growing locust trees

srhnglnn(sw ny)June 19, 2003

I have large locust trees w/ shoots comming up from their roots , can I successfully transplant these shoots ?, Also I am wondering if I can cut off branches , soak them in water & grow roots on them for transplanting .... any help on getting more locust trees from the big ones would be apreciated.

thanks , Glenn :)

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suep_ct(6b/7a CT)

Locust trees can be incredibly invasive. You should have no problems harvesting the offshoots if that's what you want. I never tried to take cuttings since the black locusts growing in my yard back home were a challenge to keep from reproducing. If you cut one down or if a storm takes it (and this is very likely since they grow so tall and lean) the tree will send out hundreds of offshoots from its roots. I do fondly recall the sweet fragrance of those creamy blossoms. Good Luck.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2003 at 5:59PM
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Bernizzy(z7 NY)

I agree with everything SueP wrote. I could try sending you some of my young locust seedlings if I can dig them. Let me know if you want me to try. Most of those I have are difficult to dig because they've been mowed down several times and have tough root systems.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2003 at 3:03AM
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If you root prune around your locust tree you'll be over run with new shoots they really are a invasive trees.I once plowed close to some locust trees and must have cut alot of the roots.Anyways within a month there were locust shoots everywhere.:(

    Bookmark   June 29, 2003 at 8:30PM
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marylandmojo(zone 7--Md.)

Funny thing about locust trees--people have different ideas of their merit in different parts of the country. I was raised on a farm in Virginia that my grandfather bought in 1895. $2500 for 250 acres, and people thought he was crazy for paying such an exhorbitant price, I'm told. In the circular drive around the house (which was built in 1852), there were about 10 locust trees. We called one of these locusts the Bell Tree, because it had a large cast-iron bell in it that was used to call workers in from the fields for dinner at precisely noon each day. There are 2 or 3 of these locusts remaining, but they are just shells of their former selves, hollow and broken, but each year, there are live branches that put out leaves. I'm amazed by it. They're probably 150 years old, and I believe the previous owner put them there, and for a very good reason. They were evenly spaced around the yard, and there were no other locusts on the place, so I'm sure they must have been planted. They weren't invasive--either because the grass was regularly mowed so that seedlings had no chance to survive, or they were a particular type of locust that just isn't invasive. I suspect the former. Anyone who knows anything about locust wood, knows it's one of the toughest woods we have. Rail fences generally have cedar for rails, and locust for posts--particularly here in the East. The posts easily outlast the rails by two or three times as long. Cedar is tough, and insect repellant, and also a very good wood for fenceposts, but it doesn't approach locust. There are locust posts still on this farm that my grandfather put there in the 1940's and 1950's, while cedar posts have been replaced at least twice since then.
I hated the locust trees in the yard when I was a child, because I was a treeclimber, and you can't climb locust trees. They have too many thorns, not only on their limbs, but on their trunks as well. But I believe the previous owner knew exactly what kind of trees he wanted in the yard when he planted the locusts. They're very tough, as I mentioned, and live a long time. They're not branchy, like oaks, which sometimes have branches as big as a good-sized tree, and are quite long. Locust brances are much shorter, and aren't prone to break of their own weight, or during storms. There was never any problem with fallen limbs from these trees. They have fragrant, white flowers in the Spring--their smell, mixed with boxwood, newly-mown grass or hay, and cow manure from the pastures, is one of the distinct smells of Spring I remember from my childhood. It is my idea that they make very good yard trees,for these reasons, and I think the old folks who planted these trees were well aware of it.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2003 at 3:15PM
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pheobuscottage(7b VA)

You want more locust trees on purpose? Please come to my house and take mine! Seriously, they are considered a bit of a pest. I have to pull up dozens of babies every time it rains. These things are hard to stop. I was determined to kill them all until they bloomed. The blossoms are amazing, but the tree is a pain. The wood is supposed to be very good (more incentive for me to kill my mini-grove).

I am willing to bet that you could root prune one of your sucker/saplings from the parent and leave it in situ for a while, ensuring that it develops its own root system before transplanting it. I think that you are a rare person not to hate this beautiful tree's terrible growth habit.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2003 at 9:17PM
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leslies(z7 No VA)

Well, they grow fast and their small leaves just blow away in the breeze so raking isn't needed. But I can't think of anything else good to say about these. In my area, they seem to be under pressure from either an insect or a disease and look ratty by August (it's starting to hit just about now). In my view, their scraggly crowns are graceless and, maybe because of the bug/disease, they do throw down branches in every passing rainstorm. A stiff wind takes a few down every year.

Anybody know how to deal with the suckering? Does Brush B Gon help? I can't mow the upper hill - too steep.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2003 at 5:08PM
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WVtreeman(z5 WV)

The sprouts are easily killed with any brush herbicide; however, it may affect the parent tree as it is translocated through the interlocked root systems. Locusts, as has been pointed out in a previous post, make excellent fence posts and are quite pretty when blooming. They also make delicious honey. If only they weren't so damaged by the leaf miner they would be a desirable tree.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2003 at 10:02PM
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They are still harvested here in the Blue Ridge part of the Appalachians, for lumber (posts and rails) and fire wood (burns good and hot). Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) transplant very easily. You can dig the suckers or the seedlings that "volunteer" in the spring. Locust are so viable, I have seen green fence posts root and start leafing out.
Dr.Dir calls it an "alley -cat type of tree " surviing the toughest conditions. He suggests scarifying the seed with either hot water soak, mechanically, or sulfuric acid. Rooted cuttings 1/4" to 1" diameter and 3-8" long.
hope this helps.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2003 at 3:08PM
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WVtreeman(z5 WV)

phdNC, I have seen locust posts sprout and "grow" several feet when set green in wet seasons but root? Never.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2003 at 11:24PM
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valerie_anne(z 6b east TN)


makes one wonder how it would work to plant one every 8 foot around the perimeter of your property for an inexpensive and permanent fencing system!

Keeping the sprouts down would be a challenge, but I'm already messing with that with red cedars here in eastern TN. They grow everywhere like weeds.

I wonder how long they'd have to grow before you could attach fencing to them and whack them off?

    Bookmark   October 16, 2003 at 6:19PM
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undercover_owl(8 Pac.NW)

I am one of those (probably) nutty people who deliberately planted black locusts.

