The Q&A Archives: Mimosa Trees

Question: I have a mimosa tree in my front yard that only has 2 limbs growing. One grwoing towards the north and the other to the south. I would like to have a full tree with many branches giving it a full figure look. If I prune the two branches back, will it grow more branches next spring? Or will pruning it back kill it? The tree is about 2 years old and 6 feet tall. I kind of reminds me of bird's wings the way the branches lay.

Answer: What you describe is rather unusual growth for a tree, almost like it's in suspended animation. Pruning generally encourages new growth, so shortening the branches will result in new stems emerging from each branch. This will probably give you 2-3 new branches on each of your existing branches. I suspect that the central leader will continue to grow upwards and will eventually develop new branches above your two existing ones. Time will tell.

Don't prune now. It's too late in the season and anything produced will be subject to winter dieback. Wait until early spring, just as the buds begin to swell on the branches. Cut them back by about one-third, trying to cut just in front of a bud scar. This is where new growth will develop. It may take several years of selective pruning, but eventually your mimosa tree should develop a full canopy.

Best wishes with your tree!

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