Native Arizona Mesquite Trees – growing tips – disease – Velvet mesquite trees, The Tree of Life

Honey and Velvet Mesquite Trees can take the extreme heat and the cold! This tree grows fast.  What is the most common tree of the Desert Southwest?  It is the Mesquite! Like many members of the Legume Family, mesquite trees restore nitrogen to the soil.

Mesquite Tree Arizona

Honey Mesquite Tree

There are 3 common species of NATIVE mesquite trees:  Screwbean Mesquite (Prosopis pubescens ),  Honey Mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa), and Velvet Mesquite (Prosopis velutina).

Native Arizona Trees, Mesquite

Native Desert Tree – Honey Mesquite

These native trees are extremely drought tolerant. Honey mesquites are more rounded with big, floppy, drooping branches.  The foliage is feathery and straight – paired with sharp spines on twigs.

yound mesquite tree

Arizona Native Mesquite Tree

This tree normally reaches 20–30 ft, but can reach as tall as 50 ft (15 m). The growth rate is medium.  Honey mesquite coppices  (it will make new growth from a root or stump if it is cut down), making permanent removal extremely hard.  If a single trunk is cut down the Honey Mesquite will replace it with a multiple trunk version.

Honey Mesquite Tree variety species

Tree with large needles, spikes Arizona

The Honey Mesquite has pale, yellow, elongated spikes and bears straight, yellow seed bean pods. In this picture you can see how long and strong this mesquite’s spikes are. I’ve learned NOT to wear flip flops when walking around our Honey Mesquite!

Agua Calienta Park with oldest Mesquite trees

oldest Mesquite tree in Arizona

Caring for mesquite trees is a simple process after the tree has fully matured. Mesquite trees need a full day’s worth of direct sun light to grow. Make sure to plant your mesquite tree in a place where it will always have a lot of quality sun.

Good staking is crucial to the Mesquite tree, especially in areas with severe summer storms, monsoon season, or high winds.

tree ties for young mesquite

Staking your mesquite trees

The Shade from these Native Arizona Trees create a 10-15 degree cooler temperature.

 Mesquite tree for shade

Arizona Mesquite Trees

Mesquite Trees are great for shade

This Mesquite tree has a disease growth that I continually battle.  Mistletoe is a parasite that is common to Mesquite trees.

Mistletoe growth is a parasite on Mesquite Trees

What is the strange growth on this tree? This disease looking growth coming out of our mesquite tree is Mistletoe.   Check in the categories under tree disease for more information.

The shortcoming of a Chilean or Honey Mesquite tree is wind damage. Proper staking and proper watering can help you avoid wind damage with your mesquite trees.

staking your honey mesquite tree helps prevent wind damage

Make your Mesquite trees “seek out” water and nutrients by careful arrangement of your irrigation emitters and scheduled DEEP irrigation. This will foster the development of a more dispersed root system and reduces the risk of wind throw.

Pruning will keep your tree from becoming messy, while stimulating new growth on those branches that you pruned. The dead, diseased, broken or weak branches, drain the Mesquite tree’s energy.

Mesquite bean pods are rich in carbohydrates and have very low moisture content, making them an excellent source for harvesting, processing, and storage.  A variety of animals eat the seeds such as quail, dear, javelina, coyotes, squirrels and rats.

Historic records have indicated that almost every part of the mesquite tree has a use. The Pima Indians of southern Arizona referred to the mesquite as the TREE OF LIFE.

Mesquite tree leaves and bean pods 

During the inevitable droughts and deprivations of desert frontier days, the mesquite trees served up the primary food source for caravans and settlers.  Mesquite beans became manna from heaven.

Medical studies of mesquite trees and other desert foods, said that despite its sweetness, mesquite flour (made by grinding whole pods) is extremely effective in controlling blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.

Mesquite Tree deep irrigation system

This extra large (over 30 feet tall)  Mesquite tree gets watered more often during summer when the temperature is over 105 degrees.

Mesquite trees have lateral roots that extend far beyond the canopies of the plants and taproots that penetrate well below the surface of the soil.  Some mesquites may live for more than two centuries, according to U. S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service.

mesquite trees have massive root systems

(Prosopis Velutina) Velvet Mesquite is the most common of the North American varieties, it ranges from southern Arizona, southwestern New Mexico, and most common to the Chihuahua and Sonoran deserts of Mexico.

Our Velvet Mesquite Tree

This is one of the 3 Most Common NATIVE Mesquite Trees – Velvet,  Prosopis velutina.  What does a mesquite look like? The photo below is a grove of the very common Velvet Mesquite Trees that grow naturally in Tucson, Arizona.

Tree with ferny leaves and sharp thorns

Native Desert Trees, Velvet Mesquite Tree

Velvet Mesquite Trees are a deciduous plant; the benefits are they are able to retain moisture during the winter or exceptionally dry seasons better because water does not escape through the leaves.  These Mesquite trees have elongated bean pods. They are very sweet to taste when ripe – i.e. reddish-yellow in color. Later the beans change to yellow-brown. The Velvet Mesquite tree has thorns.  The length of the thorny spikes can vary even on the same branch.

Mesquite Trees

Velvet Mesquite Trees in Arizona

For the first year,  deeply water your mesquite tree every week or so until it has properly matured. Once your velvet mesquite tree has matured, it can survive with a little supplemental water in addition to natural rain. In case of droughts, do water your mesquite trees more often.

Velvet Mesquites hold the record for deepest root (160′); these taproots can tap into deep, underground water supplies that aren’t available to the average plant.

The seeds of the Velvet Mesquite need to be scarified (abraded in flash flood or digestive tract for example) to germinate. Coyotes, and other desert animals eat the bean pods regularly.

About these ads

7 thoughts on “Native Arizona Mesquite Trees – growing tips – disease – Velvet mesquite trees, The Tree of Life

  1. An intriguing discussion is definitely worth comment.
    I believe that you need to publish more about this issue, it might not be a
    taboo subject but typically folks don’t talk about such topics.
    To the next! Many thanks!!

    Like

  2. I’ll right away seize your rss feed as I can not find
    your email subscription link or newsletter service.

    Do you’ve any? Kindly let me recognize in order that I may just subscribe.
    Thanks.

    air max pas cher

    Like

  3. I was suggested this website by my cousin. I’m not sure
    whether this post is written by him as no one else know such detailed about my difficulty.

    You are amazing! Thanks!

    Like

  4. You are missing a lot if you are not eating food made from the mesquite flour! I grind the pods and throw away the seeds (which are indigestible). They are 30% sugar and have no gluten making them good for people with celiac disease and other gluten problems.
    We are in the process of writing a book about mesquite. I teach classes about the mesquite at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum in Superior, AZ. (and they are always well attended)

    Like

Your comments are welcomed...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s