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Germinating black locust?

 
Natty Zickuhr
Posts: 10
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There is an apartment complex near where I live with a huge grove of black locust trees. In late May/early June the perfume is amazing. Now all of that growth is on the ground in the form of millions of tiny lentil-like seeds. I have fallen in love with this type of tree and their multitude of uses and want to plant a bunch on my future homestead as I'm getting out of the city and into the forest in a few months. So....who's had luck, and with what methods? I have read varying accounts online and thought I'd put it to the forum for advice.
 
Jordan Lowery
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Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
12
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I grow them from seed because they are hardy and localized. Collect the pods as they dry out but before they drop seed. I have had good luck with clipping the outer shell of the seed( with nail clippers) be gentle not to cut the inner seed. Plant and keep watered if you put in pots. For direct sowing you can plant in specific areas where they would thrive. They should come up in a few weeks.

If the mature tree has suckers, a root division might be in order for a faster result.
 
Natty Zickuhr
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Thanks Jordan, that answers most of my question. I'm wondering though based on your response, does this mean that you harvest them in the fall? Or just before they drop their seed? Right now there are a bunch hanging on the trees that have had full exposure to the elements for the last 6 months here in MN. Would these still be viable? Since they're a temperate tree they presumably need some amount of exposure to germinate, right?
 
Jordan Lowery
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I collect in the fall but any dried mature pod that still has seed in it can be used.
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3646
Location: Vermont, off grid for 22 years!
78
bee chicken fungi solar trees
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Pour hot water (190°F) over them and let soak for a few days. Plant the ones that swell.
 
R Laurance
Posts: 25
Location: Southern Sweden (zone 7a)
chicken forest garden hugelkultur
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I ordered some Robinia seeds from England the first part of January and when they arrived (mid February) I scarified 15 seeds (lightly rubbing them on 120 grit sandpaper), and then proceeded with what Cj Verde stated... poured hot water (less than boiling) over them and let them soak for 48 hours... then planted the swollen seeds.

They were planted into pots of damp seeding soil and placed into plastic bags which were tied with wire wraps. From there I placed them into the dark pantry on the floor, which stays around 50 degrees Fahrenheit. I almost forgot about them... and when I checked first part of March, I had 14 little trees coming up. They were about 2" tall at the time I checked them. I immediately pulled them from the pantry and they've been sitting in the kitchen's south facing window since. They are now about 7" tall and have about five 4" branches, each having five to seven leaves and looking absolutely beautiful.

I'll probably continue growing them in deeper and bigger pots for the first year with partial wintering in the greenhouse before planting them in their final places the following early Spring. In addition to the wonderful permaculture aspects of these trees, they personally harken back to my childhood in Eastern Oregon when we had five very old black locusts towering over the front lawn. Gives me kind of a connection to that time and place.

Good luck with your future trees, Natty.
 
David Wood
Posts: 49
Location: Sth Gippsland and Melbourne
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We're in early spring here so not ideal time to germinate (and get a big enough seedling with a root system that can be planted and get established before summer) but a backorder of Robinia seeds turned up so I thought I'd see how they went.

Poured boiling water over them two weeks ago. Discarded everything that floated. Spread them all in a seedling tray over commercial germination mix. Covered lightly with germination mix. Getting good germination. And are they growing! Already the two initial leaves and some of them over a cm tall.

Not sure whether to just prick them out now into forestry tubes or Hikos or wait a few weeks. Probably higher mortality now but the ones that survived could focus on growing roots in what will be their home for a while.
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
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Location: Vermont, off grid for 22 years!
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bee chicken fungi solar trees
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Plant them if you can protect them. Young ones are extra tasty and can get mowed down quickly.
 
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