Screwbean Mesquite Info: Tips For Screwbean Mesquite Care
The screwbean mesquite is a small tree or shrub native to southern California. It sets itself apart from its traditional mesquite cousin with its attractive, corkscrew shaped bean pods that appear in the summer. Keep reading to learn more screwbean mesquite info, including screwbean mesquite care and how to grow screwbean mesquite trees.
Screwbean Mesquite Info
What is a screwbean mesquite tree? Hardy in USDA zones 7 through 10, the screwbean mesquite tree (Prosopis pubescens) ranges from the American Southwest and Texas into Central and South America. It is small for a tree, usually topping out at 30 feet (9 m.) in height. With its multiple trunks and spreading branches, it can sometimes grow to be wider than it is tall.
It differs from its cousin, the traditional mesquite tree, in a few ways. Its spines and leaves are smaller, and there are fewer of these leaves in every cluster. Instead of red, its stems are a duller gray color. The most striking difference is the shape of its fruit, which earns the plant its name. The seed pods, which are light green and 2 to 6 inches (5-15 cm.) in length, grow in a very tightly coiled spiral shape.
How to Grow a Screwbean Mesquite Tree
Growing screwbean mesquite trees in your landscape or garden is relatively easy, provided your climate is the right one. These trees prefer sandy, well-drained soil and full sun. They are relatively tolerant of drought.
They can handle pruning and shaping, and can be trimmed into a shrub or tree-like shape with a single or several bare trunks and raised foliage. If left unpruned, the branches will sag down to sometimes touch the ground.
The pods are edible and can be eaten raw when they are young in the spring, or pounded into meal when dry in the autumn.
Signs Of Mesquite Sickness – Recognizing Mesquite Tree Diseases
Mesquite trees (Prosopis ssp.) are members of the legume family. Attractive and drought tolerant, mesquites are a standard part of xeriscape plantings. Sometimes, though, these tolerant trees exhibit signs of mesquite sickness. Mesquite tree diseases run the gamut from bacterial slime flux to different types of soil-borne fungi. Read on for information about diseases of mesquite trees and how to recognize them.
Mesquite Tree Diseases
Your best bet for keeping your mesquite tree healthy is to provide it with an appropriate planting location and excellent cultural care. A strong, healthy plant won’t develop mesquite tree illnesses as readily as a stressed tree.
Mesquite trees require soil with excellent drainage. They thrive in full sun, reflected sun, and also partial shade. They are native to North America, South America, Africa, India, and the Middle East.
Mesquites require deep watering every so often. And adequate irrigation allow the trees to grow to their full mature height. All mesquites do well in hot weather, as long as you provide adequate water. When mesquites are water stressed, the trees suffer. If you are treating a sick mesquite tree, the first thing to check is whether it is getting sufficient water.
Signs of Mesquite Sickness
One of the common diseases of mesquite trees is called slime flux. This mesquite tree illness is caused by a bacterial infection of the sapwood in mature trees. Slime flux bacteria live in the soil. They are thought to get into the tree through wounds at the soil line or pruning wounds. In time, the affected parts of the mesquite start to look water-soaked and exude dark brown liquid.
If you want to start treating a sick mesquite tree with slime flux, remove seriously infected branches. Avoid this mesquite tree illness by taking care not to wound the tree.
Other mesquite tree diseases include Ganoderma root rot, caused by another soil-borne fungus, and spongy yellow heart rot. Both of these diseases enter the mesquite through wound sites. The signs of mesquite sickness from root rot include a slow decline and eventually death. No treatment has proved helpful results for infected trees.
Other diseases of mesquite trees include powdery mildew, in which infected leaves are covered with a white powder. Signs of this mesquite sickness include distorted leaves. Control it with benomyl if you like, but the disease doesn’t threaten the mesquite’s life.
Mesquite can also get leaf spot, another fungal disease. You can control this also with benomyl, but it isn’t usually necessary given the limited nature of the damage.