Native to South America, the Argentine mesquite is a beautiful tree with darker bark and a more vigorous growth rate than many other mesquite trees. Here in Southern Arizona, it grows to 40 feet high with a spread of 60 feet or more. Fast growing with a wide crown, Argentine mesquite trees are not recommended for small urban spaces. Young trees are quite contorted and asymmetrical. With proper training, Argentine mesquite becomes a large, picturesque shade tree. Greenish yellow flowers appear in late spring and are followed by 3" to 5" long, beige seedpods or “beans” as they are frequently called. There are several hybrids of Argentine mesquite making identification difficult. Argentine mesquite (Prosopis alba) is larger with a rounder, wider crown than its close relatives.
Plant this mesquite tree almost anytime, though it establishes best when planted in the fall. It tolerates most soil conditions, provided there is sufficient drainage. Do not plant Argentine mesquite in turf. Water thoroughly when first planted, and water every three to four days for the first two or three weeks. Thereafter, water every 7 to 10 days for the first year. Once established, Argentine mesquite requires little to no additional water. Overwatering or irrigating too shallowly will result in a huge crown and an insufficient root system that may cause the tree to fall in high winds. Young Argentine mesquite trees should be staked securely and trained to develop a straight trunk and strong branch architecture. Prune to thin, shape or raise the crown in late summer. Pruning in the spring or early summer encourages rampant growth. Seedpod litter may require cleanup in high traffic areas.