Apartamian89
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My Tiny Bonsais-(Mimosa)

Hello all,
First let me start off by saying this is a awesome forum. Im new to bonsais and was hoping to get some help here. About three months ago my girlfriend went to Urban Outfitters and they had these kits "Grow your own bonsai trees" So she got the mimosa acasia one for me. I planted the seeds and about 1 weeks later i had some saplings. Ive given a few away to friends and kept 3 for myself. Now ive been taking good care of my trees. Now they stand at about 8 inches and have many branches forming. Although things seem to be going good i am unsure on how to continue their good health. Lately i have been noticing that some leaves are forming as a light yellow instead of a dark green. These leaves have also been falling off. Now i have considered a few things to be the problem: Too much light, nitrogen difficiency, or possibly it just being winter. I am living now on campus at Geneseo University which is near Buffalo New York. So what should i do to make these bonsais looks spectacular. I will post some pictures in alittle bit. Also alot of the info is for already grown bonsais, how does one going about training a sapling?

alisios
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I believe Mimosa is deciduous so expect the leaves to fall anyway.

Mimosa grow like crazy here in Arizona. Larger trees can take full sun most of day here when established...

I've been looking for a Mimosa myself...

Apartamian89
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I still have quite a bit of seeds left if you want. I have noticed that when the leaves fall off after a few weeks the branch they grew off of usually shrivels and dies. When should i expect bark to be growing becasue of right now its just a green stem.

alexinoklahoma
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By mimosa, do you mean 'albizia julibrissin'? Mimosa is really a poor name for a tree as there are numerous types called such that are totally different from each other. Acacia is different than what most call a 'mimosa' *here*, but kinda similar to the eye - big diff's in growths/invasiveness, etc. Albizia is the most common and easiest to find/sell. It is a trash tree around here as most folks that planted them years ago *hate* them for their invasiveness...and just yesterday, I chopped down three big trees for a neighbor that wants 'em gone-for-good. Its outlawed to be in-ground in many municipalities, fwiw, and possibly even in pots (???). I am speaking of the 'usual' tree referred to as Mimosa that infests natural arreas and kills off native stuff, blah, blah. It was popular for the older generation to plant as a pretty shade tree, but the price is now being paid for such 'ignorance' at that time, IMO.

*Easily* grown, and I have one I started last Fall and grew indoors under fluoro lights (wife's desire - cheap excuse, haha). I have cut it back *twice* and it is still about 4' tall with just one branching point at about 18" above soil. The cedar box (about 24" x 18") is being pushed apart by the roots' forceful growth, and I am going to have to use wood screws to put box back together when (if!!) I repot it. I am wanting a short wide canopy with the flowers, though since I now have another 'mimosa'-family tree (my flamboyants and 'royal' calliandra look similar, but much more well-behaved overall), I am probably going to burn this one so it won't root anywhere and cause havoc with wherever it ends up ;)

The green stems will simply turn grey after a while, no real *bark formation*, jsut a hardening of what's there, and the wood of this species is *notoriously* weak. Wind will break bigger branches without much effort, fwiw, and there are much beter species to work with as this type is *very* fast growing (as you can tell, LOL). Nebari are rapid forming with the roots' aggresive swelling(s) and base thickens nicely - mine is about 3" at nebari and gnarly as can be already. There is no way you can give most 'mimosa' trees too *much* sun, but easy to give it under-sun conditions which will keep it 'retarded' somewhat (stunted compared to normal growths). They grow wildly with nitrogenous ferts (some are leguminous, so no nitrogenous fert needed whatsoever). As temps cool and days shorten, the trees will slowly just fade into dormancy, so slight yellowing isn't surprising. LOTS of yellowing is likely lack of light to keep the chlorophyll stron and 'active', IME. But without knowing better what you are speaking of as there is such a wide latitude of stuff referred to as ,mimosa' (and 'acacia' even), it is hard to be certain ;)

Do you happen to have a Latin name for your tree? Even black locust looks similar in foliage (except the bark and spines, of course)... I just assume albizia when folks say 'mimosa'...

Alex

alisios
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Albizia julibrissin (aka Silk Tree, Mimosa) are what I was referring to...

