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All things Black Locust

 
Posts: 76
Location: Seboeis Plantation, ME
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I ordinarily sell lots of black locust seedlings.  This is the last year I will have them.  My state has banned them starting next year.  Maine is such a large state with significant differences in growing zones from south to north.  I wish they had excluded the northern parts of the state,at least.  If anyone is interested.  In bundles of ten, they are pretty inexpensive. https://jiovi.com/collections/plants-for-permaculture-gardens-all/products/black-locust-robinia-pseudoacacia?variant=13796421315
 
pollinator
Posts: 304
Location: NE Slovenia, zone 6b
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Hey,

I'm looking for some practical help regarding growing black locust from seed. Actually mine is R. neomexicana but I would say that's close enough

The thing is that I managed to germinate quite some seed using the near-boliing water + soaking treatment. I put the sprouted seed into large pots and what with all the springtime moving between various locations one of the pots got forgotten in a dark place. The little trees did grow but became badly stretched; let's say 4 inches from soil level to the first leaves, very thin, can hardly support their own weight.

My question: is it OK to plant them deeply, burying them almost to the leaves (like one would do with a tomato for example) or is that a bad idea for the robinia family?

THANK YOU.

(Another one of the pots managed to be outdoors when a late frost came. It actually took that in stride and is in good shape. I was amazed because I've often seen the damage late frosts do to grown black locust trees. Good job little guys.)
 
pollinator
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Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
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tel jetson wrote:after reading Ben Law's The Woodland Way, I decided to try out a traditional forestry practice called "shredding".  I'm not very familiar with this practice, but it involves removing the branches, leaves, and tops of living trees toward the end of summer.  the leaves still have plenty of protein in them at this point and, depending on species, make good food for critters.

so, having previously read about trials of black locust hay, I tried this out on a small stand of black locust this weekend.  I left the branches laying in the sun for a day, then cut the leaves off and piled them in the hay loft.  our goats love the dried leaves.  I'm hoping that I gathered enough to get them through the winter without buying in hay.

it was a lot of work, but I think it will be easier next year, as the branches that grow back will be smaller.  after a few years of this, I'll start harvesting the stout poles that will result.  I'll use them for round wood building and firewood.  new stems will sprout from roots and the whole thing should keep humming along indefinitely.



This shredding exercise is a very interesting concept when you consider that if forces the tree to self prune its root system. In a Nitrogen fixing tree, this means subsurface Nitrogen release. It's like extreme chop and drop.
 
Posts: 69
Location: Zone 4B, Maine, USA
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Hello All,

I've been searching on this and have not yet found an answer.

I'm reading some old USDA guides on growing black locust. They claim that black locusts growing in soils with a dearth of the right rhizobial species (i.e. suppressed root nodule formation) were much more susceptible to the locust borer and it's damage.

I'm planting black locust started from seed as nursery trees in an apple orchard I'm starting this year. The closest black locust I've seen is about three miles away. I can find zero information on which species of rhizobia play nice with black locust and no one sells a "black locust inoculant."

Whatever those species of rhizobia are, I doubt they're flourishing where I'm planting because nothing is flourishing there, not even the weeds :) Who knows if there's ever been any black locust on the land. The only one I know of (three miles away) is there because someone intentionally planted it.

Does anyone have any experience with this? I'd love to give my trees the best chance against the borers I can because the borer is here, but wheel bugs are not.
 
gardener
Posts: 1534
Location: Maine, zone 5
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Tom DeCoste wrote:I ordinarily sell lots of black locust seedlings.  This is the last year I will have them.  My state has banned them starting next year.  Maine is such a large state with significant differences in growing zones from south to north.  I wish they had excluded the northern parts of the state,at least.  If anyone is interested.  In bundles of ten, they are pretty inexpensive. https://jiovi.com/collections/plants-for-permaculture-gardens-all/products/black-locust-robinia-pseudoacacia?variant=13796421315



Tom, this ban really, really does stink.  Down here in southern Maine black locust has fully naturalized.  When you consider that we're just outside of it's native range and with climate change there's no way it wouldn't have spread here naturally anyway (and that some of our native tree species are starting to perform less well here and will need to move north) then you really have to question the logic.  It seems to mostly be emotionally driven by ideas of how things are "supposed to be".  Big question is, how the heck do you fight unreasonable bans like this?  These plants that were banned have now spread to the point where people spreading them has nothing to do with how they disperse.  Nature is spreading then at rates orders of magnitude greater.  I can't buy a black locust or an autumn olive even though they are all around me and literally billions of their seeds are being dispersed every year.   Anyone have any ideas on how to eliminate ineffective bans like this?
 
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I got about 6000 seeds in mail a few months ago. how close can I plant Black Locust trees together when planting into a new swale?? I do plan on chop an drop and copice them later. are there any issues with planting them closely together in a swale. I don't have money to buy other the many different variety of trees at this time, but I want to get something in the ground.
 
