics and that natives are so pure and good. The owners of three well known plant catalogs, one on the East Coast, one from Texas, and the last from the West Coast, call these type of people plant Nazis. A fitting name for them. They contradict themselves when they say that exotics don't provide any benefit for wildlife, then turn right around and say that birds brought in the seeds of some nasty plant from hell. I guess that bird wasn't wildlife.

Another argument these native plant people use is the millions of dollars it cost every year to fight these evil plants. In the State of Washington if you have a pesticide license you need to take a refresher courses every year. At these courses you get to listen to chemical company representatives indoctrinate growers and pesticide operators on their products. Believe me when I say that the vast amount of target plants these representatives want to kill are natives. They even complain that in the State of Washington native plants can't be put on the weed list. The owners of these monoculture tree farms spend most of their budget fighting natives, not exotics. And these monoculture tree farms do much more damage to the native plant community than any of the listed exotics on the weed list will ever do.

I don't know about NJ, but in Western WA, mimosa doesn't reseed. It is either because our summers are so cool and/or our winters so wet. Since we can't grow acacias here long term, it fills a niche for the exotic gardeners that pinnate compound leaf acacias would fill. I would also like to grow Summer Chocolate, but the price is too high for me.


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To answer the question about the different zones in NJ, my zone in northern NJ is 6a. The Jersey shore is 7a. So there's the answer.


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The term "Nazi" in reference to plants is a horrible example of the continuing Trivialization of what the Nazis did during world war II. Untill these native plant enthusiasts start slaughtering innocent people, then the term may be acceptable. My family lost people to the Nazis in world war 2 and to hear the term used for someone who speaks about PLANT ideology is so offensive that it blows the mind.


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RE: Mimosa tree not flowering?

  • Posted by bboy z8 WA USA (My Page) on
    Fri, Jun 29, 07 at 23:32

Continuing trivialization? I repeatedly encounter lots of coverage just on the TV alone that makes it very clear how unbelievably awful it was. It has also been pointed out that the African slave trade killed ten times as many people. Don't, however, see much about that at all.


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RE: Mimosa tree not flowering?

We should focus on the circumstances, not the particular people or plants. Both Nazis and great humanitarians share the same family line. Everyone is related to either a slave trader or a slave. It's been shown that almost every person of European descent is related to each other if you go back only 500 years. It's the circumstances--be they cultural, political or socio-economical, etc.--that lead to misbehaviour.

Same with the mimosa. An invasive pest in Georgia, no problem at all in North Jersey. The water hyacinth is one of earth's top ten worst noxious weeds. Yet in my northern pond it is perfectly well-behaved and desirable.

We need to mature as a civilization and learn to focus on environmental factors, not individuals. People should be trained to look out for and avoid the particular circumstances that lead plants, animals and ourselves to behave in less than desirable ways.

To tie it all together, here is an article on well-meaning government officials wanting to use fusarium wilt to combat the drug trade and ending up doing Nazi-like things...

Here is a link that might be useful: Agent Green (fusarium oxysporum)


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RE: Mimosa tree not flowering?

Yeah if you want to call anything a nazi, how about calling the invasive plants nazis as they are the ones coming in like the gestapo and choking out the native plants.

And I am not advocating planting only natives. I am a fan of exotics so long as they are well behaved exotics. I have numerous exotics in my yard, primarily from Asia and Europe.


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RE: Mimosa tree not flowering?

Thank you, jnarvaez, for the most intelligent and thoughtful post I've ever read on an internet message board.


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Thats true in some respects, bboy, but then many people label silly little things as nazi. The term "Nazi" has become a generalized term of abuse, or used to describe anyone or anything seen as strict or doctrinaire. Ever heard of "grammar nazi" or "Feminazi"?

Thats trivialization in its dictionary definition. Not by TV, but by society.


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RE: Mimosa tree not flowering?

Check out J.L. Hudson, Seedsman the best source for seeds on the internet, according to Dave's Garden. They devote a whole page to this issue. Hudson explains how not only did the German Nazis do horrible things to people in their goal to create the so called perfect German race, but they also passed laws outlawing exotics and requiring the planting of only natives for the same reason, the perfect German plant. Which sounds a lot like the "native plant people's" agenda, the perfect American plant. Also the definition of fascism, which the Nazis where, is the partnership of government and corporations to control the will of the people. Chemical companies have a large influence on weed boards and ignorant people. It is not trivialization but frightening what is happening in this country with people wanting to control everything, even the plants we want to grow! Yes, common sense is needed, but I don't see it with the "Native Plant People". A plant might be a problem in one area but not another, but these people want it gone from all areas. Also many of the trees and bushes on the Washington State weed list have a benefit to the diversity of wildlife in my area yet don't impact the native plant community that much. Some trees like the sweet cherry and domestic apple should be on the weed list if the "Native Plant People" weren't such hypocrites since these trees hybridize with our native cherry and crap apple causing an impact to the native plant community. There are more sweet cherries found in our woods than English holly or English laurel but these other two plants are on the list but not the sweet cherry. Is it because Washington State Apple Growers and fruit growers have a lot of influence in this state and the ignorant Native Plant People are too much of sheep to see this?

