Because they thrive in dry conditions, mesquite trees (Prosopis glandulosa) are excellent choices for homeowners wanting low-maintenance landscaping choices. Hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture zones 6b through 9, they are often planted on the borders of Western yards and gardens and grow best in sandy, deep soil. These tough little trees are hard to kill, but homeowners sometimes mistake trees that are in their dormancy period for being at death’s door. Overwatering is the root cause of premature death from mesquite trees.
Wait for Dormancy to Pass
Mesquite trees are deciduous, meaning their leaves fall off during the fall and the tree creates new ones in the spring. The tree also creates white blossoms during the spring. If you suspect your mesquite tree might be dead or dying, wait until the latter part of May to make sure. If you don’t see signs of life by then, the odds are good that the tree died over the winter.
Inspect the Bark
Checking the tree bark is a foolproof method to determine its status. Using a sharp knife, make a shallow cut in the bark of a young twig on mesquite tree. The underbark of a living tree will probably be green and feel slightly damp. If the tree is dead, the twig will likely be brown all the way through and snap in two readily. Because boring insects don’t infest healthy trees, the existence of borers is an indication that a mesquite tree is under pressure. Indications of borers include peeling bark, little holes and amber globules of resin on the trunk and branches of the tree.
Do not be surprised if you happen to see sap bleeding in your mesquite tree. That is a natural state with this type of tree and does not mean it is dying. Getting too much water can cause the trunks to split, giving the tree the appearance of awful health. That is normal, however, rather than a sign that you are going to lose your tree.
Maintaining Mesquite Trees Healthy
Mesquite trees live to be over 200 years old. But they are sometimes killed if given too much water as it makes them develop quicker than is healthy for them. Signs that a mesquite tree was overwatered is a enlarged crown along with also a smaller, poorer trunk. Deep watering once every two to three weeks in dry summer conditions is a mesquite tree should thrive.