Southwest Gardening forum: Chilean Mesquite

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Name: Kelly
Phoenix, AZ (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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locakelly
Mar 20, 2010 6:50 PM CST
Prosopis pubescens - anyone have these growing? I know they are a fast grower, but how fast is fast? We graded our front yard today and pulled out a dying tree I've hated for years. Not even sure what kind it was, just that it got worse every year. It is decidious and has these little propeller thingies in the spring that make a mess...

Now that the tree is out, I really want to put in a mesquite or two. I like them a lot. The Chilean is thornless - even better. I plan to buy them from turtleman so I'm sure he can give me lots of info too. Just curious your experience or any other tree suggestions. I have the little Vitex tree from the fall swap really wanting to get planted too. It's full of leaves. If that will take full sun maybe I'll plant that in the front as well. How big do they get? If not too big I'd rather plant it in the back yard, but the area I want to put it I have to have clearance for power lines...

God made rainy days so gardeners could get the housework done. ~Author Unknown
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Name: Mary
Phoenix Arizona
MaryMcP
Mar 20, 2010 7:48 PM CST
The vitex can get very big. There is one on 51st Ave 1 block north of Peoria on the east side of the street, corner lot...SEC. Very mature. Huge.

The two mesquites in my backyard are Chilean. Planted in the fall of 2008. Love 'em. Full sun for both trees, vitex and mesquite.

http://ag.arizona.edu/pima/gardening/aridplants/Prosopis_chi...

How fast is fast? If it grows too fast Kelly, the underlying structure is weak. Old Chinese saying....best time to plant tree, 20 years ago, next best time - today.
Name: Kelly
Phoenix, AZ (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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locakelly
Mar 20, 2010 8:05 PM CST
Wow McP! I wondered if that's what your's were. They're huge, so I guess they do grow fast. DH wants Ficus trees and I don't. You guys give me some ammo to negate the Ficus. They don't grow fast and I know they are not too frost tolerant either.

I will have to check out that Vitex in 51st tomorrow.

I know the Mesquites you have to prune them a lot when they are young so they will develop good strong roots and not blow over - lol. Do they litter a lot or just the pods? You can make flour out of them you know...
God made rainy days so gardeners could get the housework done. ~Author Unknown
Moderator for Southwest Living Vegetable Forum


Name: Alma
Phoenix & Cottonwood, AZ
USDA zone 9b, Sunset 13 & ??
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tomatofreak
Mar 20, 2010 10:10 PM CST
Kelly, the vitex will get tall enough to hit the lines eventually. I know some people trim them to keep them shrub size, but mine are tall. I think the amount of water mine get may have something to do with their height, too. They will do fine in full sun.

This is my ancient chaste tree. It's been in this yard since the late 30's, early 40's.

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Alma
In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. – Thomas Jefferson
Name: Kelly
Phoenix, AZ (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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locakelly
Mar 20, 2010 10:26 PM CST
Great tree Alma!
God made rainy days so gardeners could get the housework done. ~Author Unknown
Moderator for Southwest Living Vegetable Forum


Name: Dan
San Tan Valley, AZ
Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: Southwest Gardening Vegetable Grower Dog Lover Tropicals
Dann_L
Mar 20, 2010 10:40 PM CST
This Chilean Mesquite was your typical new home builder basic front yard tree 5 years ago. Very fast grower, I pruned at least 3 times a year. Quite a few of these mesquites (9 trees) in my neighborhood blew over in the same storm.

The bad....They have leaf litter, seed pod litter and they need constant pruning.

The good....They grow fast, make a large canopy for shade, trunks have interesting form and mesquites make excellent firewood when they blow over.

It always helps to have both sides of the story!

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Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘...Holy Crap ...What a ride!'
Name: Kelly
Phoenix, AZ (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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locakelly
Mar 20, 2010 10:45 PM CST
Thanks Dan! What's your opinion on Ficus?
God made rainy days so gardeners could get the housework done. ~Author Unknown
Moderator for Southwest Living Vegetable Forum


Name: Dan
San Tan Valley, AZ
Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: Southwest Gardening Vegetable Grower Dog Lover Tropicals
Dann_L
Mar 20, 2010 11:09 PM CST
Run away!!!!!!

A couple of years ago when we got hit with the big freeze ficus trees were decimated everywhere. Wimpy when it comes to a little cold weather. I'd go for the mesquite before the ficus.

That's just my opinion.
Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘...Holy Crap ...What a ride!'
Name: Mary
Phoenix Arizona
MaryMcP
Mar 21, 2010 8:08 AM CST
I have not experienced much litter yet, they are still young. Some leaf drop this year but I was aware going into this that there will be litter. It's hard to have a good, strong shade tree with no litter. Even if the tree itself does not litter, birds roost and poop.

It is my understanding that the trick to deep roots is more in the watering than the pruning. Infrequent long, slow drips to make the root go deep.

I agree with Dan on the ficus.
Name: Kelly
Phoenix, AZ (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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locakelly
Mar 21, 2010 10:52 AM CST
Thanks peeps!
God made rainy days so gardeners could get the housework done. ~Author Unknown
Moderator for Southwest Living Vegetable Forum


Name: Judy
Phoenix, AZ
judyb
Mar 23, 2010 10:03 PM CST
I agree with Mary. The watering is what makes the difference. If you want your mesquite to blow over in the first breeze, give short, frequent waterings. It will make top-growth like crazy. I watered ours enough the first year to keep it from dying, very little the second year, and I have not watered it at all since then. It gets by on rain-water. It may finally have grown roots long enough to reach irrigation next door although that's 50 or 60 feet away. They are nice trees especially if they have room to really spread out so you can appreciate the canopy they will make.

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