How to Care for a Chilean Mesquite Tree

Written by megan mattingly-arthur
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How to Care for a Chilean Mesquite Tree
(Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

Chilean mesquite trees, Prosopis chilensis, are fast-growing, semi-evergreen trees from the same family of plants as peas, beans and lentils. With open, airy canopies, Chilean mesquite trees are prized for their ability to provide just the right amount of filtered shade. Native to Chile, these mesquite trees prefer warm climates and grow with very little care in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 through 11.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Drip, soaker or bubbler hose
  • Water-soluble fertiliser
  • Pruning saw
  • Rake

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  1. 1

    Water young Chilean mesquite trees weekly during the first growing season to facilitate the development of a deep and extensive root system. Provide your tree with 1 to 1 1/2 inches of irrigation each week via a drip, soaker or bubbler hose. Reduce the frequency of watering once your tree is well established; provide just 1 inch of water every two to three weeks in the absence of rain.

  2. 2

    Feed your Chilean mesquite tree with balanced, water-soluble fertiliser at the beginning of each growing season. Apply the fertiliser according to the product directions before you notice new growth on the tree in the spring.

  3. 3

    Prune the Chilean mesquite tree each summer to thin crossing or rubbing branches from its canopy. Remove diseased, damaged or dead branches to prevent them from damaging the health of your tree. Cut designated branches from the tree with a sharpened and sterilised pruning saw.

  4. 4

    Rake up the leaves, pods and flowers that fall from the Chilean mesquite tree to prevent them from littering your yard, sidewalk or driveway.

Tips and warnings

  • Chilean mesquite trees can develop problems with pests, such as giant mesquite bugs or mesquite twig girdlers. Consult your agricultural extension office for treatment advice if the presence of insect pests is affecting your tree's health.
  • Some varieties of Chilean mesquite trees have sharp, thornlike spines that can grow up to 3 inches long. Take care to avoid injury when pruning thorned Chilean mesquite trees.

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