Bobby Reynolds
Posts: 69
Location: Zone 4B, Maine, USA
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Martin Bernal wrote:I got about 6000 seeds in mail a few months ago. how close can I plant Black Locust trees together when planting into a new swale?? I do plan on chop an drop and copice them later. are there any issues with planting them closely together in a swale. I don't have money to buy other the many different variety of trees at this time, but I want to get something in the ground.



I've found various guidelines online. These have been the most helpful website write-ups:
https://www.treeplantation.com/black-locust.html

http://www.twisted-tree.net/black-locust/
 


Here's a great, old USDA write up on the matter by a fellow named William Mattoon:
https://archive.org/details/CAT87204001

I actually had to capture the text out of that and turn it into a PDF to make it more user friendly. But lots of good info in there!

I'm planting mine 50 feet apart, but that's because they are nursery trees for standard apples(basically everything spaced at 25 feet apart).

One recommendation in the above material for a tree farm is 800 trees per acre (~15 foot tree spacing) then logged to 50% density at ten years (400 trees per acre, ~ 30 ft spacing), then the whole crop is harvested at 20 years.

In Fukuoka's "The Way of Natural Farming" he recommended planting Australian black wattles (I consider the black locust roughly equivalent to his use of acacia) along streams/swails/irrigation channels, about every 60 feet. This was because of the black wattles' extensive root system (which can reach 60 ft in diameter for a tree that's only 30 ft tall - and that is achieved in only five years!). I have no idea if the black locust root system is at all analogous with the black wattles' root system.  

Hope some of that helps!
 
Posts: 122
Location: Eastern Ontario
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Is there a thornless variety of black locust?

I coppice my BL for fuel wood.  The thorns are a real PIA.  If we could breed a thornless variety it would make a great tree even better.
 
gardener
Posts: 3047
Location: latitude 47 N.W. montana zone 6A
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Last spring I bought 3 bare root black locust shoots. Dreaming of fence posts and RMH wood.
I planted them in gallon pots on the porch for the summer.  One thrived , one lived and the third didn't make it.
At the end of the summer I planted them in their new location.  All I had on hand to protect them was some rabbit wire... with the thorns and my valiant golden retriever, I hoped the deer would stay away.  Alas... the dog was off some where, no doubt with one or two tennis balls in her mouth , the thorns merely showed the doe where the next bite was....  before the snow buried them they were bare stalks with thorns !
While reading this wonderful collection of wisdom on permies this winter (and thinking I would need new locust starts in the spring ) I came across a photo/video of a young BL stalk in with the goats. Totally bare stalk. Apparently not a problem. I had hope that if a black locust sprout could survive and thrive in a goat pen then no silly white tail doe should be able to  permanently hurt one.
Here they are this May.  Other than the very top of each shoot they are growing like crazy!  Take that momma deer!
DSCN0291.JPG
[Thumbnail for DSCN0291.JPG]
Black Locust in the spring
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[Thumbnail for DSCN0290.JPG]
Black Locust in the spring
 
Posts: 308
Location: SW Missouri
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How do you guys deal with the thorns on black locust? There's so many so close together that it seems unusable for a coppice firewood for a rmh.  I planted one three years ago and it's huge now, probably close to 3 inches in diameter but tons of thorns and thorny trees popping up around it. Seems like a terrible tree.  I have quite a few honey locusts some are thorny but the thorns are spaced very far apart and easy to deal with. Most of my honey locusts are wild thornless. Seems like a much better tree.
 
steward
Posts: 30390
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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This was just posted by "Curt B." to my youtube video about black locust:

I have a 15 acre Farmstead in the western North Carolina Mountains. When I moved in here there was a white bunch of rusted barbed wire fence on black locust posts. The previous owner of the farm said they had been in there at least 30 years. I pulled all of them out, as I was repurposing them for a 5 wire high-tensile goat fence. I don't think a single one of them was rotten, some where big and some were smaller but they were all split black locust posts. After putting a few hundred of them back in the ground and getting ready to string my wire, I realized I didn't have enough. I went back to the previous owner and he told me that he had another two or three dozen lying under the trees at the edge of the forest. I went over and sure enough were a bunch of black locust posts on the ground, and had been there since they were cut and split over 30 years ago... covered with leaves, all wet and nasty. Just about every single one of those posts was okay and I used the majority of them to finish my fence. The only time we had problems with some that were rotten was not from the wet but from ants that had gotten into some of the knot holes and stuff like that and then once they got inside the post, over dozens of years they were evidently able to start eating it from the inside out. one fellow down below commented he heard that a black locust post will wear three holes in the ground and that is absolutely true. There are some good YouTubes about how to split posts, check them out and if you have black locust you want to split them so that they are 4 to 5 in in diameter, but they sure are strong and the smaller ones are just as good.

