Mesquite trees are native to the southwestern region of the United States, but they are well-suited to any dry, warm area. While these trees are not great for shade, their wood is well-known among cooks. Mesquite wood is burned and the smoke is used to flavor barbeque.
Before starting to plant a mesquite tree, think carefully about where you want to plant it. While these trees do best in full sun, they can be planted just about anywhere. Their low water requirements make them ideal for areas under water restrictions.
However, these trees should not be planted in areas where people frequently gather or play. The trees are known for having thorns on their roots and branches that are at least two inches long. Furthermore, these thorns are covered in a sap that many people have an allergic reaction to. This means that a scrape or cut from one of these thorns will sometimes cause an itchy rash to form around the site of the injury.
These directions are meant to instruct a person who is planting a mesquite tree from a seed. If you have a mesquite sapling, skip the first four steps.
Place several mesquite seeds in a large bowl; a bowl that can hold at least one gallon of water should be large enough. Next, pour boiling water over the seeds until they are covered. Mesquite seeds must have a lot of heat in order to germinate. In the wild, the seeds usually only germinate after a fire. Allow the seeds to soak for 24 hours.
Find a large planting pot; ideally at least five gallons, for each seed you want to plant. Take the first pot and cover the bottom of it with about an inch of sand. Then, fill the pot the rest of the way with peat moss or potting soil. Pour water into the pot until it starts to drain from the bottom. This will provide your seedling with a moist environment, which will encourage rapid growth. Repeat the process for each of the other seeds.
Dig a one inch deep hole and place one seed into the pot. Cover lightly with soil. Repeat the process with each seed. Place the pots in a warm area. If the weather is hot, place the pots in direct sunlight. Over the next six weeks, keep the soil moist, but not soggy. This will encourage the seed to germinate quickly.
After the seed sprouts, continuing frequent watering until the sapling gets its second set of leaves. After this, start allowing the soil to dry out completely.
Once the sapling is about six inches tall, it’s time to plant it in its permanent location. To do this, dig a hole that is about twice the width and at least the same depth as the sapling’s pot. Remove the entire plant from the pot, place it in the hole, then back-fill the hole with soil.