Weed that looks like mimosa

How to Prune a Mimosa Tree

Mimosa, or silk tree or silky acacia, was introduced to the Americas in the 1700s and now thrives in the zones 6 to 9. Where winters are mild, little pruning is needed for this vigorous and invasive tree. Toward the northern part of its American range, heavy pruning in early spring helps mimosa trees recover from winter die-back.

Clip off root suckers with pruning shears down to ground level to control mimosa’s invasive habits. Unchecked, mimosa can become a dense thicket. Sucker shoots spring up well away from the tree, as roots spread beneath yard and garden.

Prune broken limbs as soon as damage is spotted. Limb loppers work well on any limbs which fit the jaws; mimosa wood is soft. Young trees require no special growth training. Mimosa’s natural shape is tall and spreading, with an open network of branches. In areas with warm winters, even mature trees need little attention beyond removing an occasional damaged branch.

Prune dead wood from winter-damaged mimosa in early spring. Use a pruning saw or limb lopper on light damage. Chainsaws will be needed if severe winter cold kills the tree back to the ground. Even mimosa that have died back to ground level usually recover quickly. If the trees don’t show life in the spring, cut out dead wood immediately. Winter-killed limbs and trunks will soon be lost in the thicket of green sprouts.

Shape winter-killed mimosa trees by removing all but the strongest shoot that emerges. Saving two or more sprouts creates an arched cluster spreading outward from the stump. Trees quickly grow to nearly their original height. Cutting back to a single main trunk provides better access for mowing.

Prune mimosa limbs overhanging roofs in late winter when the tree is dormant. With a pole saw, cut back to a strong fork in the branch or all the way back to the main trunk if necessary. Mimosa creates large amounts of leaf litter, blossom falls, and seed pods and cause a lot of gutter problems throughout the growing season if not cut back.

Mimosa Tree Facts: Learn How To Get Rid Of Mimosa Tree Weeds

Don’t let the fluffy flowers and lacy foliage fool you. Mimosa trees may not be the perfect ornamental for your garden. If you read up on mimosa tree facts before you plant, you will learn that mimosa is a short-lived tree with weak wood. Moreover, these trees are invasive; they readily escape cultivation and establish in clumps of mimosa tree weeds in disturbed roadside areas, shading out native species. Read on for information on mimosa tree management and control of mimosa trees.

Mimosa Tree Facts

Nobody can deny that the pink pompom flowers of the mimosa tree are attractive. They appear in late spring and early summer on the tips of the small tree’s spreading branches. The tree rarely grows above 40 feet, and its branches grow horizontally on the upper section of the trunk. As it matures, it looks a little like a yard parasol.

The mimosa was imported as an ornamental from Asia and attracts gardeners with its fragrant and pretty blossoms. However, mimosa tree management proved more difficult than expected.

The trees produce thousands of seeds annually in dangling seed pods. Since the seeds require scarification, they can stay in the soil for many years and remain viable. They are spread by birds and other wildlife into nature where they colonize any disturbed areas. Seedlings are often weak and weedy, sometimes termed mimosa tree weeds.

Mimosa also propagates vegetatively. The tree produces sprouts around it that can grow into unsightly clumps, difficult to eradicate. Indeed, control of mimosa tree is very difficult once it colonizes property.

It is difficult to get rid of a mimosa tree once it has spread, since the seedlings adapt to most soils. Moreover, the plants are not affected at all by hot or dry weather and don’t mind root disturbance. Once you remove native vegetation, the mimosa seeds will leap in to colonize the area.

The one thing force of nature effective to get rid of mimosa tree seedlings is cold. One good frost takes them out and that is why one rarely sees mimosa tree weeds or trees crowding along the roadsides in the North.

How to Get Rid of Mimosa Trees

The best way to control mimosa trees is by not planting one in your yard or, if you’ve already planted one, removing it before it seeds. Absent that, you can try to remove it using a variety of mechanical controls.

Cutting the trees off at ground level certainly acts to get rid of mimosa trees, but the trunks will respout. Repeated cutting of spouts or use of an herbicide is required to stop the sprouts.

Girdling is also an effective way to get rid of mimosa trees. Cut off a strip of bark all around the tree about six inches above the soil. Make the cut deep. This will kill the top of the tree, but the same resprout problem remains.

You can also take control of mimosa trees by spraying the leaves with systemic herbicides that travel through the plant all the way to the roots.

Note: Chemical control should only be used as a last resort, as organic approaches are safer and much more environmentally friendly.

