En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

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
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
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

Due to drought is pruning live oaks beneficial from Houston
December 07, 2011 - Would it be beneficial (presuming a continued spring drought) to prune live oak trees more severely than usual this winter? I'm thinking that it might help them to have less mass to support.
view the full question and answer

Can a bur oak fit in a small space in Austin?
April 11, 2011 - We recently got a one-gallon pot of Bur Oak. The area around our house has two old live oaks on the NW corner and another large live oak on the SE. There isn't much room on the SW corner for the oak ...
view the full question and answer

Red oak (Quercus shumardii or Q. buckleyi) for small yard.
December 13, 2007 - Hello, I want to plant a red oak but my yard is not large. I'm looking for a red oak that is medium size in width. The height is not so much of a concern. From what I've read, the Shumard is m...
view the full question and answer

Non-blooming crape myrtle in Italy, TX
June 25, 2008 - It's Italy, TX, again! Thanks for the advice and links, and I'll study those..but here's where I'm stumped on crape myrtle. I have two (almost) trees because they've been planted over 15 years ...
view the full question and answer

Grey Goo Coming from red Oak in Manchaca TX
May 13, 2013 - I have a large Red Oak in my yard that appears to be weeping some sort of grey goo from parts of the trunk. What is this goo and do I need to treat it and if so how? I'm happy to come by the Wildflow...
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center