Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Research Before You Buy

I fell in love. My, what a beautiful tree! with its delicate fern-like foliage and plume-like blossoms. It grew quickly and towered into the sky, its branches filled with bouquets of fragrant pink-tinged flowers.

When we purchased this property sixteen years ago, we were indeed excited to begin planting trees and shrubs and those things that would add structure and stability to our beginning landscape. The bramble-style of wild blackberries and poison oak were not quite what we had in mind. We were anxious to get started and to the nursery we went to select our first few trees. Twenty dollars and about a one-inch caliper... I had faith. Having seen these in our many trips to California, I could visualize it as part of our design.

Had we been more aware, or shall I admit, had I done more in-depth research, we would never have planted Albizia julibrissim, aka Mimosa or Silk tree. Fast growing, brittle, and therefore short-lived, this is not a tree for longevity, quite the messy specimen and clearly not the best use of our hard-earned money.

We had planted it on the west side of the house outside our bedroom door. With wind and rain, which we get a lot of in the Pacific northwest, we would find the decking covered with foliage and flowers. Large branches would break with any winds and eventually the tree literally split right down the middle. Of course we tried to save it, nursed it along by cutting away some of the branches in an attempt to foster new growth. And it did grow and split and become infested with insects... until finally we had to cut down the Mimosa.

I still think it is a beautiful tree, but not for our landscape. Just be sure to research before you buy.