My question: Do deer like to eat black locust? Something is eating them, and it's not bugs.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2003 at 9:29PM
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beng(z6 western MD)

Yea, deer will eat anything, including vegetables dusted w/so much Sevin that they're white, and with no apparent ill effects. Also Death Angel mushrooms, and supposedly poisonous Yew, Mountain laurel and Rhododendren.

pheobuscottage's method of sucker propagation sounds good.
Black locusts add nitrogen to the soil, so even if they're unsightly, they're enriching the soil alittle.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2003 at 8:54PM
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terri_ks(z5 KS)

I just moved here to Kansas last winter. I have some locust trees here. They have very long thorns (several inches at least) and did not flower this spring. The locust I had back in Michigan had very short thorns and a beautiful, fragrant white flower in the spring. I would like to get some shoots of the kind I had in Michigan, Does any one know what kind of locust that would be ? Thank you.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2003 at 9:03PM
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My husband fell for Robinia pseudoacacia "Purple Robe" when the native plant nursery in Fairview TN had a 50% off sale I bought him one. The owner told me to nip all the suckers as they sprouted and that is what I shall do.....It has lovely purple, fragrant flowers that look like wisteria in the spring that knocked DH's socks off. Do you know this cultivar? Thanks

    Bookmark   October 26, 2003 at 8:52AM
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i'm with marylandmojo -- I do like black locusts trees, which seem to have naturalized in my part of central nj. i like them way better than the maples, which have shallow roots that make underplanting impossible. i like them way better than the wild cherries, which inevitably get tent caterpillars. mine don't really sucker, sorry, at least not to the point where it's prolematic.
want a tree to hate? i nominate the ailanthus, an invasive, greedy exotic that pops up everywhere. locust is a venerable choice for old homesteads, casts a light, filtered shade. the wood doesn't rot and makes great firewood.
lighten up, people.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2003 at 6:02PM
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beng(z6 western MD)

Believe it or not, the original, most common habitat of Black locusts were in the forest canopy. I still see them more often than you'd think as full canopy trees in the oak forests -- branchless trunks to high heights. The weediness in open areas greatly increased after the clearing and people planting them for posts (and the subsequent insect infestation increases). BLocust in the forest is attacked much less by wood-borers.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2003 at 11:51AM
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Your long-thorned locust is honey locust (Gleditsia triacanthos). Can be a great shade tree: more attractive than your Michigan black locust, wide-spreading crown, dappled shade, and leaves that are too small to require raking. Thorniness varies widely in different individuals, and you can buy one of the (very) popular thornless varieties. Flowers are inconspicuous.

I have plenty of fond childhood memories of playing in black locust plantations in Wisconsin, and I love the smell (and look) of black locusts in bloom, but I would not plant them around my property.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2003 at 11:49AM
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Sowth Efrikan

If anyone knows where I can buy one of the thornless varities, please post here and let me know.

A local university has a 115 year association with the locust tree, but the actual tree has been shunned because of the thorns being a legal suit waiting to happen.

I should love a thornless variety to be planted on campus.


    Bookmark   July 21, 2004 at 7:50PM
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mscratch(z6 S.E. Mo.)

Yes, they can become a nuisance but I keep them for a canopy of shade for various other plantings. I have a small area of the backyard where they are in a corner and they provide excellent shade for the plantings that would otherwise die out in full sun.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2004 at 8:52AM
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reinbeaux(z8 WA State)

Not only suckers but the vast amount of seeds and seedlings that come up quite a ways from the tree - including in my nursery pots that are on benches (neighbor's trees)

    Bookmark   August 21, 2004 at 11:19AM
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joepyeweed(5b IL)

in our area they are becoming invasive - we girdle them to kill them....helps keep suckers from spreading.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2004 at 5:01PM
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beng(z6 western MD)

SowthEfrikan, most of the available nursery Honeylocust cultivars are thornless or nearly so. HLocust should do fine in NE Texas.

'Shipmast' is an interesting variety of Black locust, apparently more resistant to the BLocust wood-borer.

Here is a link that might be useful: 'Shipmast' Black locust

    Bookmark   August 24, 2004 at 9:09AM
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I think the thornless variety was developed in the OARDC forestry research place in Wooster Ohio. They proably would know where to get them.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2004 at 4:32PM
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phacops(central PA)

Wow, this "conversation" has been going on for quite some time. In response to Valerie Anne's musing about planting black locust around the perimeter, this year I did just that. Not around the entire property yet, but 200 trees at 10' intervals. Based on our experience from other black locusts planted in previous years, I am expecting to have trees of fence post size in about 5-7 years. The fence trees are getting more TLC than did the other trees, so maybe it will even be sooner.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2004 at 2:49PM
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northtexasgirl(z8 FTW)

I just purchased a Robinia pseudoacacia (Purple Robe Locust tree)today at Lowe's at 50% off. I think it is beautiful. I have the perfect spot picked out for it in the backyard where shade is desperately needed. I like the fact that it is fast-growing, easy to care for, and makes a good shade tree, besides the flowers being so pretty. This one is already about 15' tall. I can't wait to see it bloom.


    Bookmark   September 26, 2004 at 6:34PM
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Naturegirl46(z5 IN)

Still interested in Locust trees?? I have an enormous one in my front yard. It does offer wonderful dappled shade to the house and garden and it has a beautiful shape to it. However, the thorns it produces are horribly long, strong and dangerous - they fall off and if stepped on, can pierce through shoes and little dog's feet. Two years ago it produced about 10 billion pods. It did not produce pods last year and it has none this year. Does anyone know if they normally produce every year?? The seedlings are tenacious and give quite a fight if you don't pull them out when they're very young. The suckers sprout up everywhere but can be controlled through mowing. If you saw the saplings down and they grow back, seemingly overnight. In the fall, the little leaves are everywhere - you can't rake them and they blow around and around, not going anywhere but into the garage, it seems, from where they are tracked into the house. This tree is messier than almost any tree (except the Mulberry, I guess.) I would only plant the thorn less variety. If this tree didn't give wonderful shade, it would have to go.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2004 at 4:03PM
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jan53(z5 MA)

My friend had several locust trees of some kind when he lived in Virginia about 2 years ago. He said they had beautiful multicolored (?) flowers that smelled wonderful.
Now he lives in Massachusetts and just found some seeds and seed pods that he had saved. Do you think they will still sprout? What would be the best way to start them and then transplant them outside?
I have several black locusts which are great for erosion control and I love the way they smell. But, when I have tried to transplant the new little trees, they never make it.
Thanks for any advice you can give me about the seeds.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2004 at 4:15PM
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ahughes798(z5 IL)

The forest preserve I volunteer at just spent $12K to get rid of the darn things on 2 acres. They are pests, they sucker freely here, and are a good example of invasive native plants! April

    Bookmark   October 24, 2004 at 9:31PM
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Hi! I just joined this message board, because I'm looking for information on Locust trees. I live in Georgia, and this past November, when I went to visit my fiance in Pennsylvania, we stopped at a rest stop, and I picked up a bunch of seed pods that I think might be from a locust. We were still in Pennsylvania, and I wasn't sure what kind of tree it was, but I thought they were interesting and beautiful. My mother thought they were from a Locust tree, but I don't know what kind. If I were to try to start them in pots, would they be able to survive in this state? (Georgia?) I don't want to plant them in the ground here, because we'll be moving when we get married. Suggestions please?