 
pollinator
Posts: 150
Location: Western Idaho
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well look at this little guy, I just noticed this little sprout the other day. Since it's in the middle of the road I transplanted it since it would eventually just get ran over. I noticed roots going off in the direction of the nearest patch but those are probably 50 feet away, anyway, I hope the transplant was a success, I'll see next week when I make it back to the property. This is the first black locust I've seen in the middle of this access road, I've been driving on it to get to my little cabin, perhaps a compaction response? I thought it was nifty..
DSCN1138.JPG
black locust seedling
black locust seedling
Black-locust-sapling-Robinia-pseudoacacia.jpg
Black locust sapling--Robinia pseudoacacia
Black locust sapling--Robinia pseudoacacia
DSCN1140.JPG
black locust transplanted from middle of the road
black locust transplanted from middle of the road
 
Jeff Marchand
Posts: 122
Location: Eastern Ontario
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Eric, once the wood has dried the thorns fall off when brushed with a gloved hand. It makes for excellent firewood.
 
Aaron Tusmith
pollinator
Posts: 150
Location: Western Idaho
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Cant sleep, thought I would update this little locust I transplanted earlier this spring, its doing great in its new home. It struggled for a while as I was only able to make it to the property a couple days per week, but with a good much layer and some shade it settled in nicely. Looking forward to seeing it grow next season.
Transplanted-black-locust-sapling-Robinia-pseudoacacia.jpg
Transplanted black locust sapling - Robinia pseudoacacia
Transplanted black locust sapling - Robinia pseudoacacia
 
pollinator
Posts: 286
Location: Ozarks
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Our State Nursery sold them up until a couple of years ago. I wish I'd have bought some when they had them. They're considered a bit of an intrusive plant here in the Ozarks.

I was wanting them for fence posts. They do have osage orange which are also good, just not as prolific
 
steward
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John Pollard wrote:They're considered a bit of an intrusive plant here in the Ozarks.



isn't black locust native in the Ozarks?
 
Aaron Tusmith
pollinator
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This is a close-up of a batch of black locust seeds I processed this morning. They look very cool with their different sizes, colors, and patters, seeds are amazing.
Black-locust-seeds.jpg
Black locust seeds
Black locust seeds
 
pollinator
Posts: 197
Location: NE Ohio / USDA Zone 5b
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Loony K wrote:do you ever have a problem with locust borers?



We experience periodic challenges with locust borers (NE Ohio, Zone 5b) - but most of what I've seen has been in cultivated varieties such as Robinia p. 'Purple Robe'

I haven't paid close enough attention to straight species, nor do I think it would really matter much to me if what I've planted developed borer issues.
 
steward
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For the thorn issue, my experience is that once the trunk get to 2-3 inches in diameter, it has no thorns, only the branches do.

I wonder if a pair of gloves like these with metal in the leather would help.

 
paul wheaton
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Has anybody dug up a black locust that might be five years old or so?  A black locust that was started on that very spot from seed.   I'm asking because I suspect that no black locust ever has a tap root, but since it does so extremely well in dry conditions, I thought there could be a chance of it.  
 
Adrien Lapointe
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My guess is that they don’t or if they do, it develops later. When I transplanted mine a few years ago (see pic), I could see the nitrogen fixing nodules, but no evidence of a taproot. In comparison, similar size apple trees or hickories clearly have a taproot.



The other possibility is that because I grew  the seeds in a wooden box, the taproot got stunted.

I wonder if there is literature on this.

 
Rob Kaiser
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paul wheaton wrote:Has anybody dug up a black locust that might be five years old or so?  A black locust that was started on that very spot from seed.   I'm asking because I suspect that no black locust ever has a tap root, but since it does so extremely well in dry conditions, I thought there could be a chance of it.  



Dig the shit out of black locust...but try to refrain from doing so in the fall.  Spring dig works well, and they don't need many roots to thrive upon transplant.

You'll also likely see a tremendous amount of shoots growing from the remaining roots in the ground.  

General rule of thumb in the industry is 12" inches of root ball per inch of trunk caliper for a balled and burlapped plant - but you could *easily* get away with half this for a black locust.

Don't even worry about retaining soil on the roots, it's not necessary.  They'll take just fine.  I've hand dug trees up to 2" in diameter and transplanted with about 8" diameter of cut roots only.

Also, FWIW - do *not* try pulling them out with a tow strap and a tractor.  Ask me how I know, lol
 
tel jetson
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paul wheaton wrote:Has anybody dug up a black locust that might be five years old or so?  A black locust that was started on that very spot from seed.   I'm asking because I suspect that no black locust ever has a tap root, but since it does so extremely well in dry conditions, I thought there could be a chance of it.



I would guess that their root structure is a strong function of conditions.

