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All things Black Locust

 
Posts: 136
Location: Romania
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In romania the black locust honey is sold as black locust honey.,,Salcam ,,means black locust in romanian and the honney is sold as ,,miere de salcam,,.
The name acacia honey,only the english speakers foreigners call it that way.
No acacia species grows in Romania( outdoor) so we dont have popular names for acacia.
This romanian song translates as ,,black locusts gone  crazy,,  (Au innebunit salcamii)and its about the flowering time.
Now you have it,a song about black locusts :).
 
pollinator
Posts: 371
Location: zone 4b, sandy, Continental D
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tel jetson wrote:

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?



Especially that the real Latin nae is Robinia pseudoacacia, so I'm all for it. ;-)
 
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I cut down a standing dead black locust last week it was real straight and about 100' tall, with less than 1/2 dozen branches, a bunch of it was rotted, like a sponge inside,The real rotten stuff will become a hugelkultur, but the outside of much of the trunk was solid, and will feed the stove this winter, had large locust fungi growing out of it.
200 years ago and beyond locust trees were prized for ship masts.
 
Posts: 466
Location: Dawson Creek, BC, Canada
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Bruce, are you open to some experiments on the hugelkulturing of that tree?

For fungi or bacteria to break down most things, they want water and possibly oxygen.  And both fungi and bacteria can create fairly complicated molecules in their effort to breakdown the wood so that it becomes food for them.

Generic 5% vinegar is too expensive where I live, and so I am currently in the middle of trying to make 3 gallons of "vinegar" by fermenting sugar water.  Or perhaps I should call it dilute orange juice?  Minute Maid has an orange juice with plant sterols, and yeast need plant sterols to build cell walls to withstand high ethanol environments.  I'm hoping for 15% EtOH or more at the end of the wine step, and then I will let bacteria turn it to vinegar.

I recently ran across a paper which talked about bread yeast.  I didn't read the entire paper.  But what I got from the snippet I read, is that instead of making ethanol and carbon dioxide while eating sugar; bread yeast (or this particular bread yeast) when given a sunburn (exposed to UV light) before being added to the "food", produced a mixture of acetic acid and citric acid.  It may be that it also produces ethanol and carbon dioxide.

It might be that acetic acid and citric acid will help in breaking down black locust in a hugel faster.  Lots of bacteria (I have no idea about fungi) can drive a significant portion of their metabolism around sulfur, instead of oxygen.  So perhaps their are paths involving microflora and microfauna and sulfur which will break down black locust faster?

But, the idea of sunburning some bread yeast before a predicted rain, and sprinkling it over a hugel not yet completed so as to build up some amount of acetic and citric acid seems to be an easy thing to do; if it actually helps in breaking down "tough" trees like black locust.
 
Gordon Haverland
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Location: Dawson Creek, BC, Canada
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Has anyone ever noticed a correlation between the (possible) lack of sprouting of black locust, and what the ground cover is?  I am thinking that perhaps some kind of allelopathy might reduce the sprouting of black locust roots.

Root sprouting seems to be related to gibberelins and abcissic acid (sp?).
 
bruce Fine
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gordon, the hugelkultar will be across street at neighbors, I have very deep  fertile soil everywhere, there was a sawmill on property for decades and sawdust amended the soils,  across street not so much, for some reason they have lots of oak trees, I have very few, but appreciate the advice, If she doesn't see it here I'll clue her into your suggestions
 
Gordon Haverland
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Location: Dawson Creek, BC, Canada
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Trying to follow up on allelopathy being a control mechanism for sprouting in black locust isn't going well for me.  Too many things I don't know.

I think BugWiki (which at least in part, seems to be a  home for information on species deemed invasive) had a page on black locust which for me had a couple of points of interest.

By and large, it appears that trying to kill black locust with herbicides is difficult, and it may be that the only people who can do so are tree professionals.

But, a generic observation is that if black locust "takes over" something like a clearing in a forest, it is typically replaced as the dominant species within 15-30 years.  And that requires the use of no chemicals, just other trees succeeding a pioneer species.  In terms of black locust "invading" a forest, I don't think it is going to happen.  Black cherry can invade a forest and take over.  But black locust does not want any competition for sunlight.  It can take over an "edge", it isn't going to take over a forest.  The solution to getting rid of black locust seems to be the planting of trees which compete for sunlight.

While black locust (which tends to weakly shade) is good for bees, a tree which is better for bees and has strong shade is basswood (a linden).

BugWiki (or whatever) also seemed to suggest that sprouting from the roots is driven by temperature fluctuations.  The article also went on to mention that black locust roots tend to be shallow and there is no taproot.  If avoiding temperature fluctuations is useful to stop sprouting, then putting 6+ inches of wood chips on the ground might be a good thing to do.

