Tree with huge thorns
We live in Indiana and have a large property. Close to the immediate area around the house is some type of locust, that has 3-4" thorns. They are massive, and have flatened our riding mower tires a number of times. It gives my chickens their shade, so I don't want to cut it down.
Today, I see all it's huge seed pods are on the ground. I think I will collect them and throw them out. I do hate doing that though, since I'm sure this is a native tree. But I certainly don't want this growing anywhere close to our house. Even driving by it on the mower could cause a huge laceration if we're not careful.
Any ideas? I realize that just because something is native, it doesn't make it fun to be around.
Can anyone ID this tree for me, and tell me if it serves a vital function in nature that I'm ignorant of?
Thanks for your help.