I have dug seedlings up from a sandy/silty site that gets pretty dry in the summer. while none had one perfectly straight, downward pointing main root, they all had at least one stout root that appeared to be headed in a generally downward direction. and deep enough that it was more work than I was interested in to investigate just how far down they made it (or to remove the roots intact without a serious excavation).
 
pollinator
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The flowers smell wonderful and my honey bees are intermittently fond of them. They make a wonderful clear as water honey that does not crystallize. Unfortunately, it is considered invasive in my county [Portage County, WI.]: They are extremely prolific and can colonize any yard. Removing them is arduous work: They make many suckers. I'd love to have more in reach of my bees.
 
Posts: 484
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Nice to see some of the small black locust trees.  I wish I had some growing already here.  And honey locust for that matter.

People are concerned about toxicity.  It isn't enough to say something it toxic, it usually needs to come with an explanation and conditions.  As near as I can tell, horses find just about everything other than timothy to be toxic.  

First up - boron.  Many fungi and ants are intolerant of boron.  Just about everything else on Earth can handle some, or even a fair amount of boron.

Second up - alkaloids.  This is a class of poisons found in many plants, which is bitter.  Humans have 5 primary taste sensations: sweet, sour (acidic), salty, umami (glutamate) and bitter.  Bitter is there, because that is a defining characteristic of most alkaloids.  Many alkaloids seem to be similar to neurotransmitter chemicals, I don't know why.  Nicotine, cocaine, caffeine,  capsaicin.  I think all of those compounds are alkaloids, and humans (or at least some humans) like them.

Third up - juglones.  This is the family of chemicals from the black walnut (mostly) and its relatives (not so much) that reduces how well many other plants grow in the presence of walnut.  Black walnut is the plant with the most.  Black walnuts produce a fruit, called a nut (in particular a walnut).  I live closer to the north pole than the equator, and I am starting to grow walnuts here.  Apparently, in Vancouver (Seatte, ...) it is not unusual to find unripe black walnuts (or English walnuts) on trees at the end of the season.  And I am way further north.  Pigs may fly before I see a ripe walnut here.

The French are crazy.  Canada has French people, so I know that (joking).  Anyway, back in France, it is not unusual for people to go out collecting _GREEN_ walnuts around the summer solstice (some Saint's day, I think the important thing is near the solstice, at least for that far south/warm).  They cut the green walnuts into "quarters" (or so), and they soak it in "plonk" (cheap red wine).  Some people add herbs or spices as well, especially if they have been to that other crazy place, Italy.

The Italians are crazy.  Canada has Italians too, I played soccer against some of them.  Same time of year, they also go out collecting _GREEN_ walnuts.  They don't have plonk (and I think they drank all the grappa), so they soak the quarted walnuts (and usually spices) in neutral spirits.  Could be 70% EtOH, could be higher.  They have found that you can even eat the walnut meat after they have soaked in the neutral spirits for a while.

So, I am growing a crop that I will never see ripen (I must be crazy).  I think a person can get an approximation to plonk from the BC Okanogan.  I know I can get neutral spirits.  So, I have a crazy thing to do with a crazy crop.

None of which helps all you black locust people.

Have you heard that some people age wine, whiskey and other stuff in oak barrels.  They like to be fussy, the prefer French oak.  There are too many people fighting over too little French oak, and now the price is too high.  Some people started using American oak (does any one who drinks spirits stored in such a barrel, start to act like Donald?).  Well, I don't know that the price of American oak has gotten too high, but maybe.

There are apparently some people who decided that acacia wood is fine for making these barrels.  What is black locust?  Robinia pseudoacacia.  So yes, there are some wineries in the USA (and possibly elsewhere) that are aging wines in black locust barrels.  With so many ambulance chasers in the legal profession, if there was a hint of the toxicity that many people think is in black locust, was in those wine barrels - they would be having a field day (or a class action day).  Of course, there may be some secret process known only to the oil companies that detoxifies black locust wood.

I am not trying to say there aren't things possibly harmful in black locust.  I think mostly it hasn't been researched.  But, I think the few wineries using black locust, are pointing to some good advice.  Whatever  is in black locust, does not seem to be very soluble in either water or ethanol.  And for those that study wines, you could probably rattle off another dozen or so chemicals which you might add to the rest of the list.

----

I get frost.  This last summer was a rotten year for most people up here trying to grow stuff, no sun or heat.  The first frost of the season was a killing frost, on either Aug 8 or Aug 9.  So, on my TODO list is to build a tethered balloon with a long wave infrared camera on it, so that I can take pictures of frost flowing across the landscape at some point, and maybe put up shrubs or fences to deflect this frost.

And then I read about someone in North Carolina, who thinks that black locust might be useful for orchards.  You grow it as a canopy over the dwarf fruit trees, shielding them from the cold night sky and trapping heat next to the ground to reduce frost.  Do they get that much frost in North Carolina?