Again from this article,  in terms of growing fence posts, it seems that black locust needs to get to be about 4-5 years old before it starts sprouting.  Other sources say that to grow fence posts, the first cutting is probably going to take place about 4-5 years after planting the seed.  And I think BugWiki pointed out that at least in one instance, the sprouts after coppicing grew to 10 feet in the next year (and to 14 feet after 3 years).  So, it may be that if you are starting black locust from seed (at some high density like every 4 feet), that when you harvest your first crop of fence posts, when you have selected which sprouts are going to be allowed to grow the next year (or so), I think what you then do is cover the ground in wood chips to keep the black locust from doing more sprouting.  If sprouting still happens, you probably want to cut these excess sprouts at ground level by moving away the wood chips, and then burying again.

Black locust isn't supposed to like clay, but it really doesn't like wet clay.  And typically my problem is dry clay.  So, if I have to cover the ground with wood chips to suppress sprouting, that will eventually help the soil.  But, a person might be able to help things along a bit, by coplanting tillage radish within the black locust once a person starts covering the ground with wood chips.  The following spring, when the tillage radish rots away, it leaves behind a hole which will fill with debris (wood chips).  This should accelerate the rate of organics being incorporated into the soil, and reduce the chance of black locust roots drowning in water if wet.

 
Mihai Ilie
Posts: 136
Location: Romania
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Gordon,tomorrow il take a picture with a big black locust roots and post it here for you.It doesnt have a taproot indeed but it grows in heavy clay really well .
As for bees ,i have a forest of Tillia 1,5 km away from my apiary.They are good trees but sometimes they become toxic for the bees.They are equally good for beekeeping here as black locust but black locust makes more honney thats superior in taste and costs double than linden honney.
 
Gordon Haverland
Posts: 466
Location: Dawson Creek, BC, Canada
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Thank you for the information about the roots, growing in clay, etc.

I will have to look into this toxicity issue for tillia.

I think that putting a deep wood chip mulch on the ground would be good for black locust from a bunch of points of view, not just trying to suppress root sprouting.  I think a person needs to look at the base of the trunk as well, and you can't pile the mulch up against the trunk.  If you made quadrilateral pieces (truncated isosceles  triangles) to produce  sort of a "cone" around the base of the tree, that would keep the mulch from touching the trunk, and shade the base of the trunk.  A low density wood like western red cedar, would insulate that area as well.  Or, make those pieces of of foam insulation  (possibly with skins of fibreglass?).

For most people in this forum, I think the black locust pods will ripen every year.  For me, I suspect most years they won't ripen.  Last year, we had a killing frost on Aug 8 or 9, but we often have a killing frost early in September.  So, the argument about seed production contribution to "invasiveness" is less of an issue here.  If I can get a handle on the sprouting, that defeats much of the rest of the argument.
 
Gordon Haverland
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Location: Dawson Creek, BC, Canada
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The Royal Society published a review article on bee deaths related to Tilia in Sept of 2017 (Koch and Stevenson authors).  They seem to have disproven that the bees died from mannose in the tilia flowers.  They looked at many different possible causes, and it seems that there are many different things that seem to be contributing to bee deaths on tilia.

 
steward
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Location: woodland, washington
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getting a bit far afield here, but this reminds me of bees and sunflowers. all sorts of insects seem to love sunflower pollen and nectar, but they collect it at their peril: I've seen plenty leave behind legs and wings that get stuck to the flowers.
 
Gordon Haverland
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I don't think it is too far afield vis a vis tilia.  It is far a field wrt black locust.

Predation by birds and wasps was one of the things looked at in the paper, and some of the bee deaths could be attributed to such.  Your connection to sunflower is similar in that it is a hazard that is not part of the flower host.

The paper URL is https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/full/10.1098/rsbl.2017.0484
 
Gordon Haverland
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Still reading papers.

A hint of something.  It might be that there are bacteria and/or fungi in the native range of black locust, which have a significant to strong negative effect on them.  To grow elsewhere; where this microflora/fauna issue isn't a problem; "releases" the plant to be "invasive".

One report.  Not statistically significant.

 
Mihai Ilie
Posts: 136
Location: Romania
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Here are the pictures with the big black locust growing on yellow clay soil and the roots with my foor for size reference.

It seems that it does have a taproot.Also note how the roots engulfed an old fence post that fell to the ground.

And the last picture is the reason why this tree died.It was strangled by the steel ropes ,sadly.
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Gordon Haverland
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Nice pictures.

I have a fairly large willow that seems to be part of someone's idea about being a corner post.  Several strands of barbed wire in it.
 