Weed Spotlight: Chamberbitter, the “Little Mimosa”

Summer annual weeds are taking their last stand against Panhandle lawns before fall arrives. Rain and humid temperatures of late have boosted their growth spurts. Chamberbitter is a prime example.

Chamberbitter (Phyllanthus urinaria) is found as north as Illinois and as west as Texas, but thrives in lower southeastern states. It’s a headache for homeowners as well as pasture managers. This is an annual broadleaf weed that emerges in summer months. The foliage resembles that of the mimosa tree (Albizia julibrissin) and can be confused with the native mimosa groundcover, known as powderpuff mimosa (Mimosa strigillosa). This plant grows upright and develops a long taproot. Wart-like seeds can be found on the underside of the branch.

Figure 1: Chamberbitter, a common annual weed.

Credit: Mary Derrick, UF/IFAS Extension Santa Rosa County.

To control Chamberbitter in a lawn, one must not allow the seed to disperse. This plant germinates in warm soil temperatures. Therefore, it’s best to treat your lawn by applying a pre-emergent herbicide around April. An atrazine herbicide has an 80% effective rate. However, once weeds have germinated, a post-emergent herbicide would need to be applied. Turfgrass herbicides with 2,4-D (with dicamba & mecoprop or MCPP) or atrazine have good results. These are common chemicals and are represented by many brand names. However, both products need to be applied in cooler temperatures. Consecutive days of temperatures of less than 90 degrees are sufficient; otherwise the chemical will harm the turfgrass. Be aware, some formulations will injure or kill centipede and St. Augustine, but are safe to use on bermuda, bahia and zoysia. Be sure to read the label and follow the directions and precautions.

Non-selective, post-emergent herbicides, like glyphosate (Roundup) can be used in thick patches or for spot treatment. When using a non-selective herbicide, remember to protect turfgrass and other plants from spray drift or any contact, especially regarding ornamental plants and trees. Hand pulling of these weeds is an option, especially in flower beds. Do not shake the soil from the roots. In doing so, you may inadvertently spread seeds.

Soon, temperatures will be low enough to use a post-emergent herbicide for a control method. If you are having issues with chamberbitter or other summer annual broadleaf weeds, remember to plan to apply a pre-emergent herbicide this coming spring. Contact Gulf County Extension at 639-3200 for more information.

Information for this article is from the Clemson Cooperative Extension publication: “Chamberbitter”, Bulletin HCIC 2314:

Featured image by Prenn (Own work) , via Wikimedia Commons

UF/IFAS Extension is an Equal Opportunity Institution.


Posted: September 8, 2017

Category: Horticulture

Tags: Panhandle Gardening, Uncategorized


Chamberbitter (Phyllanthus urinaria) is also known as gripeweed, leafflower or little mimosa. It is a warm-season, annual, broadleaf weed that emerges from warm soils beginning in early summer. It reproduces by seeds, which are found in the green, warty-like fruit attached to the underside of the branch.

Chamberbitter grows upright and has a well developed taproot. The leaves are arranged in two rows on the branchlets and are thin and oblong, with smooth margins, resembling a mimosa seedling.

Chamberbitter (Phyllanthus urinaria).
Nancy Loewenstein, Auburn University, Bugwood.org

Management of chamberbitter is best achieved through the integrated use of mechanical, cultural, and chemical methods.

Mechanical Control

Mechanical weed control involves the physical removal of the weed from the soil. This is best accomplished by hand when weeds are young and small, or in the seedling stage, and is made easier if the soil is moist. Preventing the weed from reaching maturity and setting seed also reduces future weed populations.

Cultural Control

Cultural weed control is the prevention of weeds through proper lawn management practices. A properly mowed turf that is not stressed by insects, diseases, drought, or nutrient imbalance is the best defense against weeds. For more information on watering, fertilizing and mowing see the following fact sheets: HGIC 1201, Fertilizing Lawns, HGIC 1205, Mowing Lawns and HGIC 1207, Watering Lawns.

Within landscape beds, apply two to three inches of mulch in the spring to cover seeds from the previous season. Because chamberbitter seeds require light to germinate, this is especially effective.

Chemical Control in Lawns

Preemergence Herbicides: Because preemergence herbicides prevent seedlings from developing, they are an effective tool against annual weeds. However, they will not affect established weeds. Timing is critical. They must be applied prior to seed germination.

