Velvet mesquite is the largest of all the mesquite trees and shrubs. It is native to the American Southwest and is a very important tree, both ecologically and culturally. Mesquite thrive in the hot desert climate and provide refuge and food for birds and other desert dwellers, while enriching the soil around them with nitrogen for other plants. Another upside of this desert tree is that is takes very little work to prune a velvet mesquite. In fact, pruning a velvet mesquite is downright easy.
Prune your velvet mesquite in the early spring while the tree is still dormant. Be sure to prune it before it grows its leaves and flowers. Prune it by mid-February at the latest.
Remove any dead or damaged branches from the velvet mesquite. Desert winds can blow at high speeds and might blow the branches off if they are not properly removed.
Remove the branches on the bottom of the velvet mesquite to a height of about 4 or 5 feet. This will define the trunk of the tree and make it easier to prune as well.
Space the branches so they are about 1 foot apart from each other. Avoid over pruning the canopy as the tree needs the shade in the summer to protect its bark from burning. Remove only between 10 and 20 percent of the upper branches. Try to remove only overreaching and crossing branches. Do not remove more than 30 percent of the branches.
Brush pruning seal over all the cuts made to your velvet mesquite. This prevents branching out and insect pests from boring into the tree.