Soil Ecology and Research Group

last update April 24, 2001


Irrigation and mulch effects on desert shrub transplant establishment


On a Sonoran Desert site, transplanted honey mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa Torrey var. torreyana Hickman [Fabaceae]) seedlings watered through deep-pipes had significantly higher survival (71%) than those irrigated through buried clay pots (52%), and 3 times better survival than surface irrigated (control) plants. Despite intense herbivory, mesquite watered with deep-pipes were much taller than surface-watered plants. When combined with irrigation, neither bark mulch or vertical mulch of plant stems improved survival. Honey mesquite can be successfully established on dry desert sites without mulch using deep-pipe irrigation, minimal water (<20 l total over 4 seasons), and by providing protection from herbivores.