    Bookmark   March 22, 2005 at 8:13PM
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garden4wildlife(z8 GA)

Ravenwolf, in my part of Georgia we have honey locust, black locust, bristly locust, and water locust all growing wild in the woods, especially along rivers. Your locusts should do fine here, if you can get them to germinate.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2005 at 9:30PM
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juanmac(z8 OR)

I planted a black locust 8 years ago, cut it down and ground the stump 2 years ago and want to find a way to kill the %$#$#@^&* thing. This thing is like the freakin' hydra, you cut one sucker and ten more sprout up. The summer after we had the tree taken down we suddenly had about a million suckers appear. We had no idea that this was going to happen. Like they say, knowledge is power. If I had know the facts about this tree I would never have planted it in my yard. I know many of you on this forum love it. I need your help in how to kill it once and for all.

I have neighbors who are from Ohio who tell me that their grandparents had one in Columbus and they still have suckers coming back 30 years later.


    Bookmark   April 10, 2005 at 9:07PM
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ginamarina(z4/5 WI)

Geez, juanmac, sounds like my Box Elder trees... I can't even poison them, only burn them into the ground. I'm looking for a Locust, but not as a replacement for the billion Box Elder trees on my property!...

    Bookmark   June 15, 2005 at 8:42PM
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horseofcourse(z7 TX)

Help!! I have what appears to be locust trees growing in a small corner in my South pasture. They are young with hundres of long spiney thorns. There is, in fact, a forest of these and I want them GONE. They are a threat to my horses which I have to keep out of that pasture. I have considered setting fire to them, but I don't want to catch my pasture or my neighbors place on fire. If I cut them, they send up hundres of sprouts. I don't have a bulldozer right now. I don't care what the plan, I want these trees gone. They are popping up everywhere. What do I use?

    Bookmark   June 29, 2005 at 2:02PM
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I'm a woodworker, not a gardener, but I am a black locust fan and expert. I appreciate fine woods and black locust is the second best wood in the world (in my opinion) and it benefits the environment in several ways. Some of what I say applies directly to your gardening and yardwork. The rest applies to the black locust in other areas.

Black locust is an underdog that deserves more appreciation.


Black locust benefits farmers and home owners because it fertilizers the ground and helps grass grow while at the same time it poisens weeds, brush, and competing trees like alder that really are pests. Your black locust trees around your yard or field are doing much of your yard work for you.


Black locust is the best wood grown in North American. The general public is ignorant of this fact though, which is good since that holds down lumber prices. This ignorance is also bad because people don't understand the value and often want to kill the black locust.

Black locust is ideal for furniture, boat building, decks, and hardwood floors. It's also great for fenceposts, but that's a waste of a fine wood. It's a native exotic.

It is native to the Eastern USA, but was brought to CA by goldminers to grow for minining timbers. The railroads also planted it because it makes excellent railroad timbers for bridges and railroad ties.

Black locust can last well in excess of 70 years in the ground without painting or chemical treatment.

It's very strong, shock resistant, stable (doesn't shrink or swell much), durable (rot resistant), looks great (in part due to flouresant grain. It's somewhat hard to work, but not to much considering it's very hard. It's easy to glue. Unlike other very hard woods, black locust nails reasonably well. It is also a fairly smooth wood.

To get better physical properties that black locust, you have to look at ebony or some other expensive, exotic import.

You can basically think of black locust as hickory that is more rot resistant and more stable when humidity changes. It looks similar to red and white oak, except is better looking due to greater smoothness and flouresant grain.

It's considered a pest by some Western tree hugging environmentalists because it's an aggressive tree that kills the Western native trees and plants in a wide area around it. However, that was a very useful quality to pioneer farmers who worked hard to get their fields cleared. The easy way to keep a field cleared of brush, alder, other trees, and weeds is to plant some black locust. Black locust only allows grass to grow in its field. Nothing else. That's a convienent way to keep a field cleared without manual weeding or spraying weed killers.

A lot of Oregonian tree hugger environmentalists hated black locust because it kills other species of trees and brush. Black locust is mostly dead in Oregon now due to a beetle attack.

Black locust is mostly ignored in CA and WA because the general public is ignorant about black locust. Yes, it exists and is the best hardwood in N American. It can be found on West and East coast and in Southern Midwest, but it's only appreciated in the East (by mariners) where they still build yachts and sailboats with it.

Though native to the Eastern USA, it's spread all over the Western USA and parts of the Southern Midwest and Europe.

It is appreciated by environmentalists in those places because it is an easy, quick way to reforest strip mined areas and logged out areas. Although it prefers good soil and lots of sun, it can grown in bad soil (mine spoils) and cloudy and cold climates too.

It has spread all over Canada over the last 250 years.

It was imported to France in the 1600s. The French recognized awesome shipbuilding wood when the saw it. They also used it for medicinal properties (seeds) and cooking (flowers). The seeds have also been used in Europe as a coffee substitute. Also, in addition to suppressing-poisoning other trees and brush, locusts do not poisen grass. Locusts improve the grass by fertilizing the soil. Therefore, they're an ideal tree for a farmer to have around his fields. They make the grass grow better while suppressing weeds, brush and other invasive trees like alder.

The English imported black locust to England hundreds of years ago where it still grows. They know a good ship building wood when they see it. Not to mention it's the farmer's friend.

It has spread all over Western and especially Eastern Europe. The Europeans appreciate the black locust for it's medicinal properties (seeds are laxative) and for the quality of its wood. The biggest attraction is that it is an aggressive tree that self cultivates and self spreads without much human effort needed. The black locust is reforesting much of the logged out areas of Europe that have been barren for centuries. It's also a renewable resource for them since it's so easy to regrow. They don't even need to replant it. It's such an aggressive, persistant tree that it continually replants itself. It's an automated reforestation program for Europe that doesn't require much labor. You see, some people appreciate invasive trees.

Black locust is a national symbol of Hungary and the basis of their forestry industry.

I'd like the Oregon tree huggers to put that in their pipe and smoke it, but don't try to burn black locust for firewood. It's bark is poisonous and it explodes when burned (trapped steam pockets).

Anyone who thinks that black locust is only a pest or only good for fence posts is ignorant. Yes, it makes great fence posts, but it's a far superior wood to white oak, hickory, hard maple, walnut, or cherry for furntiture and boat building. Using black locust for fence posts is not the best use of the wood.

However, it does make the good fence posts (along with osage orange). Black locust fence posts last well over 70 years in the ground with no deterioration. This is without any chemical treatment.

I found a supplier in Washington State near me who sells it for a bit less than white oak. I'd like to build a house and use it for the indoor hardwood floor and outdoor decking. Maybe the doors too. It'd probably make great siding and roofing. Since it last 70+ years in the ground, it ought to last hundreds of years as siding or roofing without painting or staining. It's supposed to nail easily before fully dry. Unlike other woods, it does not shrink, warp, or crack when it dries (stabile).

In conclusion, black locust is a blessing. I don't have much patience for those lucky enough to have it in abundance and then complain about. If you have it, be thankful. You are blessed with a tree that enriches the soil and helps grass grow while poisening weeds, brush, and other invasive trees like alder. Black locust flowers make great tea (according to Europeans) and the beans can be used for coffee subsitute or laxative (according to Europeans).

