How to Prune a Silk Tree


Silk trees, also called mimosa trees, are small to medium-size trees that grow to a height of 40 feet. They have hot pink flowers that bloom in the summer, making them attractive additions to a landscape. Silk trees can grow in most soil types and tolerate drought. Silk tree wood, however, tends to be brittle and weak, and makes it prone to breakage. The trees should be pruned regularly to keep the wood as healthy as possible.

Things You'll Need

  • Ladder
  • Gloves
  • Hand pruner
  • Pruning saw
  • Prune silk trees late in the fall or in winter, which is their the dormant season.

  • Decide if your silk tree will have a central trunk or several trunks. For a single stem, keep the strongest shoot and remove any competing ones. Let several shoots grow for a multi-trunk tree.

  • Clip the tops of several of the branches to shape the tree with a flat-top. If this isn't done, the silk tree will resemble a bush. A ladder probably will be needed to reach to tree's top.

  • Prune branches and buds that grew the previous season in the spring. Keep each stem to a limit of five or six buds to limit the size and width of the tree.

  • Remove dead, diseased or weak limbs by cutting them with a pruning saw. Place the cut at the V-shaped point where the damaged limb meets a healthy one.

  • Pull the seedlings as soon as they sprout. The silk tree is very invasive and drops hundreds of seeds, which will become trees.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wear gloves to protect your hands.
  • Have someone spot you when using a ladder.
  • The silk tree is very invasive. If left with no maintenance, many more trees will grow from their seeds.

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