Leaf retention: Semi-evergreen in regions without freezes. Deciduous in hard freezes.
Growth rate: Rapid.
Mature Size: 20-40' high and wide.
Flowers: Yellow to cream colored, small, bottle brush shape.
Fruit: A seed pod, flat and curved, compressed around seeds, sometimes with rolled
Leaves: Small dark green leaflets, closely spaced, with a feathery appearance. Some
cultivars have dense crowns. This tree provides moderate to dense shade.
Stems: Thornless to thorny, depending on cultivar.
Roots: Nitrogen-fixing*, aggressive, shallow if near a lawn or watered only briefly.
Wildlife: Attracts bees.
Toxic / Danger: No.
Origin: South America.
Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 8-11, depending on cultivar.
Heat tolerant: Yes.
Drought tolerant: Yes.
Sun: Full sun.
Water after becoming established: Deep water every two months during drought.
Always water past the drip line of the tree and away from the trunk to encourage lateral
root development. Water encourages crown growth and mesquites without sufficiently wide
roots can be blown over by strong winds. Do not water more than once every two months
after it is established to avoid aggressive growth and yard litter.
Soil: Well drained, dry, low in organic content, pH 6.6-8.5 (neutral to alkaline).
*Do not use a nitrogen fertilizer.
Prune: In summer, remove the lowest branches to train into a tree. Also thin the
crown by removing any inward- or downward-pointing branches. Do not prune more than 20%
of the crown or root growth will be slowed. Without periodic thinning, heavy wind damage
may occur. This is a high maintenance tree.
Litter: Moderate to high, depending on cultivar.
Uses: Ornamental, xeric garden.
This tree is a member of the Legume family (Fabaceae). It is sometimes sold as South
American Hybrid Mesquite or Chilean Mesquite. Several cultivars are bred by nurseries and
vary in appearance and behaviour.
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Latest update: September, 2021