It is reforesting and replenishing American soils in strip mined areas. In strip mined areas, the environmentalists love black locust's invasive nature. No other tree will grow in a strip mined area.

The Europeans love it because in addition to its other qualities, it's a very easy (zero labor) way to reforest barren lands that were logged out for centuries.

It grows even where the soil is eroded or exhausted and replenishes it by nitogren fixing. So I guess one person's invasive trash is another's reforesting treasure. But even if you don't like black locust, please realize its wood is highly valued and appreciated for furniture, highend hardwood floors, and wood yachts in the Eastern USA and especially Europe. There are a few of us in the West who also appreciate it. So don't think it's only good for fenceposts or is junk. The only wood with similar properties (strength, hardness, beauty, stability, rot resistance) is purpleheart. Only Ebony is superior to black locust. So think twice before you waste the cadillac of woods on fence posts or want to kill it as a pest. At least use it for a deck or hardwood floor, if not fine furniture or a yacht.


Since the average American only understands the value of something based on money, let me put this in dollars and cents you can understand.

It takes abut 60 board feet of lumber to make a nice office desk, if you do it will all 3/4 lumber and no plywood. I'm talking about making a very high-end piece of furniture. The kind of desk that sells for $4,000 to $6,000 if you bought it at a retailer.

Now suppose you want the best wood you can get based on the mechanical properties of the wood and its beauty. There is only one native USA wood that qualifies and that's black locust. It is the ideal wood, yet costs less than white oak because the public doesn't understand the qualities of black locust. White oak is something everyone likes, but it's inferior to black locust in nearly every way: strength, shock resistance, hardness, rot resistance, smoothness, stability (not shrinking or swelling with humidity changes) and good looks. Cherry and Walnut cost 3 times more than white oak, but are inferior to white oak with regard to hardness and strength. i.e. - they look nice but are not very tough or durable.

Black locust is mechanically better than white oak in every way for furniture or anything else. White oak is better than red oak. Red oak is mechanically better than Cherry or Walnut.

To get similar physical qualities as black locust you'd have to buy Purpleheart or Santos Mahogany (both expensive South American exotics). To get better qualities than Black Locust you'd have to buy Ebony (very expensive African exotic).

A desk made of black locust would cost $150 for materials and would be the best (other than ebony).

The same desk made of white oak would cost $200 for materials, but would not be nearly as good as black locust, especially because white oak has too rough a surface for a good writing surface. White oak also lacks black locust's stability in humidity changes (meaning white oak shrinks and swells more, which can break glue joints).

The same desk made of cherry or walnut would cost $450 for materials, but would be much softer, weaker, and less stablile than black locust.

The same desk made of purpleheart would cost $450 for materials, but not be as good as black locust because purpleheart is less smooth.

The same desk made of Santos Mahogany would cost $600 for materials, but not be as good because it's too hard to work and is not as smooth as black locust.

Ebony Gaboon - this is the ideal furniture wood and is better than black locust mainly because it's smoother. However, ebony would cost $4,500 for materials to make the desk.

The above mentioned woods are the best furniture woods in the world. Ebony is best, black locust is second best. All others are poor relations. The fact that black locust sells for less than white oak is because the public is ignorant of the true value of black locust. However, that works to your favor if you want to make furniture, wood boats, decks, or floors because the public's lack of appreciation holds down the price.

I just hope the public's lack of appreciation doesn't lead to a genicide of black locust trees (as happened in Oregon). They're a national treasure, not a trash.

If you have black locust, don't hate it, love it. You'd got an exceptionally fantastic, world class wood that is a native exotic.

If people would appreciate the true value of black locust, perhaps the trees would fare better and be allowed to grow to maturity so we'd have more large, higher quality boards with fewer knots. However, even the younger, smaller trees make great furniture. Older, larger trees are needed for boat building, decks, and floors. Some larger trees still exist in WA. I suspect that most of the larger trees are in Canada and Europe.

One concern I have is that black locust loggers in the West are not required to replant or practice responsible forestry because the tree is considered a non-native pest. That's too bad. We have to practice good forestry for the less useful native trees. So far black locust has been able to compensate for this to an extent with its invasive nature saving it. However, it is losing the battle due to logging without replanting.

If Americans aren't careful, their ignorance and hostility toward black locust could lead to eradicatiion (like happened in Oregon). Then it would only be a Canadian and European tree.

It was actually a beetle that wiped it out in Oregon, but no effort was made to kill the beetles and save the black locust trees. The Oregon environmentalists jumped for joy that it was killed off. Luckily we still have plenty in CA and WA. But there used to be plenty of elephants in Africa too.

Some people hate black locust. Some love it. Most never heard of it. We need to do better to save this tree.

I wrote this to this forum because I noticed a large number of black locust haters in this group. I hope you will reconsider.

I hope people learn to appreciate this wonderful tree and stop wanting to eradicate it.


    Bookmark   July 24, 2005 at 1:05AM
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So... I'm another fan of black locust. Basically, this is an early-successional tree that is extremely good at what it does--if you plant it in an unforested area, it will turn that area into forest more quickly than just about anything else. That's the only situation where it will be weedy. Plant it in existing woodland and it'll be a perfectly well-behaved canopy tree.

To be honest, in the context of woodland gardening I can't imagine how this tree could be problematic. If you already have a woodland, it'll be entirely non-weedy and will produce great wood and better flowers than any other canopy tree I know of. If you want to convert an area to woodland, this is an ideal tree for that purpose, since it will quickly fill your land with trees but won't shade out underplanted trees. If you start with deforested land and plant the typical oaks, hickories, and whatnot of mature forest you'll be sitting there for decades before there's anything close to a forest. If you plant black locust and then underplant with the oaks and so forth you'll have an early-successional forest in no time, and the oaks, hickories, etc., will start to take over at about the same time they would've if you'd only planted them. It's a win-win situation.

Patrick Alexander

    Bookmark   July 24, 2005 at 3:45PM
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I admit I also love the black locust. My only gripe is the locust borers that eventually kill the trees around here. I'm starting seedlings and planting them in the middle of the forest. I've heard that locust borers don't hurt them as much when they are shaded by the surrounding trees.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2005 at 12:24PM
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I don't intend to use Black Locust for wood products but do love them simply for the beautiful smell in my 1/2 acre woodland garden. Given that scenario, I definately need help on how to reduce the work in managing the suckers and keep my trees as healthy as possible. Right now my process is a mix of nippers cutting off the young root suckers and occasional Roundup.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2005 at 9:31AM
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well_drained(z6a MA)

Fascinating thread! The only comment I wanted to make is that if black locusts have weed-poisoning effects, as wbond asserts, I have not seen evidence of it -- a multitude of weeds of many species grow all around the base of my tree and for many yards outward from there. Still, it is a tree with many positive qualities, as articulated in prior posts. The only downside for me (besides the fact that it is not native to the northeastern U.S. and is listed as invasive in Massachusetts) is the root suckers that pop up all over. If someone hasn't made the "whack-a-mole" comparison yet, I will. Patrick's post makes me hope that once my woodland garden reaches a certain age, the suckers will calm down a bit.