I am going to try and grow a tall windbreak.  The leeward half of the windbreak will be predominantly locust trees, so that I can grow pasture under the trees.  I think my upper pasture is about 22 acres, with  a corner that I can't use at the moment as it is too steep and a completely different slope.  The narrow dimension of the farm is parallel to the prevailing wind direction, so my thinking is that a tall windbreak will shield all the rest of my farm that is downwind.  The leeward half of that windbreak, should be about 4 acres (about 20% of the upper pasture).  Being able to make it part of the pasture (or most of it, I want to have some black walnuts in that leeward half as well) is important.

But, if I plan where to put the black walnuts, and then plant locust every 4 feet (like Cornell does with some of their sheep property) every else, and selectively prune, coppice and pollard the locusts, I should be able to grow enough fence posts, corner posts and gate posts to serve my needs.  It would be nice if I could get some double 2x6 16 foot rough boards out of locust to use for fence boards from this as well.  I have a bit more than 800 such 2x6 on my fence now, as standard SPF (Spruce/Pine/Fir).  I think full dimension locust would last much longer than commercial SPF.
 
Gordon Haverland
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Something tickled my brain about frost protection in orchards: radiative heat transfer shields.

If we have 2 surfaces coupled via radiative heat transfer that have specified emissivities; a certain amount of heat transfer takes place.  The amount of heat transfer is proportional to the difference in the 4th power of the absolute temperatures of those 2 surfaces.  I think the night sky here is assumed to be -80C, and possibly in North Carolina it might be -60C.  And perhaps the ground temperature in North Caolina is about 5C warmer.  Anyway, the driving force for heat transfer (that difference in T^4) works out to be about the same.

But, if the ground and the night sky had the same emissivity and we were to insert a shield between the 2 that had the same emissivity on both sides), we would find the heat transfer would drop to about one half that of no heat shield.  If there were 9 layers in between, the heat transfer would drop to about one tenth that of no shields.

Tree leaves are not layers, I think the emiisivity of the night sky can be very close to 1, I don't know what it is for the forest floor or tree leaves (and tree leaves could be different top and bottom).  But, there may be many layers of leaves between the ground (or vulnerable fruit on a dwarf fruit tree) and the night sky.  So, a person might see a significant drop in heat transfer by growing something like a locust as an overstory to an orchard.

I think the overstory also acts to reduce the rate of water loss by the fruit trees.

So, there might be a bunch of good things about using locust in an orchard.
 
Gordon Haverland
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Osage orange was also mentioned in this thread I believe.  It is a terrible pity that Osage orange is not a legume and fixing nitrogen.

Osage orange has thorns, as does black locust.  And then if honey locust has thorns, it can have thorns on thorns (twice) and thorns on thorns on thorns (3 times).  Maybe it can bifurcate further?  Some reading has suggested that the thorned honey locust could have been preferable to Osage orange as "hedge" on the Great Plains before barbed wire.  There are too many readings which suggest that farmers were to work their hedges like the English do.  I can't see that in a million years.  I believe some farmers did work those hedges in the English manner, but I don't think many farmers did this for long.  But whether it was done for a little while, or not at all; at some point the hedges got out of control.

And so there was mention of hedges being cut down.  And possibly a new hedge grew out of the now coppiced trees.  And the farmer cutting down the hedge, could get 2000 or more fence posts per mile of hedge.  Typically in coppicing it seems you get multiple sprouts per stump, the new hedge could quickly grow to a huge number of stems per mile.  I imagine there is some process which makes most non-viable and hence they self-prune.  These woods are not easy to cut, and you do need sharp tools to cut them.

If what you want is a 5, 6 or even 8 foot tall hedge; I believe you need all those thorns to keep animals (for me, mostly of the deer family) from eating the hedge.  The thorns seem to be mostly situated to make eating leaves painful to the herbivore.

But, all of these plants are adapted to herbivores no longer here, such as the mastodon.  So the thorn spacing is likely too far apart.  Which is something you should be selecting for in terms of which plants to let grow and which to coppice.

Most of the prescriptions I've read on Great Plains "hedge" is for a 5 foot hedge.  Which is basically what the replacement barbed wire fence is; 5 foot tall.  Just  like train tracks having a width that ultimately depends on the width of a horse's ass, farm fences revolve around how high a fence needs to be to keep cattle in (or out).

Most of my concerns revolve around deer.  The Internet is USA centric, and if some article doesn't specify a kind of deer; I believe it is white tail deer.  White tail can jump an 8 foot fence, but apparently the fence height which maximizes their chance of getting hurt in jumping the fence is 6 feet.  A white tail deer can eat plants to heights exceeding 6 feet, but I am not sure that it reaches 8 feet (so, they can jump higher than they can eat).

