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How To Control Mesquitemesquite tree

Regarded as one of the worst weeds on rangelands because of its invasiveness, potential for spread and economic and environmental impacts, mesquite have become an increasingly troublesome problem along much of the southwest United States. For cattle operations especially, mesquite provides a rather large barrier to improving grazing and wildlife habitat.

While mesquite does provide some benefits as cover and as food for wildlife and livestock, when unmanaged, it can very quickly dominate a rangeland, reducing the available space to forage for livestock. It also robs the area of moisture. It’s an invasive species and very prolific, shading out a lot of native grasses, causing a monoculture.

Mesquite is particularly hard to control because it is a prolific resprouter from the base of that plant. You can top kill mesquite by cutting it, mowing, shredding and fire and still not be able to kill that plant as it will resprout from the base. This can be quite frustrating for landowners who are having their livelihoods ruined by such a noxious plant.

If you have mesquite growing on your pasture of rangeland, Solutions Pest and Lawn can provide you with the tips and tools that can defeat this invasive weed correctly the first time around so it will no longer be an issue.

Browse our recommended mesquite control products below. If you ever have any questions, we can be reached at any time via email, online live chat or phone.

How To Get Rid of Mesquite: 4 Step Solution

As difficult and frustrating as it is to manage mesquite because of it’s tendency to return again and again, it is possible to put a stop to them reduce and completely kill off the invasive plant. Using only mechanical or manual means will leave you in disappointment when mesquite grows right back with no intention of stopping. This is when it is best to use chemical means of treatment to ensure that mesquite is not only killed, but they stay dead and not return. Check out our simple steps below to learn how to manage this irritating plant.

Step 1: Identification. To begin it is important to identify and be completely sure that the plant that you are dealing with on your land is in fact, mesquite. It is important to properly identify your problem weed so you can be able to do your homework on the tree and it helps you when trying to select a herbicide for its control since some herbicides are specifically labeled to treat mesquite, while others are not.


Mesquite is a small tree or shrub, usually consisting of straight, very stout spines which produce edible fruits called legumes, beans, or pods. The yellow-green mesquite leaves are compound, that is a single leaf is composed of several small leaflets. The cylindrical, cream-colored flower spikes are actually composed of dozens of tiny flowers. The fruit is a bean or legume, slightly curved usually measuring 6-10 inches. The fruit or pod ripens into a light tan or brown pod consisting of a thin exocarp and a thick, spongy mesocarp surrounding woody endocarps that encase the seed


If you are not totally sure via independent research, we recommend you to email us a photo at identification@solutionsstores.com and we will be able to accurately ID the plant and then present you recommendations for control.

Step 2: Inspection. Once you have properly identified the plant as mesquite, we can proceed with Inspection. Observe the conditions of the area and the mesquite tree itself and see what level of growth it's at and how big of a task it will be to carry out a control approach. Once this is done, you can begin preparations. We believe the best way to control a persistent plant like mesquite is be treating it at the base as much as possible via the cut-stump technique. Use cutting tools, whichever you prefer, to begin cutting down the mesquite down to a stump. Make sure it is as close to the ground as possible for best results.

Step 3: Control. Finally, it’s time to break out the apply herbicides to kill off the mesquite stumps We recommend using either brush killer or a non-selective herbicide like glyphosate. Please follow directions according to the label and apply liberally to sufficiently kill the plant and prevent resprouting. Repeated application may be necessary to ensure total eradication.

Step 4: Prevention. If control efforts are not followed up on, mesquite will likely reinvade. Persistence is the key. Monitor your land closely to ensure that mesquite is not regrowing. While this may be cumbersome, it's easier to prevent mesquite than it is to deal with mesquite when it is established and growing.

Learn More About Mesquite

When you hear the word mesquite, what may initially come to mind is barbeque. While mesquite is popular as a slow-burning wood that helps to makes for great smoked meats, this tree or shrubs has a number of other great benefits and uses.


Mesquite is used in foods, medicine, furniture and other materials of benefit but it also has a bad reputation from landowners for how unattractive they look and how invasive they can be, growing in areas where they aren’t wanted.


Mesquite is a woody legume that can rapidly take over a landscape and is known as a particularly big problem for cattle ranchers. They are also commonly seen in desert areas.  


