Silk Trees

    • Set out starts of broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and lettuce for a fall harvest. Spray weekly with BT to keep the cabbage worms at bay.
    • Roses have more flowers all summer long than any other shrub. Plant them in a sunny location and feed monthly for continuous blooms.
    • Japanese maples may be pruned now in order to shape them.
    • Mottled leaves are often a sign of spider mites. Check for them with a hand lens or bring a leaf into your nursery for identification and treatment options.
    • First-year fruit trees need to be well-watered through the dry weather. If they are neglected the first year, they may never be strong, productive trees.

Silk Trees for Summer Beauty

One of the prettiest summer-flowering trees is the silk tree or mimosa. A native of many parts of Asia, this tree goes by the botanical name Albizia julibrissin. It is known as mimosa because its leaves resemble those of the sensitive plant which is the true Mimosa. It is called the silk tree because it comes from that part of the world where silk is made.

This tree has very dainty foliage. The leaves are made up of many leaflets and they do curl up on cool evenings, like the leaves of a sensitive plant do when you touch them. The flowers are very showy and look like pink powder-puffs resting on top of the fern-like foliage.

The silk tree is used in parking lots, in lawns and parks and can be grown in large containers. It is popular for use as a patio or terrace tree for the filtered shade that it provides and the tropical effect. The flowers are most attractive when viewed from above, so it is nice when planted on a slope below the house.

This fast-growing, deciduous tree has a low-branching, open, spreading habit. It is often grown with multiple trunks which make a nice pattern when the lower branches are removed.

Albizia are generally tough trees. They take a wide range of soils including wet soils and poor, dry, gravelly soils. They can withstand summer drought, once established. They are fast-growing to 25 feet or more, spreading to 35 feet wide, but are easily kept to 15 feet tall with annual pruning.

Silk trees are considered to be messy trees. After they bloom they shed their flowers and then produce numerous seed pods that resemble wisteria pods. These will also fall in time. In autumn, the leaves fall at the first frost, having no fall color.

Each winter, Albizia trees should be pruned to remove dead branches, which always occur, and to thin out the tree, removing poorly attached branches. Other than that, they require little care.

The summer beauty and versatility in size of the silk tree makes it a good choice for many landscape situations.

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