Issue: September 2, 1996

Mimosa vascular wilt

Question: My mimosa trees are beginning to die. They were just getting large enough to make some shade. What is wrong and what can I do? The County Extension Agent collected samples and sent them to Las Cruces for diagnosis.

Answer: Dr. Natalie Goldberg, Extension Plant Pathologist, diagnosed the problem as Mimosa Vascular Wilt disease. According to Dr. Goldberg, Mimosa Vascular Wilt is due to a fungus, Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. perniciosum. It is a soil-borne fungus which invades trees through the root system through wounds or directly into weakened trees. Trees may be weakened by compacted soil or construction damage. Root injury during planting into contaminated soil can also result in infection.

This disease has caused considerable damage to mimosas in the southeastern U.S. It has entered New Mexico in contaminated soil in nursery containers.

Symptoms of this disease include chlorosis (leaf yellowing), leaf wilt occurring in early to mid-summer, and death of branches and the tree.

Balanced fertilizers (those with equal percentages of nutrients) may help alleviate symptoms in infected trees. High nitrogen fertilizers are not recommended. Water frequently to moderate wilt symptoms, but don't overwater and cause root rots. Dead branches should be removed and burned.

Fungicides provide little benefit. Use of resistant trees is the best means of avoiding the problem. Some resistant trees to consider include redbud, honey locust, and locust.

Marisa Y. Thompson, PhD, is the Extension Horticulture Specialist, in the Department of Extension Plant Sciences at the New Mexico State University Los Lunas Agricultural Science Center, email:, office: 505-865-7340, ext. 113.


For more gardening information, visit the NMSU Extension Horticulture page at Desert Blooms and the NMSU Horticulture Publications page.

Send gardening questions to Southwest Yard and Garden - Attn: Dr. Marisa Thompson at, or at the Desert Blooms Facebook.

Please copy your County Extension Agent and indicate your county of residence when you submit your question!