I've always thought they were pretty anyway and would make a nice bonsai..

Here where I live, the paradise tree is what's growing like weeds - it was seeded by a mining company 50-60 years ago because it was the only thing that could grow in the mining tailings... now it's taking over everything - including the native plants... I have a few in pots, but mostly yank them out of the yard -

alexinoklahoma
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OK - know the 'silk tree' well. And it is a poor choice to try and 'bonsai'. I did, and it is so vigorous, it is pushing the cedar box apart where it is stapled/nailed together! It can *easily* put out 10' of growth, per branch, per season. Pruning it back slows it none, but it *can* be done, I am sure...

There's no way you'll be able to keep it 'small and manageable, no way at all, my friend. I used little fert, semi-poor soil, everything I could think of to keep it slower-than-usual for species...and when pot sits on ground, the tree is taller than myself (at 6'). Been hacked twice this summer which did nothing for the vigor - and while other stuff is slowing for dormancy, its still growing an inch or two per day (or so). Seriously! The tree from Hell, I think...

I tell you this now so it does not surprise you. You will be needing to repot it probably twice a season, and pruning it almost every day if you want to keep it tame and in one shape all season.

They do make gnarly big/wide nebari quickly and that's about the only positive thing I can think of about 'em. My wife wanted me to try one in that box, but since I now have a similar-flowered calliandra, she won't mind me killing the silk-tree (a slow death is shall have!) ;) She's legally-blind and likes the big puffy flowers of that species/family, but I so hate the silk-tree when its in-ground anywhere near me.

The 'bark' is just the hardened skin and nothing special about it. Wood is VERY soft, and cuts rather easily. No need to seal pruned cuts, IMO and just cut 'em anywhre ya want as it will regenerate quite vigorously. Difficult to kill actually, so have no fear! I recommend a pot at least 24" across for a first-year tree - it *will* fill that pot twice a season with roots, IME, but a different climate *may* be a bit slower, or possibly faster. It will not be anyting like most other deciduous trees, though ;)

Alex

Apartamian89
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Here are some pics of my babies, hopefully you can get a idea of what im dealing with.

[img]https://i24.tinypic.com/9kxoj8.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i23.tinypic.com/2z5ovoz.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i24.tinypic.com/11r4v34.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i22.tinypic.com/2hsatet.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i20.tinypic.com/23wmbs9.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i24.tinypic.com/rm2udz.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i21.tinypic.com/y12d2.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i23.tinypic.com/2ujkyys.jpg[/img]
Last edited by Apartamian89 on Fri Oct 19, 2007 3:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

alisios
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Then call me crazy, but I'm a sucker for those types of acacia leaves... :)

I've got a Feather Bush(Desert Fern), Fairy Duster and about 15 mesquite saplings in the works...

Apartamian89
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How do they look?

alexinoklahoma
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Those do not look all that healthy, IMO. It appears almost like they are grown inside with nowhere near enough light upon them...they are indoors, full-time, right?? A silk-tree that cannot hold itself up is *not* a happy tree at all. The lower trunks really look rather puny, no offense intended at all, and really needs to be addressed rather quickly before they run out of stored energy and simply flop over exhausted and depleted of any future hope.

There should be no need whatsoever to tie them to a 'stake', even if in an area of high-winds. Mine always withstood tornadic winds without any effort. If the need for staking (or 'strawing', LOL j / k) is there, the plants are *super* weak. Silk-tree is super-vigorous in a proper environ, and never is 'floppy' at all (as all those look, IMO). Typically, the internodes are *much* longer, and for some reason, those jsut are not growing like they should (and not from overlighting, I promise, LOL).

With you saying you have given some away to friends, I'd make sure that they are not 'outlawed' for in-ground use in your locality/State (www.invasive.org is good place to start) to make sure that no one gets in 'trouble' naively. Some municipalitites come down pretty hard on these plants, fwiw. I'd double-check on it myself ;)

I also have mesquite seed that I am thinking of starting this Spring, and have several other harder-to-find species with similar foliage. I have lots of Black Locust cuttings of various caliper successfully rooting right now, and expect to have some nice trunks going next Spring (crossing fingers!). I have always thought that a 'forest planting' of ancient-looking 'trees' (dinosaur era, per se) would be neat - even use Norfolk Island pine for the pre-historic look seen in artist-drawings of dinosaur-like forests you always see depicted in museums or wherever.

