The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 69, July 1965 - April, 1966 Page: 43
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The Mesquite Tree
(and also to protect homes against the possibility of fire) kept
woody vegetation in check, seedling mesquites escaped the flames
where the grass was thin. Yet those seedlings in a year or two
began to shade the ground, keeping the grasses down; and while
their tops may have been burned, their tenacious roots sent up
sprouts in survival. Moreover, the abundant seed, carried by
livestock, proved a formidable agent in the onslaught.
Present day range specialists are encouraged in their attack on
the tree through brush control by both mechanical and chemical
means; its growth and reproductive characteristics, however, com-
plicate the problem of eradication. Adaptable to varying condi-
tions, the mesquite persists even with the killing of its topwood,
which stimulates root and crown area. The latest report on the
problem by the U. S. Department of Agriculture, "Mesquite Con-
trol on Southwestern Rangeland," published in 1957, shows that
the area then occupied by the mesquite was "almost twice the
area occupied 50 years ago." And control is not recommended
in sections with low rainfall, for there little grass could be
Since the cost of eradication is high, an economical utilization
of the woody fiber has long been studied. In 1945, the Department
of Forest Products of Texas A. gc M. College issued a report by
E. D. Marshall, "Mesquite Utilization in Texas"; that study does
not recommend definite commercial operations but names certain
industrial fields as a challenge. Even as in pioneer days, fence
posts and fuelwood dominate the list of present usefulness, though
experiments on other products have not been abandoned.
Thus a historic tree, which the botanists of New Spain discussed
four hundred years ago, still receives attention-if not praise-
worthy-and makes its own fight for survival against great odds.
Its place on the great prairies lost, it will probably still be found
on lawns of nature lovers who welcome its feathery foliage and
Here’s what’s next.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 69, July 1965 - April, 1966, periodical, 1966; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117144/m1/61/: accessed November 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.