How to Plant a Mesquite Tree


One thing you don't want to do is walk barefoot under a mesquite tree. With thorns the size of nails, and an itchiness to the puncture wound that lasts for hours, the understory of a mesquite tree does not make a good play site. That said, mesquite trees do have their place. Mesquite is a drought-tolerant plant that is native to Mexico and grows quite well in Death Valley and the Sonoran Desert in the U.S. There is even a species that thrives in Hawaii, known as kiawe.

Step 1

Place the mesquite seed in a small bowl and pour boiling water over it until it is covered. Allow the seed to soak for 24 hours.

Step 2

Pour sand and peat moss into the planting pot and moisten it until the water drains from the bottom.

Step 3

Plant the seed 1 inch into the soil. Place the pot in a warm area, such as the top of the refrigerator. Keep the soil moist, but not soggy. Your seed should germinate within one to six weeks.

Step 4

Allow the soil to dry out between waterings once the seedling has its second set of leaves.

Step 5

Transplant the mesquite sapling into its permanent location when it reaches 6 inches in height. Dig a hole twice the width and the same depth as the pot in which the sapling is planted. Lower the plant into the hole and back-fill the hole with soil. Use your hands to pack the soil around the base of the tree.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid over-watering the mesquite tree. Allow the soil to dry completely before watering.

Things You'll Need

  • Mesquite seed
  • Bowl
  • Boiling water
  • Planting pot, 4 inches with holes in the bottom for drainage
  • Sand
  • Sphagnum peat moss


  • Arizona Municipal Water Users Association: Prosopsis Mesquite
  • City of Tucson: Urban Forestry Program
Keywords: plant a mesquite tree, grow mesquite trees, propagate a mesquite tree

About this Author

Victoria Hunter, a former broadcaster and real estate agent, has provided audio and written services to both small businesses and large corporations. Hunter is a freelance writer specializing in the real estate industry. She devotes her spare time to her other passions: gardening and cooking. Hunter holds a Bachelor of Arts in English/creative writing.