So, would I grow kudzu or English ivy, no, but I will grow Tree of Heaven, Empress trees, and mimosa because they can't compete with two hundred feet tall Douglas firs, they don't spread in Western Washington, and they go well with my subtropical theme garden.


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RE: Mimosa tree not flowering?

We're talking about a tree with serious invasive potential in a specfic areas not exotics where they do not pose a threat. Although I do caution buying trees like mimosa due to the fact they get shipped to areas they are a huge problem.


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RE: Mimosa tree not flowering?

issafish, while much of that sounds plausible, seedsman sounds to me more like a horticultural guy trying to save some of his most profitable species. Since he has vested interest in selling some of these species, i take his testimony with a lot of salt, and he doesnt have a degree in many of of things he speaks of so he can hardly be taken as someone of athority on the subject.


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RE: Mimosa tree not flowering?

The best thing to call a mimosa, is the world's largest weed.


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My parents had a mimosa in southern New Jersey. It came with the house and we didn't fully understand just how invasive it was at the time. It dropped lots of seeds and how we cursed having to dig them out, but hey - the nearby pin oaks dropped lots of acorns, too, so we figured that was just part of life with trees. Only later did we learn just how invasive the mimosa is. Too bad, though. They are a pretty tree with a tropical air and their flowers attract butterflies, but that doesn't balance out their invasive nature.

As for my parents tree, it never came back after a particularly cold winter in the mid-1990's. Dead as a doornail. It was about 30 or so years of age.


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>In addition, cold weather usually kills mature plants. Seed on the ground (the >seed bank) would probably still be viable and grow up to replace the ones that >died.

Well, for whatever reason, almost none of the seeds germinate here. I've looked around seed producing mimosa trees, and never found a seedling. A couple years ago, I collected several pods, scattered the seed where I wanted a tree, and not one came up. Obviously some of them do germinate, but it's not like what you would see with a sumac or maple or elm, where you see dozens if not hundreds of seedlings. Since these trees apparently spread like crazy in warmer places, I assume that the limiting factor here is not seed viability, and my guess was that the seeds do not make it through the winter, either becasue of the cold or becasue they dry out. I suppose it could be that the seeds germinate too early in the spring and are killed by late frosts?

Alex


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RE: Mimosa tree not flowering?

we had a mimosa tree in our yard and it was almost impossible to get rid of, it spread to the neighbors yard and we cut the whole tree down and guess what,new shoots came up within a week,the way we finally got rid of it was to dig down around the base of the trunk filled it with kerosene and let the thing burn for about 3 days and took an axe and chopped up what was left, that finally worked for us.


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I can't believe what I am reading! Mimosas invasive? I wish.

Here in Hingham, Massachusetts, I am lucky to get a mimosa to grow. It's a 50:50 deal in that I lose about half to the cold winters. I have five that are now well established and seem to be winter hardy. My largest one just went into bloom and it is a show stopper! I see cars slow down when they drive by the tree just stare at it. The bees and hummingbirds got nuts for it. I have never seen another mimosa in my town of about 30,000 people.

I occasionally find a mimosa seedling in one of my flower beds. It is rare and hardly a nuissance. In fact, two of my seedlings have developed into six-foot high trees. I'm proud that I was able to nurture them into healthy trees.

Aboit four years ago, I was lucky enough to get a summer chocolate mimosa. For the first time, it started blooming yesterday and it is a real beauty.

In short, here in New England, mimosas are like rare gems. I wish I had even more in my yard. Barring significant climate change, the cold winters will never allow these beauties to be an invasive species.


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RE: Mimosa tree not flowering?

Thank, you thank you Kips Magee!

I also live in New England, northern New England, that is,and have one of these beauties in a large tub, and it's just starting to bloom; had it for 14 years and not one single seedling come up anywhere--because for one thing, the seeds don't have time to mature this far north, and I also keep the tree dead-headed so it won't waste its energy making seed pods anyway. Anyone should feel free to plant anything they like anywhere they live--if something happens to be invasive , then take measures to prevent seed formation, that's all you really need to do. If you love mimosas as much as I do and you happen to live in the South, then plant the darned things in tubs, keep 'em small and get rid of the seed pods! 'nuf said!


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RE: Mimosa tree not flowering?

Please allow me to share some thoughts. I grew up in the Chinese capital Beijing (about the same weather as NJ). In the 70s, the government planted a lot of Mimosas in my neighborhood. We loved the beautiful blooms. Every spring, children climbed the trees to collect flowers and branches. However the weather was probably too cold for them. They did not last long at all. By late 80s, the batch of Mimosas all died. Not a single one survived. They never seeded either. I remembered observing some pods falling on the ground. All the seeds were emptied by some kind of little beetles. These trees seemed to be a very fragile and short-lived.

I never see these in large numbers even in Southern China. If the tree failed to develop cold-hardiness in Asia for the past couple millions of years, I dont think there is any need to worry. As time passes by, American insects, fungi and diseases will learn to eat the tree, and thus keep them in check.


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RE: Mimosa tree not flowering?

Yeh, in about a million years or so.


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RE: Mimosa tree not flowering?

Sometimes diseases and pests jump onto new comers almost over-night.


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RE: Mimosa tree not flowering?

lets not bet the house on that chance.


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RE: Mimosa tree not flowering?

Is this also a political issue?


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