ALBIZIA = Albizzia (Silk Tree, Mimosa) Leguminosae A. julibrissin & other species
HABITAT: Native to Persia, China, Australia, Japan. Zone 7.
USES: Shade, ornamental, greenhouse plant.
HABIT: Fast growing, flowering trees to 35' with a spread of 35-40' at maturity; often growing 3' per year and often with multiple trunks. The Albizia extends its branches in horizontal tiers of 9-18", feather-like leaves consisting of dozens of small 1/4 to 1/2 inch leaflets. Clusters of ball-shaped, pink, 1" flowers are borne above the foliage in early summer to early fall. The flowers are followed by flat seed pods. Silk trees begin blooming early (2-3 years) but lose their vigor relatively early (20-30 years).
SEED GERMINATION AND CULTURE: Soak the hard coated seed overnight in hot (190 degree) water; then sow on moist Grow Mix covering lightly and holding a 70 degree Fahrenheit temperature within the soil mixture during the germination period. Transplant when large enough to handle to 2 1/4" peat pots and shift to 4" peat pots when the roots emerge from pot walls; grow in a cold frame until large enough to place in permanent outdoor location, or pot up for greenhouse growing.
Although tolerate in partial shade and poor soil (including alka-line soil) the Albizia does best in full sun and a well-drained, moderately fertile soil. Plant in spring and wrap the trunk with burlap or heavy paper for two years until tree becomes firmly rooted. Prune Silk Trees in winter or early spring. Fertilize established trees in early spring with a fertilizer such as 10-10-10 at the rate of 2 lbs per 1" of trunk diameter. Punch holes in soil around the tree 18-24" apart and 12-18" deep, placing holes at the drip line (2/3 of the distance from the trunk to the outer edge of the leaf line). Keep sprayed for insects and diseases.
SPECIES: A. lebbek (Woman's Tongue Tree): 50'. Zone 10. Greenish yellow, ball-like flowers. Foot long flat seed pods. Tropical areas.
A. lophantha (Plume Albizia): 20'. Zone 9. Yellow flowers in 2" spikes. Spring. 3" fruit pods. Australia.
INSECTS: Beetles, Mealy Bug, Scale: Use an approved insecticide such as Malathion.
Nematodes: Nemagold Marigold Treatment.
Web Worm: Use an approved insecticide such as Sevin, Thuricide.
DISEASES: Fungus Wilt: Sterilize or replace soil.
Canker: Prune and destroy infected parts. Dust with Bordeaux Mixture, Lime-Sulfur, or Copper Spray.
Die Back: Cut out diseases portions. Avoid late fertilizing. Destroy infected plants. Sterilize shears with Denatured alcohol between cuts. Avoid overwatering. Keep plants fertilized and pruned. Water during droughts.
Rot: Destroy infected parts. Sterilize or replace soil.
PROPAGATION: Root cuttings (early spring) seed.
REMARKS: The common name Mimosa is used for the species in the South, but in other parts of the United States, the name Mimosa is applied to an evergreen Acacia Baileyana which as similar foliage but yellow flowers. Mimosa is also applied botanically to a genus including a similar plant called `The Sensitive Plant'.