Prosopis chilensis

The semi-deciduous tree has become popularized over the years and is one of the most widely used trees in Southwest landscapes. It grows thirty feet tall and wide with dark, rich bark that is rough and turns blacker with age. Chilean mesquite is a semi-deciduous tree with lush green, narrow leaflets. In late spring, the tree will produce pale yellow catkin-like flowers in spikes. In early summer, brown seedpods mature and shed to the ground. Some varieties are thorn-less. Most of these trees are hybrids and may have a wide variation of thorns and growth characteristics. The tree can have single or multiple trunks and is a wonderful shade specimen. It is hardy to about fifteen degrees Fahrenheit. This fast-growing tree requires full sun and reflected heat, and will tolerate any soil type. It is drought-tolerant but grows at a quicker rate with supplemental irrigation. After trees have matured, taper off their irrigation to encourage the development of a deep root system. Prune at least once per year to encourage a strong canopy, prevent breakage of limbs, and establish the strong root system needed for young trees to properly mature. Mature trees will usually need to have mistletoe pruned from their branches as least every six months. Proper staking is also helpful on young trees, and an annual feeding of ammonium sulfate helps induce new growth. Use it in areas for re-vegetation, as a street or shade tree, or in a park setting. This tree can also be used as a large screen, windbreak, or barrier planting that can be easily incorporated into formal and traditional situations. The tree is a native to Bolivia, central Chile, Peru, and northwestern Argentina.

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