Also, please describe the soil used - it makes a huge difference, believe me...

(edit) if you wanna PM me your e-mail addy, I'll gladly shoot ya a few small jpg's of my silk-tree that is less than a year-old to show you what they *should* be looking like. I have a few pics when mine is about same age as yours, and some 'current' ones as well. Huge diff's in appearance between mine and what you show ;) Not implying I am better, just the environ yours are in is rather unworthy for this species.

Alex

Apartamian89
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Well the two plants with straws seem to be doing very good from my point of view its just the other one thats kind of failing right now. Thats the only plant that really has any yellow leaves. The reason i used staked them was because the leaves were causing them to fall over a little bit when they were just growing out, i took your advice and removed them to see if my trees were happy and it seems that they can stand up pretty well with the exception of that one tree.
These trees are indoors all the time and by one of the sunniest windows in my room, gets a full blast from the sun most of the day
The soil im using is miracle gro potting soil i believe or one of those name brand soils that have like three months of nutrients in them or whatnot. When i first planted the seeds i had placed them in these pots called jiffy pots which are supposed to bio degrade after awhile. Once i realized they would out grow these little pots i just planted them right into those bigger container leaving them inside the jiffy pot.
Another thing i was wondering is if i could use miracle gro plant fertilizer?
Tell me what i should do to makes these beauties thrive.

arboricola
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If you use Miracle gro potting soil make sure you let it dry out first and then sift it to get rid of the fine stuff. Mix ½ & ½ with grit or gravel. This leaves about 2-3 days between watering. In my experience I've found that this tree will grow in just about anything. Miracle-gro house plant food is OK to use.

Phil...

alisios
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Apartamian89 wrote: Another thing I was wondering is if I could use miracle gro plant fertilizer?
I use Miracle Gro, but in super teenie weenie amounts - like a 1/4 of the small scoop (blue powder) in a gallon of water...

Others here might have some strong opinions about MG, but I use it. So far, so good...

btw, IMO, you are keeping your plants alive - that's a good thing! I make it a goal to keep mine alive 1st, looks 2nd- if they don't look so good, than it's a learning experience - consider the fact that your plants are alive as a sign of you doing a good job! :wink:

Apartamian89
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Thanks,
So now my plants look pretty wimpy, When can i expect them to get bigger trunks and look something like a tree. Also how do i control the formation of their leaves.

alexinoklahoma
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When the leaves cause 'em to fall over, the trees aren't right (as you see, I think) :) You really can't control the shape of the leaves other than to clip 'em as they extend, and sometimes that looks 'funny' with the abrupt ending of the leaf (non-tapered border?).

These trees *love* it hot - mild indoor temps will 'stunt' them from full potential (as you see). And windows will never give/allow anywhere near the level of sun-energy these trees are programmed for. Gives enough-to-get-by-on, but not what they need to form the more-enrgy-dependent woody structures, like a thickening trunk - to hold up the heavy leaves the tree is going to grow ;) A very succint overall description, of course, but that's kinda what's happening to thsoe trees, IMO. Its good they are still going, and shows you are doing 'right', but not with the location :)

I do not like the MG soil, but have noting against the fert *when used appropriately* such as needed, blah, blah... There's cheaper non-big brand stuff, but not by much, IMO. When a tree is not growing much, it is absorbing much 'fert' from soil. And soil that does not wash out easily is very easily over-ferted, so be careful about putting fert in such 'thick' soil. Just a point you may not have thought of, is all :) Definitely, these trees like the 'softer' soils better, but can grow (and thrive better than most other 'natives') in most anything - hence their invasiveness across the country ;)

HTH,
Alex (and will e-mail those pics later) :)

Apartamian89
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Thanks Alex,
Now i keep hearing about domarcy, how do i go about preparing these trees for winter?

alexinoklahoma
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That might be in the stickies at top of Forum - or go to www.evergreengardenworks.com/articles Read *everything* there - its obvious (no insult meant - honestly) that you need a crash-course in deciduous plant growth needs/wants/demands and such. You'll get more from an hour of reading than anything else at this point. Honestly :) Or find any other links/articles on bonsai basics and read up on that location(s). But 'study' you must, OK?