-- wd

    Bookmark   August 25, 2005 at 3:10PM
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uoldgoat(BTV, VT)

January 2006, Northern Vermont.
I'd like to grow some Black Locust trees from seeds I collected along the Hudson River in September-October 2005. Could someone please outline the necessary steps to process and plant these seeds.
Must the seeds go thru a cold, freezing cycle (what temperature?) before planting?

phdNC suggests scarifying the seeds. The hot water soak seems reasonable. What would the temperature and duration be for such a soak? Are the seeds ready to plant immediately after this process or must they cool and dry for some prescribed time before planting?

If a freezing cycle is necessary, is that done before scarifying?

I will plant the seeds outside in a garden nursery to get them started in frames/pots filled with potting soil(?). How deep would the seeds be planted?

Thanks for any help on this.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2006 at 12:39PM
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They can be stored for years without a care in the world. But then you scarify them. I did so with a nail clippers last year and planted them in June. In our hot weather they were up in a few days. tallest one was over 3ft by the time cold weather stopped it.

Last year, I also planted some old seed in pots without scarification and one came up in february and I just kept it by the window's natural light and when spring and warmer temps came;
I first hardened it off.
then I planted it out in the woods.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2006 at 3:15PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

I normally spend my time on the Butterfly Forum, but tonight I decided to browse and found this interesting thread.
I'd like to add that, in addition to the many other good things about black locust trees you've all mentioned, they're the host plant for the darling little silver-spotted skipper. I planted two of them last year, and I found SSS caterpillars on them right away.
Here's a picture of a SSS caterpillar, and I'm linking a picture of the adult butterfly -

I planted both my locust trees in difficult spots, one in a dry area up by the main road and the other one in a wet, shady spot - they've both thrived! They haven't colonized, but then they were just recently planted - there are only a few growing in this area, and I haven't noticed any abnormal spreading of those trees.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   February 8, 2006 at 10:26PM
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Ok, a butterfly. At least I know what was infesting my little black locust seedlings last summer in my nursery. I killed them. May the skipper live long and prosper on some more established trees.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2006 at 1:44PM
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I'm taking a class in beekeeping. I read that black locusts make good nectar and that bees really like them. Does anyone here have any experience with black locusts and bees? From some of the earlier comments, it sounds like they might not bloom every year. Is there anything I could do to encourage them to bloom?

In our back field there is a large barren section where the previous owner removed the topsoil. We've had trouble getting things to grow there but it sounds like black locust would be a good candidate to help reclaim that spot.


    Bookmark   March 24, 2006 at 7:42PM
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I got onto this web page by trying to find out how to exterminate the locust tree. And here, all of you just love them. I live on a farm and have been trying to eradicate these menacing trees for years.They are covered with 3 inch thorns that will puncture thick boot soles,if steped on or make a nasty wound if one happens to pick up a branch or even walk by too closely. I raise sheep and they have caused no end of foot wounds. I'm afraid I can't find anything nice to say about them. (Even if they do make good fence posts) karen (anyone know how to kill them?)

    Bookmark   March 26, 2006 at 10:13AM
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bhrost(zone 5 NY)

I'm a black locust fan. The flowers are beautiful and I love the fragrance. The bark of an old tree is extremely attractive and the gnarled and irregular form of the trunks and branches is distinctively picturesque.

In my area anyway, the trees are usually too crooked to make good lumber, and the wood always shows quite a bit of borer damage. There is a variant on Long Island called the shipmast locust which grows tall and straight, and hopefully greater cultivation of this could help alleviate some of the demand for arsenic treated woods.

It is a frequent volunteer along highways in New York and adds a nice touch. It's biggest downside in the tougher locales is that in droughty summers locust leafminer seems to effect it pretty badly. I'll take invasive locust to ailanthus - although some people are using ailanthus for wood as well, it is supposed to be similar to white ash in appearance.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2006 at 11:59PM
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Karen, what your referring to sounds like honeylocust. Black locust has thorns, but not as long as honeylocust.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2006 at 2:02PM
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Can anyone tell me anything about their experience with getting stuck with these thorns? One stuck me 3 weeks ago in my ankle bone and I still can't hardly walk. I have been to 3 doctors and still in extreme pain! There was a small puncture but it healed over quickly. It's not infected but feels extremely bruised, even though it does not look bruised. Every step I take hurts so bad.

Does anyone know anything about this? Please help!

    Bookmark   May 14, 2006 at 12:34AM
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watermaple, your probably talking about the honeylocust. The species we are talking about isn't the pain in the ankle which you received.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2006 at 1:22AM
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ladyslppr(z6 PA)

I cannot remember a spring in which the abundant Black Locust in PA did not bloom. It may be that occasionally an individual tree fails to bloom, but in general all Black Locust bloom every year.

Here they become partly defoliated by a small black and yellow beetle, but the trees still seem to thrive.

Black Locust is considered an invasive exotic plant in many regions of the US. But here in central PA we are in or very close to its native range. Here it appears in old fields, roadsides, areas with poor soil and can form large single-species stands. However, it is replaced by other trees that grow in the light shade cast by locust and locusts are few and far between in mature forests.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2006 at 11:01AM
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I am having a locust tree cut down to put up an above ground pool. The tree guy said he would grind the trunk and all visible roots. Do I need to worry about deeper roots causing problems?

    Bookmark   June 17, 2006 at 12:32AM
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Locust versus poo. No, no sympathy here.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2006 at 10:37AM
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hi. i live in southwestern PA and was wondering if anyone knows where i can find a purple robe locust. i have been trying to find one of these trees for a long time now with no luck. i have checked every nursery that i know of and even all the online nurseries. if anyone knows where i can find one or if someone would be willing to ship one for a fellow locust fan please email me. thanks.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2006 at 9:56PM
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Greenman I believe has them. Just search for Robinia or locust, it will come up.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2006 at 1:11AM
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I hate to let this very long and interesting thread on the black locust die. We have 70 year old black locusts in our backyard. They provide pleasant, dappled shade and fragrant flowers in the late spring. The tiny leaves do not need to be raked in the fall.

I wonder if any of you have suggestions for crops or plants that grow well in the black locust understory? I planted some asparagus this spring, with the theory that the late leafing black locust would allow a spring crop like this to get going. We also have an apple tree that is not huge but seems to do okay. Does anyone else have experience along these lines?

    Bookmark   July 27, 2006 at 9:54AM
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FYI: locust trees (black are native to east) are some of the first to grow back after disturbances - pioneer trees - they are also legumes which means they basically make beans are fix nitrogen into the soil enriching the soil for whatever trees come next. I used to not appreciate this tree but, even though they're scrappy, they're quite useful.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2006 at 10:42AM
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I have locust trees in my yard, hay field, along the road, ect. A pain in the butt.I also like them too ! But I thought the Black locust had very long thorns and the honey locust had thorns that looked more like rose thorns, not over an inch or two with bark similar to an osage orange.Can some one set me straight ?

