say "stone". And if that is in short supply, I have a long list of
what not to use: railroad ties, treated wood, cedar, black walnut
.... and then there is the mystery jewel .... black locust. It
lasts so long that farmers called it "stone wood". What makes it
last? Is it safe for use in a garden?
I've had solid-looking posts of black locust pointed out to me that were installed by the owner's grandfather 60 years before. The old story is that you put posts in the ground for 40 years, and then pull them out and put the other end in the ground for another 40. The trees do tend to sucker when they're cut, which may or may not be a problem--that's coppicing. The leaves are said to be good fodder, and of course, it's a nitrogen fixer. What's not to like?
So what you are saying is that black locust contains a lot of a strong, natural, fungicide? But that it is pretty tightly locked up inside of the wood, so that it won't make the growies in the raised bed sad?
How do flavonoids inhibit rot?
3.3 Anti-quality Factors of Tannins
Several animal scientists explored the nutritional effects of tannins in detail (Kumar and Singh; Robbins et al., 1987; Van Soest, 1982). As expected from the ir strong efficacy as plant defense chemicals, tannins express a variety of toxic or anti-quality effects when presented in the diet of ruminant animals (Van Soest, 1982).
I'm definitely not scared of tannins. You could say I eat them for breakfast...but it would be more accurate to say that I drink coffee.
I do know that during my time in the southern Appalachians, black locust was always used wherever rot resistance was needed and that included raised beds, composting bins and retaining walls.
I don't think you need worry about toxicity. The wood is pretty 'tight' and what fraction is going to get into your compost? I knew people using locust for compost bins and they never had problems getting a pile to heat.
Black locust has unusually high amounts of calcium oxalate.
Oh, cool. Oxalate is great in terms of carbon sequestration. It's basically two CO2 molecules bonded together: not much energy to make, stable, not very acidifying for the amount of carbon.
If your goal is to help global warming, black locust wouldn't seem to be a good choice for biochar, then, because oxalate decomposes at the temperatures in question.
What is the best way to get black locust established from seed or sapling?
Scott Reil wrote:
Good friends have raised beds from locust; twenty years old at this point and still going strong. My experience with red cedar (mine is not the same as what left coasters call red cedar though) is not as successful...
Any chance you can post some pictures of the twenty years old black locust raised beds?
Makes sense that it's so hard and dense it doesn't leach nasties very much, as opposed to cedar.
I don't think that B. Locust can be eradicated once established, but this also means that all i do is harvest it when i want to use it.
I guess that a person thinking of growing B. Locust should weigh the pro's n con's. Once established it is forever. I love my B. Locust groves.