Bill Johnson

Silk Tree

Albizia julibrissin Durazz.
Pea family (Fabaceae)

Origin: Asia

Silk tree, also called silky acacia or mimosa tree, was introduced to the United States in 1745 for use as an ornamental plant.

Distribution and Habitat
Silk tree occurs from California across the southern United States to New York. It grows in disturbed areas such as roadsides, forest edges and various open habitats. It is a hardy plant that tolerates a variety of soil and moisture conditions, enhanced by the ability of its roots to produce nitrogen.

Ecological Threat
Silk tree grows vigorously and displaces native trees and shrubs, spreading by seed and vegetative means. Once established, silk tree is difficult to remove due to its long-lived seeds and its ability to re-sprout vigorously.

Description and Biology

Prevention and Control
Do not plant silk tree. Trees can be cut at ground level with power or manual saws. Cutting is an initial control measure, best done prior to seed set, and usually requires follow-up cuttings in combination with herbicide treatments due to re-sprouts. Systemic herbicides like glyphosate and triclopyr are effective (see Control Options).

Native Alternatives
Serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea), river birch (Betula nigra), redbud (Cercis canadensis), fringetree (Chionanthus virginicus) and flowering dogwood (Cornus florida).


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Last updated:11-Nov-2010