    Bookmark   September 20, 2006 at 11:29PM
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orcuttnyc(z5-6 NY)

Hello. i have been trying to root my local saplings this summer, into pots. no luck yet. latest attempt was this morn.
I want them in pots for what you all might find as an odd reason.
I find the saplings randomly in lower Orange county NY where I have a weekend house. I live and work mostly in NYC. Around the building I live in, are tree pots. We've found that when we plant 'pretty' trees like birch, cedars or whatever, they are soon stolen. We've always assumed by cheapscate urban arseholes who want them for free, on their rooftops or backyards, or even biggertime arseholes who steal them to put up for sale to other unscrupulous arseholes for profit. Arseholes either way.
Sooo, i've been trying to find less desireable, but interesting alternatives. Hawthorn saplings are not as pretty, but are abundant in my woods, look nice, and seem to do well. I also love the woodsy pricker bushes, the ones that turn yellow each fall. Now i'm expirementing with black Locusts. Pretty leaves and those undesireable 'thorns'! Keep the unwanted hands away. We'll see how they last, once I get a sapling started and repotted.
I'm thinking of growing poison ivy in the pots if all else fails!

    Bookmark   September 24, 2006 at 3:10PM
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I have an 80+ foot Black Locust in my front yard that I need to have taken down. I think this is a great tree, nice shade and no-rake leaves but it has a narrow crotch and due to it's age and size I'm concerned that it will fall during a storm. I already had one the same size fall and hit my house a couple of winters ago.

I know that the wood is valuable but does anyone know someone who may be interested? They can have all of the wood for the cost of taking it down.

To get rid of the suckers you need to be VERY persistant with the Round-up and clippers. Took 3 years to mostly eliminate the ones from the tree that fell.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2007 at 6:56PM
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ladyslppr(z6 PA)

I think you have it backwards. Black Locust has small, rose-like thorns, while Honey locust has long, very dangerous -looking throns.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2007 at 8:56PM
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I just bought a Robinia Ambigua "Purple Robe" Idaho Locust from Home Depot last week and planted it on the west side of my property. It has been windy this past week and it has been bombarded by both wind and the sun (there is no shade in that part of my yard). I think I have also overwatered it, since I notice the ground is wet everyday. I use a drip irrigtation system that runs for 30 minutes at 5am. The leaves are droopy and yellow and some are crunchy and withering because of the sun. Is there any hope left? Please help. Thank you.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2007 at 11:03AM
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i have 3 very large black locust trees on my property here in eastern oregon. i have heard many people berate these trees, but since moving here 15 years ago, i have grown to love them. i call them "Larry, Curly, and Mo". many birds enjoy these trees, especially one pair of magpies, who come back every year to raise offspring in a large nest they built way up in Curly. (many people berate magpies, too, but i love them also)

i am concerned about this beetle that has been mentioned. is it the same one that has done so much damage to pine trees in the blue mountains in this area? if my trees are infested, what should i look for? and is there anything i can do to keep the beetle away, or get rid of it if it is already in my trees?

    Bookmark   May 28, 2007 at 1:24AM
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My Dad has a huge honey locust tree. A hurricane blew the fist one down,now he has 2 in its place. I've always been fascinated by this tree. The torns are in clusters and are huge. It grows lots seed pods every year. Farmer friends use to stop and ask if they could have the pods. They would feed their livestock. My daughter took one to school for music class. She also took one to class yesterday and another today to open up for all her classmates to see(kindergarten). Even the teachers had never heard of them before. Never seen another one anywhere near, we live in North Carolina. I collect them and feed our deer and all of our other wildlife. I've still got 5 to 6 wheelbarrell loads to go. There was a man that made locust beverage from them many years ago. He has pasted on now. I would love to know all the uses for these pods.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 11:20PM
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Kenroginski(New Jersey)

I'm a bit confused with the various types of Black vs Honey Locust. I have been in love with the wonder scent from the flowers for a long time and hope to plant one at my home.

First of all what are the differenced between types? I know they sell one type at the nursery but I think it will not flower. Which type would it be good to plant near a sidewalk or brick walkway? I have a fig tree about 15 feet away - do you think it will create too much shade? Any advise is appreciated. thanks in advance! Ken

    Bookmark   April 18, 2008 at 4:58PM
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I have many locust trees coming up & would like to transplant them. Is it ok to do at this time of year (late June) or do I wait for fall. Any tips on this or other procedures for success in this?

    Bookmark   June 25, 2008 at 1:27PM
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phacops(central PA)

I transplanted some locust trees over Memorial Day weekend, and they are doing fine. I usually try to wait for early spring or the fall, but when I have some sprouting in areas that I mow often I will transplant them whenever they come up. I figure that if I'm going to mow them off anyway there is no harm in trying to transplant them. I take a spade and cut the sod in a circle around the seeding; the circle is about 8-12" in diameter. This generally cuts the root from which the tree sprouted and I can then lift out the ball of soil. At the transplant location I dig a hold about the same size, so that I can just plop the ball into place. Then I trim back the seedling a bit, if it is large. Note that this is what I did over Memorial Day, and what I will be doing this weekend--I have about a dozen trees that have come up in the last few weeks. In the spring and fall I just chop off the seedling below ground and just use a planting bar to make an opening in the ground wherever I am going to put the tree. The ball of soil method is only used when I'm transplanting seedlings that have leafed out.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2008 at 10:00PM
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i had 4 blk locusts cut down a few months ago, and now i have shoots everywhere. i feel like mickey and the broomsticks in fantasia. any way to obliterate them without harming my dogs?

    Bookmark   July 22, 2008 at 8:41PM
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Long and interesting thread. I'd like to make one correction to the very interesting and informative post by "wbond." He cautions against using locust as a firewood. It is, in fact, an excellent firewood, perhaps the best. It has a heavy moisture content and requires up to twice as long to cure as, for example, oak. Cured, there are not the sap explosions he refers to. I've never heard about the bark being "poisonous." I don't know if this refers to the smoke, or exactly what. These trees seem to be favorites for poison ivy, but all firewood burners should know to remove these vines before burning. When the wood is cured, the bark sloughs off easily. I, and hundreds of thousands (at least) have burned it for centuries without incident. In fact, it is probably the highest BTU-value firewood of all. The only caveat would be that it's best burned in an enclosed wood stove, owing to its acrid smoke...

    Bookmark   February 15, 2009 at 7:46PM
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I bought 2 little black locust trees in May and they have been doing great until the last coupla weeks when I noticed a lot of the leaves started turning yellow in the middle. I am watering them every day because we are in a drought here in Texas and the temps are so hot. Am I watering them too much? How often should I water? What else could be the matter? Thank you.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2009 at 11:51PM
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I'd like some starts please. Count me in. I have read the thread and I'll put up with the thorns if it will give me some good wood and maybe some shade. Anyone have some of the "annoying" suckers they want to send to me? I'm willing to give it a try and of course I'll pay post. Contact me at the email. I'd like to see a picture of your tree first for ID. Lets trade? I don't have much but maybe we can strike a deal.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2010 at 1:20AM
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troutwind(7a SE TN)

I've had a love/hate relationship with black Locust over the years. In my late teens I worked for a woodland weeding crew and had a black locust thorn driven so deeply into the back of my right hand it finally had to be removed surgically. The pain from the thorn was excruciating.