Atrazine is effective for preemergence control of chamberbitter in centipedegrass and in St. Augustinegrass lawns. Be careful not to apply on turf during the transition period from dormancy to active growth (spring green-up). Because chamberbitter tends to germinate in late spring and early summer, applications after grasses green up are effective. Target areas where chamberbitter was observed the previous season and be careful to not apply near the roots of desirable landscape plants. See Table 1 for examples of products.

Isoxaben is a preemergence herbicide that is effective for chamberbitter control in tall fescue, centipedegrass, St. Augustinegrass, bermudagrass and zoysiagrass lawns. For home lawn use it is purchased in a granular form, and the granules must be watered-in to allow the isoxaben to coat the soil surface for weed prevention. See Table 1 for examples of products.

Isoxaben is also available as an additional active ingredient in one Bayer Advanced brand three-way herbicide. With this product, the postemergence, three-way, broadleaf weed control portion controls existing chamberbitter plants. The isoxaben portion will aid in preventing reinfestation of the area from seeds that may be present. To prevent new seeds from growing, the entire area to be protected must be sprayed. Wait 2 days after spray application and activate the isoxaben residual barrier by watering the lawn with ¼ to ½ inch of irrigation. Do not seed or overseed within 60 days after application. Do not apply isoxaben to a newly seeded lawn until it has been mowed 3 times. See Table 1 for an example of product.

Postemergence Herbicides: Postemergence herbicides are most effective when applied to young weeds. For postemergence control of chamberbitter in St. Augustinegrass and centipedegrass lawns, atrazine is recommended. It has both preemergence and postemergence properties. Make two applications spaced 30 days apart.

On tall fescue, bermudagrass, and zoysiagrass lawns, repeat applications of three-way herbicides that contain 2,4-D, mecoprop (MCPP) and dicamba can be used to control chamberbitter. Apply these herbicides in late spring or early summer when the weeds are still young and space applications seven days apart. These three-way herbicides may also be used on centipedegrass and St. Augustinegrass lawns at reduced rates and after the grasses have completely greened-up in the spring. Read the product labels for rates to mix and apply. See Table 1 for examples of products. For more information refer to HGIC 2310, Managing Weeds in Warm-Season Lawns.

Celsius WG Herbicide, which contains thiencarbazone, iodosulfuron, and dicamba, will control chamberbitter, especially if applied when the average daily temperatures are over 60° F. Apply when chamberbitter is actively growing and again 2 to 4 weeks later. The addition of a non-ionic surfactant, such as Southern Ag Surfactant for Herbicides, will increase control.

Control in Landscape Beds

Postemergence Herbicides: The best choice for controlling existing chamberbitter in landscape beds is one of the many products containing glyphosate. Glyphosate will move through the plant and into the roots to kill the entire plant. See Table 1 for examples of products.

Glyphosate is a non-selective herbicide which can potentially damage any plant through contact with foliage or bark. Protect desirable plants from drift by not spraying in windy conditions, by keeping the spray nozzle close to the ground, and by using low pressure. Further protection is provided by attaching a plastic, cone shaped shield that surrounds the spray nozzle and confines the spray to the targeted plants. Shields can be made from bottomless two- liter drink bottles. Plants can also be shielded by covering with cardboard or something similar that is disposable.

When herbicides are applied to beds intended for future planting of ornamentals, care must be taken as various herbicides may injure the plants to be installed. For planned beds, glyphosate has far less soil activity (a few days) as compared with the three-way herbicides (a few weeks). Glyphosate is the safest choice for spray application in existing flower and shrub beds, so long as care is taken to prevent drift to non-target plants. Glyphosate applications are much less apt to move through the soil, be absorbed by roots, and injure existing woody ornamental shrubs.

Preemergence Herbicides: Isoxaben can be applied as a preemergence herbicide in landscape beds around certain well-established ornamental shrubs and trees to prevent chamberbitter from growing from seed. Products are best put below the mulch layer. Do not apply pre-emergence herbicides in beds where new plants will be installed, as plant root development may be inhibited. See Table 1 for examples of products.

Pesticide Safety

Always read the pesticide label and follow its directions exactly. Be sure to observe all precautions listed on the label. Mix pesticides at the rate recommended and never use more than the label says. Wear protective clothing or equipment as required by the label when mixing or applying pesticides. You may use the pesticide only on sites or crops listed on the label. Follow all label directions for pesticide storage and disposal.

Always heed the six most important words on the label: “Keep out of reach of children.”

Table 1. Examples of Herbicides for Chamberbitter Control in Turfgrass & Landscape Beds.