Mule deer can jump significantly higher than white tail deer.  They are a little bigger than a white tail, so can eat slightly higher.  So a hedge to keep out mule deer needs to be significantly taller than 8 foot, and 8 foot is probably as high as they could eat.  So, there is an apparent need in thorn management that changes at about 8 foot.  We don't have any herbivores who can eat plants above 8 foot off the ground (short of goats climbing trees to eat the leaves), so thorns above that level mostly end up being a hazard to humans and are not involved as a deterrent to animals.  It would be nice if there was a robot who could prune those thorns off.

Pruning off thorns is a relatively simple task.  But it does lead into the more general problem of pruning trees.

Branches on trees are seen as knots in wood.  In so far as thorns are branches, they too should be seen as knots.  But are thorns in wood referred to in other ways?
 
Cécile Stelzer Johnson
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tel jetson wrote:

John Pollard wrote:They're considered a bit of an intrusive plant here in the Ozarks.



isn't black locust native in the Ozarks?




I would suspect it is since Robinia Pseudoacacia grows without anyone's help here, in very sandy Central Wisconsin [zone 4]. It grows without effort at all and because it suckers profusely, it is extremely difficult to get rid of it once it takes hold. Mowing the seedlings to the ground does not help, [/u]on the contrary.[/u] (Think Hydra) Not sure if it is because my soil is sandy, but any injury to a stem seems to create more stems. An injury to the roots [by attempting to uproot them] does the same thing. You end up with a matted mess of roots. Continuous mowing might work, or perhaps it you want to have a hedge. Trim it tight before pods have a chance to mature though, and pick up all the trimmings!
The best removal technique used around here is RoundUp or Groundclear. But who wants to put that near a house or in the environment?! Another technique to slow down the invasion is cutting the flowers before they make seeds or harvest the pods before they ripen. If I could be sure that my chickens will eat every seed, I might toss it in their feed outside: Toss the entire green pod for more nutrition.
If you have a bad neighbor, like a CAFO, you might sneak some seeds on their property via a drone. Not nice, not neighborly and I did a strike through because it is probably illegal. Another problem is that if they are upwind of you, these seeds will eventually come right back to you.
 
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I have mine in two sections growing on a very marginal section of land (steep hill by driveway, compacted/gravel soil).  Mowing should keep them under control, along with heavy shade by the forest border.  I also am putting some into very poor rocky/clay subsoil that I want to transform into something more productive.  My understanding is that mowing and inter-planting with other trees will keep them under control.  Mowing will kill off shoots that pop up where they're not supposed to, and should compel root die-off/put nitrogen into soil.  I'm also trying to build a rough BL hedge in spots, which I hope to keep at around 8 feet high with a hedge trimmer; willl keep inter-planting trees and hope to get good density (will not be for livestock control, just privacy).
 
tel jetson
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I've got quite a few. they sucker and there are some seedlings, but they aren't too much of a hassle. the patch of plum seedlings and suckers I've got is a lot more trouble.

I'm glad I've got both the plums and black locust, though. they're adding a lot of biomass to the really sandy soil they're growing in. once I find some time, I'm also hoping to regularly cut most of them down. I'll buck up the bigger stems for firewood and building material. the smaller stuff I'm hoping to use to make some char to help hold some nutrients in the dirt (like a lot of soil in the rainy northwest, it's deficient in roughly everything but phosphorus). and the leaves can go in the hayloft for winter critter food.

which reminds me: goats would probably be a decent biological control if black locust suckers and seedlings start getting out of hand. one place there aren't any little locusts is in the long-term goat paddock. there are three big trees, but no seedlings or root suckers. there are poultry in there, too, and so I guess there's also a chance they're eating the seeds.
 
Cécile Stelzer Johnson
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tel jetson wrote:I've got quite a few. they sucker and there are some seedlings, but they aren't too much of a hassle. the patch of plum seedlings and suckers I've got is a lot more trouble.

I'm glad I've got both the plums and black locust, though. they're adding a lot of biomass to the really sandy soil they're growing in. once I find some time, I'm also hoping to regularly cut most of them down. I'll buck up the bigger stems for firewood and building material. the smaller stuff I'm hoping to use to make some char to help hold some nutrients in the dirt (like a lot of soil in the rainy northwest, it's deficient in roughly everything but phosphorus). and the leaves can go in the hayloft for winter critter food.

which reminds me: goats would probably be a decent biological control if black locust suckers and seedlings start getting out of hand. one place there aren't any little locusts is in the long-term goat paddock. there are three big trees, but no seedlings or root suckers. there are poultry in there, too, and so I guess there's also a chance they're eating the seeds.



Well thought out plan: Goats are notorious for eating everything vegetal, even thistles. You might want to wait until the black locust is too big for them to kill, just in case, but they will keep it trimmed! Depending on the type of goat and how big the black locusts get, they will climb the tree. I'm happy to hear that chickens will eat the seed. They might even take the green pods for more forage. [chopped?] I have been dreaming of adding black locust for by bees who love the nectar/ pollen but knowing how invasive it is here, I was hesitant. To save myself some work, I try to keep the chicken food in their yard, or at least close enough for them to harvest themselves. I have a number of fruit trees, like a dozen in there: Apple, cherry, plums, nuts. They get shade, and in the fall, they will get all the damaged fruit, once these start bearing and I suspect some insects too.
 
