Weeds – the Mesquite Tree

After reading several other garden blogs I can say with confidence that weeds don’t seem to be quite as big a deal in Arizona as they are other places.  Probably because of the difference in rainfall, but still, we do get them.

mesquite

This is one of the ones that I see in the garden all of the time.  In fact, I even pulled one of these from a potted tomato plant this summer.  They grow almost anywhere.  I regularly pull them from the garden, my grass, even my front yard decomposed granite.

It is actually a mesquite tree and is one of the most popular landscaping trees in our area.  Properly pruned, these trees can be great shade trees, growing very tall with a large canopy.  Unfortunately, depending on the type of mesquite, they can also be very susceptible to wind damage (especially if they have NOT been properly pruned).  Any major wind storm is going to leave the streets littered with fallen branches or even whole trees uprooted.

For me, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, considering the wood of the mesquite tree provides an excellent flavor for smoking meats and one decent sized branch can provide enough wood for several batches of tasty pulled pork and even cold smoked cheddar cheese.  Yummy!

The mesquite trees drop pods that are a nuisance to most home owners because they make a terrible mess in crushed granite landscaping.  However, if picked before they fall from the trees (but after they dry out), the pods can be milled to produce a flour that is very high in protein and has a sweet flavor (or so I’ve read, I still need to try this). I’ve also read that the pods can be roasted and ground up, much like coffee beans and make a sweet coffee-type beverage.

The pods should be inspected for holes and should never be harvested from the ground because of the risk of contamination from animals, beetles, or a particular bacteria.

Pods can be harvested all summer long, but particularly toward the end of summer/fall time period.

Unfortunately if they pop up in my garden they won’t be producing pods, just compost.  🙂

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6 Responses to Weeds – the Mesquite Tree

  1. bluestempond says:

    Very interesting! Thanks for sharing the info about mesquite, even though I’ll never see them in Michigan.

  2. Jones, the Mesquite doesn’t grow in Nebraska either. Bundles of mesquite wood can be purchased at the store for BBQ. I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen a Mesquite tree. I didn’t know that they grew bean pods on the tree. The pictures I’ve seen is always of a gnarly looking bush that was growing in pretty dry looking soil. I imagined that cowboys use Mesquite wood for their camp fires on the long cattle drives. It does make for very tasty BBQ.

    Have a great Mesquite day.

    • Oh yeah, they can make a horrible mess, but they can be really tall and with a huge canopy. Unfortunately most people over water and under prune and… well, you get fire wood. One of my favorites next to hickory.

  3. Wenz World says:

    We don’t have the Mesquite trees in the Northeast, either, so this is fascinating. Thank you for the information. Now I want to make a barbecue!

  4. I learned something new today and that is always a good thing. Here, we pull out Maple trees constantly from everywhere. 🙂

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