How do you identify it?
The bark of mimosa is light brown and smooth. Leaves are bipinnately compound and arranged alternately. Its flowers are pink and fragrant, and brown seeds occur in flat pods.
Why is it invasive?
Mimosa competes well and takes advantage of disturbed areas. It is often found along roadsides, vacant lots, forest edges and waterways. Its seeds spread easily by water. Due to its ability to withstand a variety of soil conditions and to produce a large number of seeds, it out-competes native species. Dense stands of mimosa reduce the availability of sunlight and nutrients to native trees and shrubs. When cut back, mimosa can resprout.
How can you manage it?
When removing mimosa, it is important to avoid spreading seeds. Ideally, removal should occur prior to seed production. Seedpods may be removed, and seedlings can be hand-pulled. Remove roots to prevent sprouting. Mimosa may be removed with mechanical tools. Use herbicides to prevent resprouting. Girdling may also work on larger trees, but resprouting can still occur. Specific herbicide recommendations can be found on the University of Florida’s plant directory webpage. Make sure to follow all label instructions.
While this tree may be beautiful, it is also a highly invasive species capable of out-competing most native vegetation. Instead of the mimosa tree, consider planting native alternatives such as sourwood (Oxydendrum arboretum) and buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis). Both of these bloom in the summer, and their flowers attract bees and butterflies.
Invasive Species Leaflet IS-13 Albizia julibrissi (Mimosa) (North Carolina Forest Service)
Albizia julibrissin can form dense colonies from root sprouts, but the prolific seeds of this plant pose the greatest threat to natural areas. The seeds are readily dispersed by animals and water and have impermeable seed coats that allow them to remain viable for years.
Albizia julibrissi (North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox)
Albizia julibrissin or silk tree is a member of the Fabaceae (legume) family. Commonly known as mimosa, it is a native of Asia that was introduced in the United States in 1745 and cultivated as an ornamental tree due to its fragrant and showy flowers. This tree is now invasive in North Carolina and other parts of the Southeastern United States.
The Mimosa Tree: Beautiful But Invasive (Alabama Cooperative Extension)
The mimosa tree is adorned with pink blooms that usually appear May through July and attract butterflies, bees and hummingbirds. The flowers are delicate and long with clusters of silky pink threads. The leaves of the mimosa tree have a fern-like appearance. While this tree may be beautiful, it is also a highly invasive species that threatens the Southern landscape.
Mimosa (Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council)
Mimosa can tolerate partial shade but is seldom found in forests with full canopy cover or at elevations above 3,000 feet where cold temperatures are a limiting factor. It can be a serious problem along riparian areas, where it becomes established along scoured shores and its seeds are easily transported in water. Like many successful exotics, it is capable of growing in a wide range of soil conditions.