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Management of black locust grove

 
Guarren cito
Posts: 79
Location: Zone 4A
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Hey permies!

Ok so we just moved to a new property with 8 - 10 mature black locusts... I'm pumped. They are on a large yard that has been mowed consistently. The soil is dark and we are very appreciative to have these here. Our sewage pipe runs through the grove and empties to the leech field adjacent. The folks who dug the trench for the pipe must have cut a lot of roots because the trees next to it are all damaged, one dead. Also, the dead tree has asphalt around it an inch under the soil... Even though its 20 yards from our unpaved driveway... Any ideas why?

Ok, so when we harvest a tree for firewood and to plant forest garden patches (I know, their shade is very minimal and well suited for a canopy, but I want some edible canopies in there too) we are expecting some vigorous root suckers. The neighbor says she mows them down every year. Will they invade the sewage line and clog it up? There are no issues now, which is surprising.

Also, what can you do with the stumps since they are so rot resistant? I'm planning on drilling holes, but no more.

Thanks in advance,
Guarren
 
Brad Vietje
Posts: 63
Location: Newbury, VT (Zone 4)
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Hey Guarren,

I used to have a number of large (80'+/-) Black Locusts on my property a few years ago (no longer live there), and a decent grove of smaller trees across the street (dirt road), in a 3 acre horse paddock.

If you cut a few down a few trees, consider what you can make from the wood. Bl. Locust is very hard, and very rot resistant, so it's great wood to use for outdoor projects. There are many uses, depending on the nature of your land, and what you need for fence posts, benches, bridges, lean-to's etc... The wood is quite easy to work when green (wet), but very hard and tough when dry. If you want to try making a rustic bench or other outdoor structure, this is good stuff to do it with.

If you have longer, straight sections, it might be worth finding a sawmill that will cut it into lumber of useful sizes. This will depend a LOT on your location -- around here, you could have someone bring a portable sawmill to your property, but that may not be an option where you live. Some mature Bl. Locust trunks have irregular shapes, so they don't yield as much useable wood as a plump, round tree trunk. My experience is that the sprouts come from fertilized seeds falling to the ground and sprouting -- most years I could cut a few hundred little sprouts if they were not mowed. You might get roots to sprout after cutting the trunk, but I didn't have that experience. If you DO get a bunch of sprouts, you have the option of cutting all the ones you don't want, and letting some grow to start living fences or a handy copse for harvesting firewood, fence posts or poles for gardening.

Ideas:
- cut logs to desired length, and split into fence posts
- excellent wood for levers, as well as tool handles.
- find a curved section and split it down the middle for two curved beams for a bridge over a small stream
- makes great landscaping wood for terracing, raised beds, etc... The wood doesn't rot, so it lasts a loooong time, Peel off the bark to get rid of the toxic stuff that can inhibit the growth of other plants.
- Find a local woodturner or get a lathe, and turn all manner of useful garden goodies to plant bulbs, mark garden rows, etc... I turn lots of useful items from Bl. Locust for exterior use.
- Cut a few trunks very cleanly, and hope for sprouts to grow from the cut end for coppice wood -- a great way to grow straight fence posts, or harvest for firewood. I believe the best size for coppicing (or pollarding) would be 6" - 10" diameter.

Hope that helps somewhat...
 
Guarren cito
Posts: 79
Location: Zone 4A
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Thanks a lot Brad!

I'm also particularly concerned about the tree roots getting into the sewage draining pipes and clogging everything up. Perhaps I should make a thread about that question specifically.

Enjoy!
 
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