Mesquite can be very hard to control because it is a prolific resprouter from the crown or base of the plant. One can try to mechanically control it by chopping it down, burning it, bulldozing it, shredding it or anything else and it won’t be able to kill the plant. Unless you are able to yank out the entire root system, within 5 to 10 years another tree will appear. This can lead to a big waste of energy and resources.


Origins of Mesquite

Mesquite trees came to be during the Pleistocene era during the time of gigantic herbivores such as mammoths, mastodons, and ground sloths. These animals wood feed on the mesquite tree and spread their seed pods amongst the land.


Once those animals became extinct, water and weather were left to move distribute and spread the seeds and helped it to grow.  The mesquite is now regarded as one of the most popular and useful trees in the southwest United States and parts of Mexico. As mentioned earlier, the mesquite is actually a legume along with other members of its family peanuts, alfalfa, clover and beans. It’s no wonder that mesquite thrives in those areas because it prefers dry arid lands.


Native Americans hold mesquite in high reverence because they use the pods and seeds of the tree to make flour in order to make cakes to help them survive the fall and winter months.

Types of Mesquite

There are three different species of mesquite trees: honey mesquite, screwbean mesquite and velvet mesquite. The trees all bloom between the April and August and produce aromatic flowers. These trees also help to restore nitrogen to the soil and produce bean pods that animals and livestock feed on for sustenance.


Threats To Environment And Mesquite Control

When it comes to brush, nothing has proven more troublesome to landowners than mesquite. This plant infests about millions of acres, for instance, in Texas it has overtaken about 51 million acres. Mesquite can withstand fire, droughts, mowing, freezing and insects.


Thankfully, through the use of the herbicide products we offer, you can keep mesquite under control. Our DIY mesquite control methods provide landowners with selective, environmentally-friendly and cost-effective ways to kill mesquite before they get so large and dense that more expensive treatment methods are necessary.


The added benefits is that you do not need any special training or a license to carry out the techniques we suggest. Depending on the mesquite size and other circumstances, the best application methods for mesquite control include the stem spray method or the leaf spray method. We will discuss both methods below.


Stem Spray Method

For smaller mesquite types that have smooth bark they can be easily controlled via the stem spray method at a low concentration (15%). Rougher barked types can be controlled with a higher concentration (25%).


Using a small pump sprayer or a backpack sprayer with a cone nozzle. When using the stem spray method, it’s important to adjust your nozzle to deliver a coarse mist in a narrow cone. Lightly wet the trunk of the Mesquite from ground line to a height of 12 to 16 inches, making sure you wet the trunk on all sides.


Mixing for the stem spray method is both easy and safe and requires a selected herbicide and a mixture of diesel fuel for best results. Smooth-barked mesquite less than 1.5 inches of diameter would require 19oz of herbicide, while a rougher barked and thicker diameter trunk would require a higher concentration.


Stem spray applications are effective any time of the year. Multiple stem or roughly barked mesquite are more difficult to control. Dense grass around basal stems can reduce the efficiency of this method. Please follow the label and use safety equipment when mixing and using.


Leaf Spray Method

Mesquite which has a multitude of basal stems would be better treated via the leaf spray method. The only limitation to the leaf spray method is the height of the plant. Larger mesquite would be harder to hand spray.


Leaf sprays can be applied with a variety of equipment but the simplest equipment is a basic pump up sprayer or a backpack sprayer for larger vehicles. You could also hook up a spray rig to an ATV. Regardless of the type, a cone nozzle is best to deliver a coarse spray.


With the leaf spray method you spray the foliage lightly until the leaves glisten but not excessively to the point of runoff. However, it is very critical to spray all parts of the plant so that all the leaves have a few droplets of the herbicide.


For leaf spraying a combination of the recommended herbicides would be best to achieve the most success in control. A surfactant may also be necessary to add to the mixture so the product can stick better to the leaves.


The ideal time to begin spraying is in the spring after the soil temperature at 1 foot of depth has reached 75 degrees. The spray period will last through September.


Do not spray during periods of new growth in the treetops, when the leaves are wet from rainfall or show damage from hail, insects or disease.


Final Considerations for Controlling Mesquite

Controlling mesquite is not a one-time job. You’ll need to go over your land now and then to get rid of unwanted mesquite sprouts. The cost of treatment can go up depending on the density and size of the brush goes up.


Proper use of these methods will reduce the amount of herbicide uses in the environment and the unnecessary effects of over application on desired plants.


With all this being said, you are equipped with the knowledge and product recommendation to get started spraying and eliminating that irritating mesquite!


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