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Description

The Mesquite is one of the signature native plants of Southwestern USA, Mexico and South America. These tough and drought adapted trees and shrubs, and several species and cultivars have been introduced into ornamental landscapes in desert communities for many years where they are appreciated for their shade and adaptability to harsh and arid conditions. Increasingly, they are becoming a successful tree in the Inland Empire where they are also proving to be well adapted.

Mesquite trees grow best in warm and sunny locations throughout the Inland Empire. They are fast growing deciduous trees with deep green foliage and a broad canopy structure. Noticeable creamy-yellow flowers occur in mid spring. Growth 20-25 ft. tall and 30 ft. wide is common; many species have very spiny stems and branches. Nurseries currently offer two thornless cultivars that are widely recommended: Prosopis glandulosa 'Maverick' and Prosopis x 'Phoenix'. Both of these cultivars become good shade trees in residential gardens where they grow well with low amounts of summer irrigation; too much water can lead to excessive growth and weak branching.

Water Needs

Mesquite trees perform best in gardens and landscapes when planted in well-drained soils, with normal winter rainfall, and low amounts of irrigation during summer. The chart shown below provides a baseline guide to the monthly irrigation schedule and volume of supplemental water needed to maintain healthy growth throughout the average year. As shown in the chart below, there are several months indicated by an asterisk (*) when winter rains can provide sufficient moisture and irrigation is not needed.

Irrigation Schedule and Graph

Low Water Use Plants

Irrigation Schedule 2

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
Runs per Month 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x
Inches per Run 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1"
 
Inches per Month 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 0" to 2" 0" to 2"

Range of supplemental summer water: 7"-14"
Range of supplemental winter water: 0"-10"

 
0"-2"
0"-2"
0"-2"
1"-2"
1"-2"
1"-2"
1"-2"
1"-2"
1"-2"
1"-2"
0"-2"
0"-2"
  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
For more information on how to use this Irrigation Schedule and Graph, click here.

Plant Properties

Plant Type: Tree
Foliage Character: Semi-deciduous
Habit: Upright, Spreading, Open, Low-branching, Arching
Growth Rate: Fast
Height: 25 ft. - 40 ft.
Width: 25 ft. - 40 ft.
Water Needs: Low 2
Foliage Color: Dark green
Flower Color: Yellow
Flower Season: Spring
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil, Deep soil
Exposure Adaptations: Heat, Drought, Aridity, All day sun
Function: Wildlife value, Specimen, Shade Tree, Parks and open space, Foliage accent plant, Flowering accent plant, Civic spaces, Background plant, Attracts bees

Maintenance

Plan on some early structural pruning to establish desired long term form (D). Beyond that, usually necessary pruning is limited to removing broken or dead limbs. Can be trained as a single or multi trunk tree (5).

References

Associations

Plant Palettes