Form: Single or multitrunked tree.
Leaf retention: Deciduous.
Growth rate: Moderate.
Mature Size: 30-40' high and wide.
Flowers: Yellow to cream colored, bottlebrush shaped,
often profusely clustered, fragrant.
Fruit: Seed pod, light tan, cylindrical, straight to
slightly curved on tree, constricted around seeds. Pods
and seeds are edible, often ground into a flour.
Leaves: Green, oval, compound leaflets, covered with fine
hairs. Provides moderate to dense shade.
Stems: 1-2" long straight spines. Brown bark
roughens with age.
Roots: Nitrogen-fixing*, deep taproot, aggressive.
Wildlife: Attracts bees. Seed pods eaten by birds and
mammals, including cattle.
Toxic / Danger: Spines.
Origin: California through New Mexico and Mexico.
Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 7b-10.
Heat tolerant: Yes.
Drought tolerant: Yes.
Sun: Full sun.
Water after becoming established: Deeply every two months
Be sure to deep 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.
Soil: Well drained, dry, low in organic content, pH 6.6-8.5
(neutral to alkaline). *Do not use a nitrogen fertilizer.
Prune: In winter, remove lowest branches to train into a tree.
Also thin crown by removing any inward- or downward-pointing branches.
Can sucker profusely after pruning, so a second pruning cycle may be
needed in July. If cut to ground, it will grow new trunks from roots.
Do not thin more than 20% to avoid stem sunburn which encourages
Propagation: Scarified seed.
Pests: Mistletoe possible if plant is weakened by prolonged drought.
Uses: Ornamental, shade, edible seedpods.
Mesquites hybridize easily and can be difficult to identify in the wild.
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