Dormancy is when leaves fall off tree(s) in Fall and tree goes to sleep for the winter. Colors of Fall are a part of this process, and is easily seen (as you know). Silk trees do not *have* to do a dormancy ( a genetic-thing), and its OK to keep under *strong* light through winter. They do *better* with a rest, though, like most deciduous stuff that will survive winter temps. However, yours are likely to be pretty weak, and could use a rest. Any chance of making a lil' cold-frame somewhere? (search that term, please - box that has mulch or such to keep roots in pots from getting toooo cold)...

After reading up on most things, we can help you understand better how to raise these pups into tougher trees. You are just kinda starting off with wrong soil, wrong light, wrong place...but the right attitude, right outlook, and all that :) It just would really, really help give you the 'big picture' about what you need for such a species, which honestly is not a good one for growing inside in a pot. There's other indoor stuff that would be *so* much more appropriate, so don't think anyone is trying to discourage you by saying these silk's are 'wimpy'. Sorry - not best choice of word there. But you can understand what I was meaning... would saying they are 'underprivileged' be better, LOL??

TTYL,
Alex

Apartamian89
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Just wanted to say thank you for those pictures Alex, now I can see what I am dealing with. Does your tree by any chance flower during the spring time. The box that my tree came in had a picture of a beautiful tiny tree with yellow pom pom flowers. Funny how now it looks like this thing is not going to stop growing.

Also thank you for diverting me to some articles (I think the link you just gave me is broken though). I really am interested in botany. I am actually starting to volunteer at our campus greenhouse, and I think I might be heading in the path of Botony.

P.S. mind sending me some other pictures you got? esp. of any seedlings?

alisios
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Alex - you aren't sharing your pictures with everyone?? :wink:

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Gnome
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Apartamian89,

Try this.
[url]https://www.evergreengardenworks.com/articles.htm[/url]
And this.
[url]https://www.bonsai4me.com/Basics.html[/url]

Norm

alexinoklahoma
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Location: Central Oklahoma

Arb: This the first Board where I have *had* to get a separate upload 'account' - and have just been very lazy about it. I will get my act together for better 'participation', LOL. Sorry...keep forgetting to do *that*...

Rebuke well taken, LOL! And deserved, arb...no doubt. Practice what I preach and all......

Thx, gnome, for cleaning up my Brent-link - *used* to work like that, haha... but no better single-link for explaining 99% of 'the basics' - and Harry's really good at being 'layman' undestandable as well. But I can practically hear the English 'accent' in it, LOL! 'Fortnight' - always throws me when 'they' use that term, hehe.... j / k


My silk-tree is just now approaching a year old, and no idea when they begin to flower. Prolly be a few more years minimum, I bet. If I can keep it under control, that is. And silk-tree (albizia, per se) has *pink* flowers. Without any doubt on that point, IME. If I am wrong, I am going to be shocked. Are you *certain* yours is such species?? The leaves are most certainly not a good way to get an ID as I can think of at least 5-6 species with similar leaves without even trying. I know you mentioned it was such, albizia (sp?) - but are you no-doubt-about-it certain? Or could that pic be heavily sun-faded and/or water-soaked repeatedly from where it was stored (maybe?) so it jsut looks 'yellow'?

Talk about a curveball being thrown by saying yellow flowers! Thread continues ;) And those are the only pics *I* have of a seedling silk-tree. Sorry. I *may* have some pics of a bunch of my seedlings emerging and at a few days/weeks old (then trashed) - but on another computer which will be networked-up this Tuesday (DSL - yeah!!!!! long story there - dial-up *only* for last 7 years, those mailed pics took almost 1/2 hour to upload, fwiw, LOL). I will check for those pics certainly...and get an upload account.

May I inquire which one you folks would recommend as 'easily' accessible and such? Wife is legally blind, and the fewer clicks the better since I am sure we'll share the account or whatever. I will go to 'help/FAQ' for more details/etc for application of the account, but which URL/site is best for the 'account'? Thx for suggestions, not necessarily endorsements for purposes of Board restrictions, blah, blah...