My little bit of locust lore is this. It was sometimes referred to as peg wood or trunnel wood. The wood was highly prized by the craftsmen who erected post and beam structures and was used as the 'tree nails' which were driven into the boreholes to pull the joints tight connecting two beams of wood.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2010 at 10:52PM
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i have a ton of suckers, ill have to take a pic of them and let you have a look. they are very invasive and are driving me crazy!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 11:14AM
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Found this thread while researching locust for firewood. It may be of interest to those trying to rid yourself of locust trees that I killed three on my property by over-watering. I really wasn't trying to, they were part of three year old professional landscaping and had been put in to provide shade. They were a thornless Honey Locust. There was a slight depression running through the yard where they were planted, not even noticable until we watered. Then the water stood on the roots of the trees until we watered again. They died! The nursery told us they don't like wet feet. So perhaps over-watering may be an easy way to rid yourself of Honey Locust.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2010 at 3:02PM
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This information on black locusts is all very interesting. And I am one that appreciates the trees...EXCEPT, I would like to know what all I can plant under them. It seems as if they suck all the moisture up and I am not having much luck finding things that companion well with them. Any suggestions??

    Bookmark   April 10, 2011 at 6:07PM
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This tree is a loathsome presence in any yard. I have two that I believe are honey locusts, both mature and both nuisances. One rains giant yellow pollen for six weeks every spring, leaving my backyard nearly useless and my gutters clogged with an oatmeal-like goo. The other dumps a few hundred pounds of Chernobyl pea pods in the fall that smell vaguely like cider gone bad and are large enough to kill the grass below them. Mowing is the only refuge from the continual suckers. My neighbors on all three sides have offspring from this Borg of trees.

Neither tree produces the fragrant blossoms other report here. Their lone
saving grace is the shade they provide.

I love the post from the guy encouraging people not to eradicate this species. The locust tree needs protection like the villain in Terminator 2.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 10:06PM
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Hi everyone, have read through most of these posts and see that people either love em or hate em! I for one think I love them. We have a large back lot that is surrounded by a mini-forest several feet wide. The back is edged by a creek/city drainage ditch (I think it was originally just a creek based upon the way it looks and meanders). In the trees that are full grown I have noticed a couple of beautiful trees that I decided to id this morning, hoping to find some sprouts or buy one at a nursery and plant in the backyard (which is huge and completely treeless other than the edge). Its a locust tree, but I'm not sure if its honey or black and I didn't notice any thorns (but I didn't know to look for them either when I was out there), but it does have those ugly pods in the fall (didn't realize it was the same tree!) and I'm not sure if it had blooms or not. The area I wish to plant it would be in the center of a very sunny and very dry backyard that will have nothing but grass underneath and will be mowed on a regular basis (just like the rest of the yard). I think this tree would be ideal based upon what I have read from everyone. The fact that nothing but grass will grow around it (although there is quite alot of other stuff growing around the full grown ones in the "forest"), the fact that grass will indeed grow around it due to its airiness, its an area that will be regularly mowed so that should prevent the invasive aspect, the lifespan of it, and the fact that its a native tree to my location. (SW MO) What are your thoughts?

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 11:32AM
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I am going to plant a honey locust tree 5' from my water line in front of my house.Is the roots system going to give me any problem with my water line (city water)?

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 12:35AM
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We have tons of black locust trees. This has been an interesting read. We had no problems with shoots until we had to take down 6 trees to build our new house. now they are everywhere! ours tend to not be as healthy since we have trouble with tent worms. I love them smell when they bloom. Ours have only bloomed twice in the last seven years (Michigan, on the west side) But I do want to get them under control, since they are weaving though our fence and parts of them are toxic to our goats. I've been stunned at just how long some of the runners are when I pull the babies out of the ground! a 2 in shoot above ground and 2 yards under! I will say if you are going to dig them up - I refuse to use chemicals on my land - be sure you won't break off the tip, you will just have a much hardier root replace it.
I will take the furniture wood info under advisement and let some of the trees grow in where they won't kill my fence or my goats. I'd love to get back into furniture making, a first need would be a picnic table, and it sounds like the locust would be very hardy and not rot.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2011 at 11:19AM
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I have several locust trees around my house. They are taller than my 2 story house. I have no idea how old they are, but I do know the house was moved here 50 yrs ago. So I guess they are close to that. What I am wondering is if there is something that can be sprayed on them to control the seed pod production? I like the trees, mine have no thorns. But really hate the seed pods. They are very dangerous when I mow over them. I would like to keep the trees. Also very tired of all of the babies from missed seeds showing up in flowerbeds. Any help would be appreciated.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2011 at 11:10PM
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Karen, I have two mature locusts more or less side by side, one that dumps those horrid pea pods in the fall and one that rains (and I mean pours) huge globs of pollen for four solid weeks in the spring. Male and female? I don't know, but both are thoroughly detestable. Great shade in the 8 weeks between the pollen and pods, but that's the lone benefit.

The babies you are seeing are probably suckers from the roots, although I wonder now if the pod version of this tree produces suckers or if the pollen version does it. The quantity is truly mind bending. I mowed my lawn this evening and counted about 25 of the damned things that had popped up in the last week and would probably all form mature trees if left unchecked. Only the Alien, the Borg, and Mormons reproduce with such fervor.

To my knowledge you can do nothing to stop the suckers, including killing the damned trees. Suckers just come up faster from the roots. (Humans are still searching for the key to immortality. Locusts have found it.) I would assume the pods would go away with the tree that produces them but it sounds like you're not that frustrated. Very few of the posts in this chain talk about the pollen or the pea pods so our varietals may be unusual. Lucky us!

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 11:15PM
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Can small trees be transplanted in the summer?

    Bookmark   August 13, 2011 at 7:09PM
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plant in fall or spring when dormant.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2011 at 11:20AM
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Can a four-foot locust be transplanted directly during the summer?

    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 6:15PM
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This thread has more lives than a cat,lol.My ? is, if the thorns on the black locust trunk are removed, will they grow back??????Thinking of planting some for shade but don't want the thorns harming the grand kids... thanks eb

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 12:47PM
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Please don't try growing this tree. I have one which I'm about to cut down because it has caused me too many problems. First it does make suckers all over the lawn and into the flower beds, or anywhere within about 40ft so far. It invaded my neighbor's yard. They had some evergreen bushes or shrubs that had to be cut down because they were invaded by my tree which was over 30ft away. It has even pushed a few shoots up, cracking my driveway.

