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How to Plant a Mesquite Tree

By Bridget Kelly ; Updated September 21, 2017

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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.


Things You Will Need

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


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

About the Author


Based in the American Southwest, Bridget Kelly has been writing about gardening and real estate since 2005. Her articles have appeared at Trulia.com, SFGate.com, GardenGuides.com, RE/MAX.com, MarketLeader.com, RealEstate.com, USAToday.com and in "Chicago Agent" magazine, to name a few. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in creative writing.