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Black Locust- Fast growing tree for rot resistant timber, beautiful flowers, and natural trellis!

 
master steward
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Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
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This fast growing tree has grown over 7 feet tall (2 meters) its first year!

It should be great for rot resistant timber, natural trellises for grapes and other vines, beautiful flowers for both humans and bees, and also added plant diversity in the food forest.

I made this video of it in early spring this year.

I'm going to be propagating a lot more of this wonderful tree in the food forest!

 
Posts: 546
Location: Richwood, West Virginia
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Would you prefer to cultivate a Thornless Black Locust if you could get ahold of it?
 
Steve Thorn
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I actually think I like it having thorns.

The thorns seem to actually help discourage browsing from critters, but they're small and not grabbing like blackberries, so they aren't a problem.
 
Steve Thorn
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I really like how the new growth looks on a black locust.
20200624_201204.jpg
New growth on Black locust
New growth on Black locust
 
Steve Thorn
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I always imagined black locust would make a good natural living trellis. It was neat finding this wild muscadine growing up this wild black locust, both of which looked healthy and happy.
20200801_191705.jpg
Wild black locust and muscadine
Wild black locust and muscadine
 
pollinator
Posts: 375
Location: Appalachian Foothills-Zone 7
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A few years ago, I dug suckers off of the sole black locust on my property.  I have several pushing 20+ feet now.  They are pushinging up their own suckers now.  They are the first thing the goats and sheep go for when I move them.
 
Steve Thorn
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My black locust hardwood cuttings started to leaf out last week, hope they make it!

I took these cuttings in mid January, and I think I watered them once with willow water pretty soon after they were planted.
20210320_160843.jpg
Black locust hardwood cutting leafing out
Black locust hardwood cutting leafing out
 
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Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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I had a locust show up in my front yard and I let it grow, knowing the wife wouldn't want it there.
I told her I would cut it down, but I waited too long and she sent my youngest out with Bella (his hatchet).
I was bemused but very proud of him.
I was able to salvage all the branches, hopefully they will take root.
 
Steve Thorn
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The black locust hardwood cuttings seem to be coming along nicely so far. These photos were from about a week ago, and are also about a week since the photos above.
20210326_083400.jpg
Black locust hardwood cuttings
Black locust hardwood cuttings
20210326_083430.jpg
Black locust hardwood cuttings
20210326_083340.jpg
Black locust hardwood cuttings
 
pollinator
Posts: 171
Location: Zone 7a, 42", Fairfax VA Piedmont (clay, acidic, shady)
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I didn't know you could plant Black Locust by cuttings!  Just pruned a bunch of mine with chop/drop; will have to try to plant the cuttings next year with rooting hormone.  I'd probably try mine later than January, though I'm glad that looks to be working well for you.  I also am trying to propagate Autumn Olive by cuttings this year; will see how that goes.
 
Steve Thorn
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Interested to hear how the autumn olive works for you, I'm hoping to try some next year.
 
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Location: Chipley, FL
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I have about 15 black locusts in pots from seed.  Waiting for them to develop a bit more before I plant them out.  I have four I got as bare root last year that are all leafed out again.  Deer cleaned one off and stunted it a bit last year, but it's fine now.  Just shorter than the others that are in the 6-9' range.

Thorns? Yeah.  I grew up with REAL thorns so black locusts are kinda tame

I haven't tried doing hardwood cuttings so far, but could soon.  Did put in ten or so willows from cuttings.  They are so easy it's no fun.  Hoping they will penetrate some compaction from cement trucks just off my back porch.  Once they grow a year or so I'll chop down some.  Probably let at least one survive, but try to keep it pruned to a smallish size.
 
Josh Garbo
pollinator
Posts: 171
Location: Zone 7a, 42", Fairfax VA Piedmont (clay, acidic, shady)
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Not sure if my timing with Autumn Olive was ideal - if it doesn't work, I will try again next spring just before the plants starts leafing out, so maybe mid-March.  Also will try to collect more seeds from local bushes here and maybe buy some at Sheffields.  I've noticed the birds plants quite a few around here.  And it seems like the Autumn Olive do better in my poor soils than the Black Locust; may be an ideal N-fixer for clay, acidic, poor former closed-canopy wooded areas I'm trying to convert into savannahs.
 
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Location: Ladakh, Indian Himalayas at 10,500 feet, zone 5
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I don't know about autumn olive, but russian olive, which is the same genus, is as easy as willows to grow from cuttings, in my experience. Here we do cuttings at least 5 feet tall above ground, so that grazing animals don't eat up the emerging leaves. I think 1.5 to 2 feet underground and 5 feet above ground, for any branch from 2 inches diameter on up, will be almost surely successful. Of course you have to water it initially, and regularly the first season till it gets roots.
 
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I could dig up black locust from roadways around here. But I'm reluctant to do so as it can be a very invasive pest. I know someone down the road who regrets introducing it to his property. And he's a butterfly gardener (actually an entomologist).
 
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Black locust flowers taste like sugar snap peas. I made black locust flowers, garlic scapes, scrambled eggs this year. I have 3 black locust trees that are about 4 years old. One was still only about 8 feet tall cause it was damaged by deer and a couple of droughts. My tallest one is over 15 feet tall. One of my acres was lent to a grass grower to grow annual rye grass by the previous owner of the property and was like a desert. I now have 3 black locusts, 1 big foot maple, a couple of evergreens, and some 3 year old and some 2 year old trees. The rest is pretty much annual rye grass that I allow it to self seed and a ton of crazy weeds. Some gophers are digging around like crazy eating all the crazy false dandelions. My goal is to replace everything with trees first. And it will be a 10 year project cause I can't water the entire 1 acre by hand during the hot dry summer.
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[Thumbnail for IMG_20210518_210643385.jpg]
 
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Location: Northern Illinois
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Betty Miley wrote:I could dig up black locust from roadways around here. But I'm reluctant to do so as it can be a very invasive pest. I know someone down the road who regrets introducing it to his property. And he's a butterfly gardener (actually an entomologist).



Yeah we planted a row along the driveway about 5 years ago and they are impressively tall, but the yard is full of tiny little saplings now. Even on the other side of the driveway!
 
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