Brands & Specific Products Herbicide Active Ingredient % Active Ingredientin Product Site Labeled for Use
Bayer Advanced Southern Weed Killer for Lawns Concentrate; & RTS1 2,4-D
Tall Fescue
ZoysiagrassUse at lower label rate on:
St. Augustinegrass
Bonide Weed Beater Lawn Weed Killer Concentrate 2,4-D
Spectracide Weed Stop for Lawn Concentrate 2,4-D
Ferti-lome Weed-Out Lawn Weed Killer Concentrate 2,4-D
Southern Ag Lawn Weed Killer with Trimec® Concentrate 2,4-D
Spectracide Weed Stop for Lawns RTU2 2,4-D
Ortho Weed Be Gon Weed Killer for Lawns Concentrate; & RTS1 2,4-D
Ortho Weed B Gon Weed Killer for Lawns RTU2 2,4-D
Bayer Advanced Season Long Weed Control for Lawns 2,4-D
Hi-Yield Atrazine Weed Killer Atrazine 4.00 Centipedegrass
St. Augustinegrass
Southern Ag Atrazine
St. Augustine Weed Killer
Atrazine 4.00
Image Herbicide for St. Augustine & Centipede with Atrazine Atrazine 4.00
Spectracide Weed Stop for Lawns for St. Augustine & Centipede Lawns RTS1 Atrazine 4.00
Celsius WG Herbicide3 Thiencarbazone
St. Augustinegrass4
Ferti-lome Broadleaf Weed Control with Gallery Isoxaben
0.38 Tall Fescue
St. Augustinegrass
Landscape beds
Snapshot 2.5TG Isoxaben
For use in landscape beds only. Small amounts getting into lawn adjacent to beds should not hurt lawn.
Ace Concentrate Weed & Grass Killer

Roundup Original Concentrate

Roundup Pro Herbicide
Martin’s Eraser Systemic Weed & Grass Killer

Hi-Yield Super Concentrate

Killzall Weed & Grass Killer

Bonide Kleenup Grass & Weed

Killer Concentrate; & RTU2

Eliminator Weed & Grass Killer Super Concentrate

Gordon’s Groundwork Concentrate 50% Super Weed & Grass Killer

Knockout Weed & Grass Killer Super Concentrate

Monterey Remuda Full Strength 41% Glyphosate

Quick Kill Grass & Weed Killer

Southern States Grass & Weed Killer Concentrate II

Tiger Brand Quick Kill Concentrate

Total Kill Pro Weed & Grass Killer Herbicide

Ultra Kill Weed & Grass Killer Concentrate

Zep Enforcer Weed Defeat III

Glyphosate 41% (most brands) Not for use within lawn, as spot spraying will kill adjacent turfgrass. Typically for use in landscape beds only.
1 RTS: Ready-to-Spray (hose-end sprayer)
2 RTU: Ready-to-Use (pre-mixed spray bottle for spot spraying)
3 This mix of active ingredients requires the addition of 2 teaspoons of a non-ionic surfactant (that is, a wetter-sticker agent to aid in weed control at 0.25% by volume) per gallon of water, such as Hi-Yield Spreader Sticker.
4 Spot treatments to St. Augustinegrass at temperatures above 90 degrees may cause temporary growth regulation.
Note: Do not apply postemergence herbicides, except Celsius WG Herbicide, to lawns during the spring green up of turfgrass.

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Tuesday – September 23, 2008

From: Goose Creek, SC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Invasive Plants
Title: Is the mimosa tree poisonous?
Answered by: Nan Hampton

Is the mimosa tree poisonous ? If you burn the trimmed limbs is the smoke noxious ? There are mimosa plants (Genus Mimosa) that are native to North America, but I suspect you are referring to the non-native, invasive mimosa, also called silk tree (Albizia julibrissin). I could find no listing in my favorite toxic plant databases for the native mimosas. However, I did find an entry in the Texas Toxic Plant Database for Albizia julibrissin indicating that the beans when ingested are a neurotoxin for livestock and dogs. There is a tree, another non-native, that is poisonous and burning the plant produces toxic smoke—oleander (Nerium oleander). See the entries in the Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System and inPoisonous Plants of the Southeastern United States. You can check the following databases:

Poisonous Plants of North Carolina

Cornell University Plants Poisonous to Livestock

University of Pennsylvania’s Poisonous Plants

Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System

Poisonous Plants of the Southeastern United States

Texas Toxic Plant Database

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