If you are looking for a large summer shade tree, the Argentine Mesquite is the one for you. Its origin is South America but made its way to the Southwest, specifically Arizona, where it thrives. It needs little water and full sun. They are fast growers and are hardy to about 15 degrees. You can see why these trees are used for landscaping large spaces in the Phoenix area.
The Argentine mesquite can grow as large and as full as 50 feet, some up to 60 feet. The leaves on the tree are between four and five inches, and each one can have forty pairs of leaflets.
When Does It Bloom?
In late spring, the Argentine Mesquite starts to develop greenish-yellow flowers. Soon after the flowers bloom, seed pods appear. The seed pods are about five inches long. Around here, we call them beans.
A cool fact is that the beans of the tree are edible, and many people enjoy eating them in salads or just straight off the tree. But the ones who enjoy the beans the most are the wildlife in the area.
What wildlife and humans don’t consume can pile up on the ground, causing a hazard in areas where many people are passing by. The pods can become slippery after rain, so cleaning them up is recommended, but only in high traffic areas.
Planting and Pruning
Most Phoenix arborists recommend planting trees in the Fall. However, the Argentine Mesquite can be planted anytime throughout the year. The age of the tree at the time of planting makes a difference in how you care for and prune it.
Young trees need to be trained. Staking the tree gives the trunk security and prevents it from being damaged by winds or storms.
Pruning times can vary and depends on your goal. If you want to thin the crown, prune in late summer. If you want to help the tree grow faster, prune in late spring. Something to consider when pruning is the amount of water the tree gets.
If your Argentine Mesquite gets a lot of water, you want to avoid pruning it so that it is top-heavy. A lot of water can hinder the growth of the tree’s root system. Without strong roots, the tree will bend and even break.
Some claim mesquite trees love water and absorb as much as they can, even if that means trees and plants around them do not get any water, wither and die.
It’s essential not to get carried away when pruning this tree species. It is highly recommended to work with a local tree pruning company to avoid mistakes and damage to the tree.
While some people don’t like the Argentine Mesquite because of its water hogging ability, others call it the “Tree of Life.” Specifically, Native Americans gave it this name for its many benefits, like restoring nitrogen.
Other cool uses include its nectar that can be made into honey, and its dark wood is strong enough to use in carving and to make furniture. It attracts bees and birds, and its thorns were once used as needles. And if you are always searching for firewood that burns cleanly for a long time, the Argentine Mesquite is a great choice.
Different parts of the tree, including the bark, roots, leaves, and pods have been used for medicinal purposes such as gastrointestinal problems to sore throats.
Why Seek Help From an Arborist?
If you are looking to add elements to your small yard in downtown Phoenix, the Argentine Mesquite tree is not a good addition. The shrub, however, may be a good choice. A Phoenix-based arborist will assess the size of your landscape and the layout of your land. If your property is located where you often experience high winds, a Mesquite may not last very long. An arborist can help you pick a more robust tree.
Because there are over 40 different species of the Mesquite tree, a tree expert can help you determine which one will help you meet your landscaping goals.
The roots of a Mesquite tree can extend hundreds of feet below the surface. And those roots you see running horizontally on the ground, they can reach up to 50 feet. A root disaster is the last thing you need.
As Design Tree Maintenance, we can help you choose the right species, plant it, prune it, and teach you how to get many years of enjoyment from your Argentine Mesquite.