Here in the Rio Grande Valley, deep down in South Texas, we are blessed to have a natural abundance of mesquite trees—known to the Pima Indians as “The Tree of Life.”
While they are often overlooked (and frequently removed) for their many fine qualities, it should come as no surprise that we here at Cappadona Ranch are quite fond of this spectacular tree. Not only are they durable and able to withstand that our tough Southwestern climate with little to no irrigation, they also provide food and cover for wildlife, attract cute little honey bees and other interesting insects, and provide nesting sites for songbirds as well.
Now, understandably, if you live in one of Texas’ neighboring states (or further north) you might be a bit envious of the bounty of mesquite we have just growing randomly. But no need to worry. We cherish the mesquite tree so much that we want to spread the love by giving you a few pointer on how to plant your very own mesquite tree.
So listen in and buckle up.
There are three common species of native mesquite trees, so you might want to do a little bit of research to find how which you might prefer to grow in your garden. The species include Screwbean Mesquite, Honey Mesquite, and Velvet Mesquite.
While the mesquite seeds are quite strong and able to remain dormant for decades, growing a tree from the seed can be a bit of a challenge if the right conditions are not met. Dry conditions and temperatures up to 90 degrees are the best environments for growth. Germination takes place at 80 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit under a light soil.
The following steps will help to ease the process:
If you can’t get a seed to turn into a sapling, consider soaking the seeds in water for 24 hours.
Or if perhaps you’re just not much of a green thumb, you can always purchase a young sapling from a reputable nursery.
Once you’ve gotten yourself a sapling that’s around 4 to 6 inches tall, you are going to want to transplant it into the ground. Take the following steps:
Don’t forget to plant your mesquite in an area of your yard or garden where it’s going to be getting a lot of quality sun. Your mesquite tree will also benefit from the occasional pruning, especially in early spring, so that good branch formations can occur.
Mistletoe is naturally occurring in semi-arid and desert-like environments, and while it doesn’t outright kill the tree, it does steal nutrients and water, leaving the tree more susceptible to disease and other stresses that eventually kill it over time.
It may take some time to notice mistletoe, but when you do, your best bet is to remove it from your tree. If the infestation is a small one, you can try pruning the branch that is infected by at least one foot behind where the mistletoe is occurring. The reason you will want to prune is that mistletoe actually infects the interior root system of the tree and not just the outside.
Large infection may require hefty pruning, or you can simply brush off the mistletoe, as it comes off very easily. However, be aware that this does not actually get rid of the infestation and the mistletoe will continue to regrow. Basically, you will have to make removing the mistletoe part of your tree maintenance.
It takes years for a mistletoe infestation to really hurt the tree but you’ll want to prevent it early on as it can spread to neighboring trees (our winged friends sure do love to eat those berries and “spread” them around).
If you want to get your hands (and tastebuds) on some of our delicious “Texas gold” treats then contact Cappadonna Ranch today at (956) 867-1819 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You’ll be glad you did.