Gordon Haverland
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Generic comment.

That something is "native" to a region, will not prevent some people from saying it is invasive.

-----

Being native, by definition requires the climate to be constant.  If the climate is changing, the change in climate will introduce opportunities for other things to grow.  As far as I know, the crow spreads seeds the furthest at about 50 miles (80km).  Normally, all you need is one (seed) to make a tree.  To make an "invasion", you (probably) need at least 2 seeds.  Okay, let's have a crow carry a pod 50 miles.  More than 1 seed (on average).

I live in a place where over the last 10,000 (or so) years (since the last Ice Age), the climate has NOT been constant.  And yet, everybody and their dog talks about "native" species.

The problem here, is the distance to get (crows to carry) species here.  To carry seed across a 50 mile gap is a 1 year problem.  To carry seeds across a bigger gap, the seeds get carried the first 50 miles and "planted".  Now they need to grow to the point where they have fruit, and now that fruit can get carried another 50 miles.

This greatly decreases the 50 miles per year spreading rate.  Maybe some other mechanism (other than us silly humans) provides a better rate?


Humans like to plant things, and by and large the government lets us (unless it declares something to be invasive, even if it isn't).  Germany is fighting a problem with black cherry.  No native to Europe (let alone Germany).

I think lots of house holds within a few hundred miles of where I live, have black cherry trees.  And some may produce fertile seed (in cherries) eaten by birds (like crows?) and carried 50 miles (well, if the fruit is eaten I doubt the bird would wait 50 miles to defecate).  But in climate warming, we could easily see huge increases in the number of black cherry seedlings in the forest soon.  At the present time, I think the only way this could be discovered is by surveying the forest floor.  It can't show up on a airplane or satellite image.  It will take some time before the black cherry seedlings get enough energy stored to attempt to "capture" an opening in the canopy.  Having one black cherry "capture" the canopy probably isn't sufficient; you probably need 2 (that are close enough).   Then we can have a new series of seeds planted another 50 miles away.  But at the first location, we could have hundreds of thousands of black cherry seedlings (or sprouts from roots)  setting up.  All waiting for canopy openings.

Unless one is monitoring all of the forest every year; I think it is very easy for a situation to develop where the forest "suddenly" has a huge number of "foreign" species showing up.  And I suspect "invasive" will be the first word mentioned; and it need not be true.  It might be, that for the niche exposed by the change in climate, that black cherry (of whatever) is a perfectly reasonable species to grow in this "new" climate.  Invasiveness need  not have anything to do with this.
 
Gordon Haverland
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Black locust has a problematic volume expansion on changes in humidity.

I think a recommendation in working with black locust is to cut it when green.  I suspect their are recommendations to never cut it when green.  I guess we need for it to get to some colour different from brown and green?  

LVLs are typically made from layers of wood (of a constant width) that are laminated together.  I believe the maximum thickness is a bit more than 2 inches; but that is probably species dependent.

If someone was building a boat out of black locust, they probably wouldn't hesitate to make scarf joints and glue black locust strips with epoxy.  But, the last I went looking (which is not current); places like the US Forest Products Laboratory do not consider the epoxy bond to wood to be permanent.  And to make something like a beam in civil construction, you need a permanent bond.  I think the most accessible adhesive in this regard is resorcinol.   I am going to guess the maximum lamination thickness seen now is from SPF.  They are probably cutting spruce/pine/fir to constant thickness and width, and then cutting out all the knots; and laminating the final pieces.  It is likely that some examination for "tension wood" might also be done (and cut out).  If the volume expansion ratio of black locust is considered problematic, a person probably has to cut "strips" thinner than 2.25 inches.

Let's say we cut strips out of green black locust a bit more than 1 inch thick (all the same width).  We dry that wood as best we can..  We cut out the knots and "other problems".  We machine the boards to 1 inch (not necessarily in the above order).  If we use resorcinol based glue (clamping and other things), do we get a good laminated member?

In so far that black locust doesn't tend to grow straight, trying to get less thick pieces out of a rough piece of wood is probably okay.


If people growing black locust (who have sawmills) can make the strips (with drying and remachining), I think formal testing really needs to be done in order to say that a manufactured beam that is say 12 inches thick has any useful strength and stiffness.  But if the volume expansion ratio for black locust is problematic such that essentially no timber that is say 10 inches thick cannot be cut from a log (dry or seasoned) and have no structural defects; making something from laminated sections would seem to be the only solution.

