Can I Grow a Mesquite Tree?
First thing’s first: Can you grow a mesquite tree from seed?
Mesquite trees are very easy to grow from scratch. All you need is a seed and any viable soil. Mesquite trees can take moisture from even the driest ground thanks to their deep, long-running root systems, making just about anywhere a viable patch.
However, this also highlights the major issue with growing a mesquite tree. The roots are so expansive they may interfere with your piping, plumbing, and the foundation of your home. This could lead to burst pipes and further home issues.
How to Identify a Mesquite Tree
Mesquite trees are very easy to identify by their bean pods.
Mesquite trees have what are called screwbean pods. They’re long, green, twisty bean pods that carry seeds. You may seem them hanging from the branches and littering the ground around the mesquite tree.
Mesquite trees have wild, wide-reaching branches and sparse greenery at the top. The trees are typically fairly bare near the trunk. Their leaves are skinny and brush-like rather than wide like, say, a maple leaf.
Watering Your Mesquite Tree
If you have mesquite trees in your yard, your number one care concern should be learning how to water them.
Young mesquite trees should be watered regularly to help their roots grow and thrive. All you need to do is pour a generous amount of water around the base of the tree. You can easily do this by leaving a hose by the base of the tree running on low until it’s thoroughly soaked into the soil.
Try adding a few inches of mulch over the wet area to keep things moist. This will also keep weeds away. Don’t water your mesquite tree again until the soil around it is completely dry.
Mesquite trees need the most water in the first two months of their growing season, and then less afterward. After this point, the feeder roots are established. They can take water from deep in the soil.
A properly watered, cared for mesquite tree can grow as tall as 50 feet! Keep your mesquite tree happy and you’ll have a big, thriving friend in no time.
Fertilizing Your Mesquite Tree
Mesquite trees are pretty easy on fertilizer. Typically, you won’t need any to keep your mesquite tree healthy.
Mesquite trees are actually a part of the legume family. That means they take nitrogen from the air, convert it into ammonia, and then use that for energy. This is essentially what fertilizer does, making it unnecessary in most cases.
The only reason your mesquite tree needs fertilizer is in extreme soil conditions. If the soil is lacking in nutrition, you might need to supplement it. You’ll know if this is the case by the Arizona mesquite tree leaves — they’ll start to go yellow, meaning a lack of nitrogen.
If this is the case, you should fertilize your mesquite tree with ammonium phosphate. Use 1/2 pound for every 100 square feet of trees. Just sprinkle a generous portion over the soil, and water it thoroughly until nice and soaked.
You shouldn’t need to reapply the fertilizer for about four weeks at a time. Take note of the tree’s leaves and keep track of the nitrogen deficiency. If it starts improving, you’re in the clear.
Pruning Your Mesquite Tree
Mesquite trees are fast growers, meaning they need a decent amount of pruning during Spring.
Without proper pruning, your mesquite tree’s branch formation will suffer. Pruning is a big job for mesquite trees. You might even have to remove about 25% of the tree’s canopy at times to keep it in perfect shape.
First, remove any damaged, dead branches from the tree as close to the trunk as possible. You’ll notice them right away as they’ll be brittle and drooping. The leaves are a good giveaway fo this.
The best tool for this is simple pruning shears or a pruning saw. You should always wear gloves, as mesquite trees have thorns.
Remove any large branches that look like they could snap off. A large enough branch can collapse under its own weight, damaging your home or even other people. Always keep your eyes peeled for dangerous branches.
When to Start Pruning
A young mesquite tree won’t need as much pruning as a maturing one. So, don’t start pruning for fun — wait until the tree needs it.
The first time you prune a mesquite tree should be when it’s dormant. Mesquite trees grow throughout the spring and summer, but winter is a time of stagnance. This is when you’ll likely need to prune your mesquite tree for the first time.
You could also prune the tree in late spring, as it’ll heal more quickly. However, you should mostly stick to pruning dead and dying branches.
Always Practice Proper Mesquite Tree Care
If you have a mesquite tree in your yard, follow the mesquite tree care tips above. By doing this, you’ll have the healthiest mesquite tree in the neighborhood.