Mimosa Tree - Knowledgebase Question

Cleveland, Oh
Avatar for margosew
Question by margosew
September 14, 2005
My friend has a Mimosa tree which was growing at her home when she bought it about 7 years ago. It is a huge tree and they do nothing for it, not even water it. It is blooming now and is beautiful. She lives in my area also.

My question is why has this tree survied in our area as we have very
survere winters?

I dug up some of the small ones and hope I can get them going and want to put one in a large pot to put on my enclosed brick patio
in my condo. Hoping to get them growing as I need shade.

They just pulled out a tree that was close to the outside of my
brick patio wall which gave me so much shade and I am heartbroken. So I plan on putting a tree in a large pot and have control of it and get shade. I live in a condo and they have
restrictions, so it would be good on my patio.

Are there any hints? Should I take the little ones I dug up in my garage this winter since they are so small and just buy a bigger tree
that has a good start?

Is there some tree that would be quick growing for shade that would do well in a very large container that you could recommend.

Thank you

Answer from NGA
September 14, 2005
Although mimosa trees are most reliable through zone 7, they do occasionally survive in zone 6 and every once in a while into zone 5. It depends partly on the microclimate where they are planted, and it seems also that certain individual trees have better cold tolerance than others. So it is good that you took a seedling from a tree known to survive your cold winters, rather than a seedling from a southern tree growing in a warmer climate.

It is however difficult to maintain these as container plants, especially in terms of having them survive the winter. If you have several, you might experiment by planting one or two in the spot where you would like to have the tree and mulching heavily for the winter. Then set the others in their containers in a sheltered location such as a garage for the winter. Keep the soil just barely moist and be very patient in the spring -- mimosas typically leaf out very late.

As far as maintaining a larger shade tree in a container, this is not really feasible. The roots of a tree usually cover as much space as the canopy and thus quickly become cramped when constrained in a container. This then restricts the growth of the tree. Also, container trees are subject to temperature fluctuations of the soil because the roots are not as well insulated as they would be in the ground. This is very stressful on the tree.

If you want to experiment, you might be able to grow a crabapple tree in a large container such as a half barrel. It would need careful attention to watering any time the ground is not frozen and it will do better with protection from the winter wind. Your local professional nursery staff may also have some suggestions based on a more detailed understanding of the growing conditions on your patio.

Good luck with your trees!

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