Wednesday, June 24, 2009
One thing we have in great abundance here is the lowly, weedy mesquite tree. You almost can't even call it a tree; it's shrubby and thin and scraggly and has lovely huge shoe-leather-piercing thorns all over. And once it takes hold in a pasture, good luck ever getting rid of it again. Mesquite can regenerate from less than a CENTIMETER of root left in the soil. It's just that pervasive.
Interestingly, though, it's a legume... which means it's actually GOOD for the soil. Legumes tend to have an effect called nitrogen-fixing. They also tolerate arid climates very well, needing little water to survive, so they don't suck up a water supply. And once a tree is established, the thorns drop off (only coming on the new growth).
Plus, I am very fond of beef that's been smoked using mesquite wood. I prefer its harsher taste to the sweetness of hickory, personally.
Whatever your opinion of the humble mesquite tree -- noxious weed or Texas treasure -- it probably is here to stay.