TTYL,
Alex

Apartamian89
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No the box it came with had little yellow flowers on it. When i was googling my species i kept finding pink silk trees but i found one species that has yellow flowers and very similar leaves to mine.

This is what i think my tree is, [url]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Acacia_smallii_2.jpg[/url]

ynot
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alexinoklahoma wrote:and get an upload account.
....
May I inquire which one you folks would recommend as 'easily' accessible and such? I will go to 'help/FAQ' for more details/etc for application of the account, but which URL/site is best for the 'account'? Thx for suggestions, not necessarily endorsements for purposes of Board restrictions, blah, blah...

TTYL,
Alex
Alex,

Look here: https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3557

You will find several links to free photo hosting sites near the bottom. 8).

I look forward to your pictures :D.

ynot

alexinoklahoma
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[img]https://img90.imageshack.us/img90/1276/silktree21oct07cropyj6.jpg[/img]

[img]https://img146.imageshack.us/img146/5529/silktree21oct07nebcroprs3.jpg[/img]

[img]https://img146.imageshack.us/img146/5154/silktreemonthold1bd3.jpg[/img]

1st pic was taken today to show size/shape.
2nd pic is today to show closer trunk/neb and caliper - JuicyFruit gum by base.
3rd pic is when it was about 3 weeks old (iirr).

Has been repotted since the 'young pic', and cut back twice as well. Still putting out new growth every day. Can say more when I verify this post actually works, if anyone wants (?)... feel like such a 'newbie' on this part, haha. please ignore the 'stuff' on top of soil...my dgtr & grd-dgtr really like to put colored rocks on mulch, and those are 'box' turtle shells my dogs brought home and dgtr wanted to keep with tree (don't ask, LOL)

Cool - worked first time save a bracket missing, coulda been worse. I am willing to bet trees that started this thread are a 'basic' Silk Tree as it is sooo common, but cannot differentiate by just the leaves, IMO. So many of the 'acacia'-looking trees can only really be told apart by older bark and the flowers/seeds. Younger trees pretty much are all alike, espcially if they are out of their natural element as far as growth after germination, so to speak. Traits of growth rate/vigor vary widely by species, of course, and I believe that Silk Tree (albizia) is amongst the fastest/most-aggressive of all of them ;) This help any?

Alex

alisios
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I like your tree very much, Alex! Don't kill it - send it to me!

arboricola
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[quote="Apartamian89"]No the box it came with had little yellow flowers on it. When I was googling my species I kept finding pink silk trees but I found one species that has yellow flowers and very similar leaves to mine.


I believe what you have is Acacia Farnesiana. You might try to Google " Acacia Farnesiana as bonsai". I'm sure you will find some info...

Phil...

alexinoklahoma
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I *like* this A farn.... - bright, gaudy yellow, like making a statement :) Really spiny, too. Imagine trying to get your hands around/within something such as these pics for things like ramifying pruning ->https://www.conabio.gob.mx/malezasdemexico/mimosaceae/acacia-farnesiana/fichas/pagina1.htm Band-Aid time, LOL!

Apartamian: Those trees need *lots* of light/heat. They'll limp along weakly for a year or two, but without lots of energy into them, they won't do much of anything, IMO. Give 'em all the light(s) you can, with lights as close a spossible depending on type used, etc.

Alex

Apartamian89
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At home i have some grow lights. I guess ill pick them up some time soon and set those babies up.

ynot
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Apartamian89 wrote:At home I have some grow lights. I guess ill pick them up some time soon and set those babies up.
Hopefully they are fluorescent which can be set literally inches away from the trees.

IMO The incandescent ones put out too much heat and tend to roast everything.

If you should need to replace your lighting remember that it is the lumens that count, Not the watts
[Lumens refer to the amount of light energy the bulb emits & that is an important #, Watts refer only to the amount of electricity the bulb uses. {Which may or may not be important to you. ;)}]

ynot

Apartamian89
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they are flourescent and have special grow bulbs in them i think they will do the trick

ynot
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Apartamian89 wrote:they are flourescent and have special grow bulbs in them I think they will do the trick
Yep, 8).

ynot

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