Explore Plants

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 

Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - October 08, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: When is Texas mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa) mature
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Can you tell me the life cycle for the native Texas mesquite? I have found one source that says it matures in 2-5 years, but no other sources confirm this. We are hoping to classify mesquite flooring as a rapidly renewable building material but need to know if it's life cycle is 10 years or less. thanks

ANSWER:

Prosopis glandulosa (honey mesquite) generally begins to produce seeds by three years of age according to Information from the US Forest Service (see under "Botanical and Ecological Characteristics"). This article also states that:

"Honey mesquite plants can sprout from numerous perennial dormant buds located along rhizomes or the upper part of the root....When aboveground growth is damaged or killed, new sprouts arise from the bud zone. If aboveground growth is destroyed or damaged during a dormant period, sprouts arise the following spring and often flower during their first growing season. If aboveground growth is damaged during the wet part of the growing season when root carbohydrate levels are high, plants resprout rapidly but do not flower until the following growing season. If destroyed during the dry portion of the growing season when root carbohydrate levels are low, sprouting is delayed or slow, sometimes for 3 to 5 years."

This ability, plus its tolerance to drought conditions, results in different growth forms and the article recognizes three forms:

"1) a single-stemmed tree reaching 20 to 40 feet (6-12 m) in height, with crooked, drooping branches, 2) an erect, multiple-stemmed bush or small tree, often 10 to 15 feet (3-4.6 m) tall, and 3) a decumbent or running bush found on deep sandy soils."

For your purposes, you are probably most interested in the first growth form and the fastest growth possible. The single-stemmed form will depend on trees that aren't injured and the growth rate will depend on soil type and available moisture.

There are many ranchers out there who would readily agree that mesquite is too rapidly renewable. They have been trying to get rid of it for years!

 

More Trees Questions

Long term effects of pesticide from Lubbock TX
March 20, 2013 - I have 9 western pecan trees about 20 years old. Trunk sizes is from 18" to 39". I used a product Bayer Tree and Shrub, applied to the trees. I wonder what it will do to the trees. I talkd to Bayer ...
view the full question and answer

What is the scoop on dwarf cedar elms?
April 29, 2009 - Several years ago, I purchased a small plant from a San Antonio wholesaler that was identified as a "Dwarf Cedar Elm." My brother had also purchased a few from there. No one there knows anything a...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen tree for Phoenix
November 17, 2013 - I need your help. I'm looking for a pretty evergreen tree for my small front yard in Phoenix. One that is not horribly messy and doesn't get wider that 10 - 15 ft. I want to be able to decorate at...
view the full question and answer

Tree resembling live oak, but with thorns
August 04, 2008 - I'm trying to ID a tree in our backyard, most of our trees are Live Oaks and the tree in question has a dark almost black and gray bark that looks just like a Live Oak. The leaves are similar but lig...
view the full question and answer

Disposal of Ashe juniper from Austin
March 07, 2013 - I am in western Travis County and we have been clearing our land of some of the Ashe Juniper. When there is not a burn ban, we burn them because there are just too many to shred. I was wondering if ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.