Mesquite Tree

rose2u(z9sw)October 25, 2005

I've tried to find info on how to trim a mesquite tree to no avail, probably because I don't know where to look.

Please can anyone direct me to a site that shows how to trim a mesquite tree?

Thank you

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For what purpose are you trimming the tree? I just go do it, cut to make it look better. I don't worry about hurting them-they're tougher than than a stubborn weed. I've never had a problem.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2005 at 11:14AM
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How old is your tree? If it is less than one year don't do any pruning until next May which is the best time to prune desert trees. If it's older then here are some guidelines to follow.

1) Start by removing only dead, dying, broken or crossing branches. This may be all that is necessary.

2) Never remove more than 25 percent of the foliage/branches in any year. Exceeding this amount can send any tree or shrub into a stress mode making it vulnerable to pests and diseases.

3) Be sure you are watering your tree correctly - this will prevent excessive canopy growth. Deeply and infrequently is best. This time of year you should only need to water you mesquite once every three weeks. In winter water only once per month or less if we receive ample rain. Trees that grow fast tend to have weak or brittle wood. Slowing the growth a bit will give the tree time to form strong tissues.

For small branches less than one inch in diameter, use bypass shears (pruners). These have scissor-like blades that make a clean cut. Do NOT use anvil pruners which have one sharp blade and one flat blade - these squeeze and bruise tissues. For branches up to about 2 inches use bypass loppers and for larger branches use a pruning saw. Don't cut too close to the trunk (or intersecting branch) or leave stubs.

Illustrations can on pruning be found at the link below. More is available from the International Society of Arboriculture at

I hope this helps.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pruning Trees

    Bookmark   October 25, 2005 at 11:38AM
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Thanks so much for the info. My tree is two years old. I did remove some lower branches to open the tree up and it looks a lot better. It's still low to the ground and one side is blocking the pathway thru the arbor which bugs my husband. It doesn't bother me, so I have to prune it somemore. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2005 at 12:14AM
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The Water Dept. through the Desert Botanical Garden is offering a class on pruning trees and shrubs next month. Only $10 at DBG. sam

    Bookmark   October 27, 2005 at 11:46AM
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Hi... I live in central Tucson and have a Chilean mesquite I'm worried about. It has been in the ground for a little under a year, and has grown very dense... to the point that it is hanging over in one direction (the opposite direction I'd like it to lean, if at all). I'm also afraid the heavy winds of late might damage it.

Would it be OK to break the "rules" above and prune it early? There are many branches crossing one another and the main branches are bending down.

Thanks in advance!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2007 at 2:58PM
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I have an almost 20 year Chilean Mesquite tree that is developing cankers. Is there a treatment and can the tree be saved?

    Bookmark   June 25, 2008 at 1:43PM
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I am waiting to hear back about my question on arizona mesquite trees

    Bookmark   November 6, 2008 at 11:18PM
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all the needles or leaves have fallen and blown off our mesquite tree in Tucson,Az...will they come back or is the tree dead?

    Bookmark   December 26, 2010 at 2:23PM
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Douglas -
Mesquite are "semi-deciduous". They often lose all their leaves in the winter, or keep just a few and look ratty and half-dead. The leaves will come again when the weather warms up.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2010 at 11:06PM
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I have a five year old chilean mesquite tree that has been leaking sap from where branches were previously trimmed. I sprayed the cuts with tree dressing but still getting some liquid through the dressings. I turned the water off to the tree last November. Most of the leaves have fallen off the tree. Is there anything I can do to stop the leaking that is going from the pruning cuts and trunk?

I live in Surprise, AZ.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 12:55AM
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Hi Chuck,

Mesquites often drip sap from pruning wounds. It could be a symptom that the tree has been overpruned which can stress them. The golden rule of pruning is to NEVER remove more than 25 percent of the living tissue (leaves, shoots, branches) in any year. Green leaves on a tree produce the food, in the form of sugar, that the tree needs to grow. When too much green is removed the tree can starve.

A symptom of overpruning is the production of excessive shoots - sometimes at the site of the pruning cut but also along the branches. The tree is trying to replace the lost foliage so it can once again receive the food it needs.

Turning off the water to your established mesquite is a good idea. The often grow too rapidly when water is readily available. You will probably need to give it a good deep soaking at the drip line once a month in the summer.

For now, don't fertilize (mesquites don't need it), and water deeply when needed. In the future do NOT use pruning sealants on your landscape plants. Research has shown that the may actually harm trees by sealing in pathogens. If the pruning cuts are made at the correct location, the tree will heal itself.

A great reference book on pruning is Pruning, Planting and Care by Eric Johnson.

Here is a link that might be useful: Care of Desert Adapted Plants

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 11:33AM
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Hello All,
Please consider the DVD Mesquites and Palo Verdes, A Home Owner's Guide. Here is a preview on youtube:

Here is a link that might be useful: Preview of the DVD Mesquites and Palo Verdes, A Home Owner's Guide

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 12:38AM
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