It also tears up the ground with more roots than any tree that I've seen in 360 degrees, and they grow very deep to so barriers won't stop it. Severing the roots will only cause them to replace them. It is truly like a hydra where it just keeps on producing new shoots all through the summer. If the lawn is not cut for a few weeks, some of these shoots can grow a few feet tall. It's tiny leaves really don't provide much shade.

I'm hoping that the roots don't start destroying the foundation of the house so this tree has to go soon. I grow hundreds of different kinds of plants, and I've never seen anything in the ball park of how invasive this tree is. It's much easier to grow a fruit tree, japanese maple, flowering tree, or any kind of tree that stays in one place.

I have linked my gardening blog which has many alternatives to this tree as it is definitely something nobody should have to put up with.

Here is a link that might be useful: My gardening blog

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 5:02AM
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Long interesting informative thread.

Will american filbert grow near black locust? I would like to plant some american filbert in the spring but I have about 10 black locust trees in the area I would like to plant the american filbert and I don't want to waste the money if the already established trees will kill the new bushes.


    Bookmark   November 25, 2012 at 2:53PM
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I have had good success with this method of controlling invasive locust trees. Dig a hole at least 48 inches deep. Take an old plastic or metal trash can ($8 at any big box garden store new) and cut out the bottom or if you want the tree to grow slower, put a small hole in the bottom and drill lots of one inch holes in the sides 24-30 inches down from the top of the trash can. Water your dug hole thoroughly and allow to drain. Put your trash can in your 48" hole (or what ever size you dug, just cut the trash can to fit in height) and put your tree inside the trash can to just below ground level and slightly below trash can top level. Depending on where you live, put your drip mist system tubing all the way to the bottom of the trash can. Back fill with dirt around the trash can and in the trash can. Water just enough to wet all the back fill. Water sparingly but consistently through out the life of the tree. The trash can directs the roots downward 4 feet to the water source. The water source consistently wets the soil below the roots so the roots are drawn as far down as possible. Yes, you will still have some small surface suckers but those are easy to cut and control with "Sucker Stop". I live on the eastern side of the Sierras with dry conditions and very cold winters and this tree takes anything you can throw at it. Plant 20' apart and you will have a Serenghetti type of tree that provides dappled shade which is great for starting fruit trees in containers or shading dog runs or even putting in horse pastures. The leaves and pods are edible by live stock. Any suckers I get I just cut at the base put rooting hormone on them and give them away to my neighbors with the proper warnings and growing suggestions. The wood is very very hard, ranches around here have barbed wire fence posts 200 years old of locust or what is called iron wood in these parts. The limbs you prune, if relatively straight, make great canes for your elderly friends and the wood is beautifully marked and easy to sand and stain. There: we just made lemonade. LOL.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 3:36PM
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I have a very well established Purple Robe Locust Tree. I have lost a few branches due to some powerful wind storms. The tree is getting 'Very' tall and when it is in bloom it isn't real full of flowers. I would like to prune it down a little in height and make it fuller. I am thinking doing so will promote a wider and fuller tree with more blooms. It is early Dec 2013 and I usually prune fruit trees in the fall. Can I prune the robe locust now? Will pruning in down from the top and a little at the end of the branches be okay and give me my desired results? Thank you.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2013 at 1:23PM
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I have a very well established Purple Robe Locust Tree. I have lost a few branches due to some powerful wind storms. The tree is getting 'Very' tall and when it is in bloom it isn't real full of flowers. I would like to prune it down a little in height and make it fuller. I am thinking doing so will promote a wider and fuller tree with more blooms. It is early Dec 2013 and I usually prune fruit trees in the fall. Can I prune the robe locust now? Will pruning in down from the top and a little at the end of the branches be okay and give me my desired results? Thank you.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2013 at 1:24PM
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I have a very well established Purple Robe Locust Tree. I have lost a few branches due to some powerful wind storms. The tree is getting 'Very' tall and when it is in bloom it isn't real full of flowers. I would like to prune it down a little in height and make it fuller. I am thinking doing so will promote a wider and fuller tree with more blooms. It is early fall (Nov 2013) and I usually prune fruit trees in the fall. Can I prune the robe locust now? Will pruning in down from the top and a little at the end of the branches be okay and give me my desired results? Thank you.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2013 at 1:27PM
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I have a very well established Purple Robe Locust Tree. I have lost a few branches due to some powerful wind storms. The tree is getting 'Very' tall and when it is in bloom it isn't real full of flowers. I would like to prune it down a little in height and make it fuller. I am thinking doing so will promote a wider and fuller tree with more blooms. It is early fall (Nov 2013) and I usually prune fruit trees in the fall. Can I prune the robe locust now? Will pruning in down from the top and a little at the end of the branches be okay and give me my desired results? Thank you.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2013 at 1:28PM
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Wow, what a thread! "wbond" could have made every point he made in ONE paragraph. Purple robe is completely different than Black locust or Honey locust. Purple has the prettiest and best smelling flowers but breaks very easily in high wind areas. I have about 27 black locusts around my 40 acres. I live in a very alkaline soil area, with high summer temps. So anywhere I can get a small amount of water to them, I transplant them. If you want them for more than fence posts or dappled shade you have to train them as they are often multi-trunked. Low branches are problematic with the thorns so trimming is a must. I have found THAT is when they start to sucker, as well as if you have a very dry, hot summer for two years in a row, they will sucker then too. They need little moisture here. Ten-15 gallons a week is plenty. Perfect for desert areas and much better than mature willows or cottonwoods of any species, as to gain maturity for those costs you 150-350 gallons of water...per DAY. That's how they drained the wetlands around here. But then a 30-50 foot dead willow or cottonwood is great habitat for raptors, which eat the plagues of mice, rabbits and squirrels we have in these parts. I planted them around my yard and have had minimal problems. I cut the suckers or transplant the sprouts and sell them at the farmers markets with the proper admonitions. Lemons to lemonade.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 3:24AM
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Agreed! That guy was really on a tear! And the use of "tree-hugging hippies" was only appropriate the first ten times....after that, he got redundant! What a nut job.

Too bad this thread is about two distinctly different trees, with different issues. The honey locust-Gleditsia triacanthos- and its more usually seen variety, inermis, meaning without thorns, is a widely-used street, yard, and parking lot tree, useful to such a degree that by now, it's probably been overplanted.

Black locust-Robinia pseudoacacia-is indeed a serious invasive species across the north, where it has been expanding its range-with the help of humankind-for decades now. That goof way up above that likes this tree so much does a pretty good job of listing all the reasons it's a bad choice for anywhere it's not actually native. If I had any up in my woods......well, I wouldn't have them. My chainsaw would. Extremely damaging to the plant communities into which it invades, I'd recommend extreme caution with this one. Meanwhile, the honeylocust is equally overabundant in suburbia, where it is regularly defoliated by leafhoppers and plant bugs, commonly disfigured by nectria canker, often has no discernible central leader, yet still goes on to grow rapidly. I do see nice ones, but mostly, I just see too many!


    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 8:17AM
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