I can try to grow black locust.  I can try to cut it green (or dry).  I can try to laminate it with resorcinol adhesives.  I cannot produce such for a valid study of the beam for civil engineering purposes.  And even if I start next spring; it will probably be more than 10 years before I can start producing test specimens.

 
tel jetson
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been noticing black locust marketed for flooring recently. ship lap like other common hardwood floors, engineered, and end grain blocks. that last one is tempting to try on my own.
Black-Locust-End-Grain-Block-Tight-1-.jpg
Black Locust End Grain Block Tight
Black Locust End Grain Block Tight
Black-Locust-End-Grain.jpg
Black Locust End Grain
Black Locust End Grain
 
Gordon Haverland
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I can see some "checks" (I call it splitting, but I think checks is the correct technical term) in the end grain cross sections.  To seal the surface in a UV protected polyurethane would probably let you have a durable wood floor.  What would be better, is a factory provided polyurethane cover, that had alumina (or similar) in it, which would make it UV resistant and wear resistant.

Flooring is not a structural application, so you could use epoxy.  Epoxy doesn't typically have UV protection (some newer epoxies can have).

If you were worried about the cracks in the end grain cuts spreading, I think you could get CA (cyano acryllate) glue, and apply it to the crack tips.  It is typically not very viscous (wicks well).  Which might leave you with little "application mountains" where you applied the CA glue to the crack ends.  Which would need to be sanded down.  CA acryllate is quite UV resistant.  You could then finish the entire floor with a polyurethane finish (with UV protectant).  I suspect the wood treated with CA glue, will absorb less urethane than untreated.  But, most polymer treatments to wood are slightly yellow, and so it may be that the lack of absorption on the CA glue matches the yellow produced in the untreated (with CA) areas.  I suspect trying to match the yellowness of the covering polymer will be a nightmare.

But it is nice looking flooring.

 
tel jetson
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Gordon Haverland wrote:But it is nice looking flooring.



yeah. I kind of like the checks, I think. if I were doing it, I would maybe just let them fill in with wax and grime over time.

I imagine black locust used this way could make an exceptionally hard-wearing floor.
 
Gordon Haverland
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tel jetson wrote:

Gordon Haverland wrote:But it is nice looking flooring.



yeah. I kind of like the checks, I think. if I were doing it, I would maybe just let them fill in with wax and grime over time.

I imagine black locust used this way could make an exceptionally hard-wearing floor.



There is no comparison (or not be) between wood in any context, and the alumina (sometimes called sapphire) coating that some factory finishes incorporate.  I would guess the Mohs hardness of all woods is at best something like 2.  The Mohs hardness of alumina (or sapphire) is something like 9.5 or 9.6.

But the wear of alumina only lasts as long as the surface can keep the alumina in the coating.

 
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Cécile Stelzer Johnson wrote:The flowers smell wonderful and my honey bees are intermittently fond of them. They make a wonderful clear as water honey that does not crystallize. Unfortunately, it is considered invasive in my county [Portage County, WI.]: They are extremely prolific and can colonize any yard. Removing them is arduous work: They make many suckers. I'd love to have more in reach of my bees.


I have a hectare and a half (3 acres?) Of black locust on tthe top of a high hill in Romania.It is such an imporfant tree for bees that we probably have more black locusts in Romania then all the black locusts in USA.
In Romania is verry common to find black locust honey for sale at every beekeper shop.Its cristal clear and has the black locust flowers aroma and its also verry sweet because it contains mainly fructose wich is sweeter than glucose and sucrose.
The black locust honey its the most important feature of this tree here and we use ittt ssometimess as fence posts or for fuel wood but rarely since we have otther better trees to make fire.
We only plant it for honey production .
 
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Mihai Ilie wrote:

Cécile Stelzer Johnson wrote:The flowers smell wonderful and my honey bees are intermittently fond of them. They make a wonderful clear as water honey that does not crystallize. Unfortunately, it is considered invasive in my county [Portage County, WI.]: They are extremely prolific and can colonize any yard. Removing them is arduous work: They make many suckers. I'd love to have more in reach of my bees.


I have a hectare and a half (3 acres?) Of black locust on tthe top of a high hill in Romania.It is such an imporfant tree for bees that we probably have more black locusts in Romania then all the black locusts in USA.
In Romania is verry common to find black locust honey for sale at every beekeper shop.Its cristal clear and has the black locust flowers aroma and its also verry sweet because it contains mainly fructose wich is sweeter than glucose and sucrose.
The black locust honey its the most important feature of this tree here and we use ittt ssometimess as fence posts or for fuel wood but rarely since we have otther better trees to make fire.
We only plant it for honey production .



As far as I remember, they honey from black locust is sold as acacia honey, even though the tree is not an acacia.
 
tel jetson
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Frederik Grøn Schack wrote:As far as I remember, they honey from black locust is sold as acacia honey, even though the tree is not an acacia.



not an acacia but passed off as one... hmm. maybe you could call it a pseudoacacia. what do you think?
 
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