Gordon Haverland
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I spent a day or so looking for "management" of Black Locust.  By and large, it seems that management means to "quickly kill" black locust.

There are some historic articles which pop up about black locust management, one is mid 1900s (1940?).  I am not sure if I seen one which is pre-1900.  Certainly this mid 1900's document is the most well rounded document on management that I have seen.  But there must be more information out there, that this book doesn't cover.

The tendency to regard management as "quickly kill", seems to be driven by a huge desire to call black locust invasive.

Personally, even if climate were not changing, I would tend to call it aggressive or annoying.  But how does one label something as invasive, when we have no idea what the equilibrium distribution of plants is in a location?  Or quasi-equilibrium.

The "small farms group" (?) at Cornell seems to be a bit better than most.  They talk about coppice and pollard.  A blog by someone who I think works at this Cornell place, talks about cutting shoots over and over again (lawn mower) and brings up  shading the shoots out with tarps.

One blurb seemed to suggest that if a person plants black locust where extensive mulching will be done, that it might lead to the roots being even more "surface oriented".  It may be that what they are talking about, is that fine roots from the black locust might migrate into the surface mulch, to "mine" that for nutrients.  Which doesn't necessarily mean that the tree is any less well anchored to the ground.

I was using seamonkey for surfing, and how I have it set up, it won't let me easily look at PDFs I run across.  So, I saved a number of PDFs, but haven't read them.  At least 2 were from eastern Europe.

I seen nothing about temperature extremes with respect to root/stump sprouting.  Or anything about growing black locust with extensive mulching.

I did see some (one? two?) mentions that some of the insect problems for black (and honey) locust, may come from their only slight shading.  That it may be advantageous (in a plantation or similar), to interplant with trees which cast more shade, to protect the trunks of the trees from pests.
 
Gordon Haverland
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Location: Dawson Creek, BC, Canada
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I may have aimed my shotgun at my foot and pulled the trigger.  So to speak.

If people have questions (or hopes to answers) as to whether Black Locust is invasive versus something like just being aggresive, that would be useful to know.

I have a need to produce a tall windbreak, and black locust is part of that.  I have fence posts in need of replacement, and black locust and Osage-orange are part of that.  I have a need for outdoor wood, and honey locust is part of that.

But, I am facing some possibly not completely thought out resistance about black locust.  And the answer may be to set up a "fairly long" term experiment.

For me, does adding wood chips to an array of black locust "sprouts" (from coppicing), reduce or eliminate further sprouting?  Is this a function of mulch depth?

How long does it take to "shade out" black locust that has been started (and experienced one coppicing)?

Are there other things a person can try to "kill" black locust?


The above is worded in terms of how I see most people seeking to "manage" black locust.


How else should "manage" be thought?

 
tel jetson
steward
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Location: woodland, washington
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Gordon Haverland wrote:How else should "manage" be thought?



you could manage a stand of black locust for quality or quantity of wood, for shoot production, for flowers/nectar, for seeds, for density as a windbreak, for canopy density, for adding biomass or nitrogen to a plot, for visual appeal.
 
Posts: 5
Location: Central Virginia
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tel jetson wrote: 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.



Yep! Like yours, our goats LOVE black locust. They'll strip the bark from BL saplings even up to 5" diameter trees. The bark changes significantly when the locust gets older, and at that point the goats will ignore it, but until then they act like it is candy, and will run straight to the locust stands in each pasture as we rotate them through. They'll eat locust leaves and bark here even before they eat the grass, and at the same rate as multiflora rose and autumn olive.

Black locust does seem pretty resilient here in USDA zone 7, and it definitely responds to cutting/pruning by growing suckers all over the stump and surrounding roots, but our goats sure can kill it. Their bark-stripping work is the only reason we even have pastures at all, and not just locust groves. So long as the locust is young (under 5" diameter), and the goats get access to it at least twice in a year, it only takes a couple years to kill the tree. Maybe the bark-stripped trunks and branches keep demanding energy from the roots, and use it up, killing the roots instead of promoting suckering from them.

Of course, here in Virginia, there are always more locusts being planted; the seed pods are very popular with wildlife, so we always get new tiny seedlings popping up for the sheep and goats to munch on. Maybe we just need more chickens!
 
Gordon Haverland
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Location: Dawson Creek, BC, Canada
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Somebody in some black locust related thread here, had a problem transplanting a young black locust.

I was doing some research into tree roots, and one study apparently found a 4 year old black locust (from seed) which had a root down 4m.

Which might have some impact on transplanting black locust.

I don't know if this was the perfect soil for a black locust, but it was probably a good soil for a black locust.
 
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