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Honey Locust Propagation

 
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Hello,

I am brought to this forum seeking information I cannot find anywhere else. I am trying to propagate thornless honey locust trees, from a wild thornless honey locust tree I have found. I have searched 20,000 acres and finally found one. If I were to use cuttings from this tree or grow from the seeds, what would be the chances of producing thornless offspring. I am interested in using the pods for livestock purposes and have no interest in planting the natural thorned variety, I have dealt with those enough. I have read plenty on the shade tree varieties but they provide little to no pod production. I cannot find any research on what happens when thornless trees are reproduced.

Any help will be greatly appreciated!

Kaleb
 
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Welcome to permies Kaleb.

I am not familiar with the Honey Locust, but have read that with the Black Locust, the thornless gene is actually the dominant gene. So, I would imagine that if you were starting off with thornless, the end result would probably be thornless.

If I were doing that and really wanted to keep the thornless trait, I would go with rootings, as those will be true to the parent tree. The seeds would depend on what pollinated the parent tree. Could go either way.

If the seeds are free, the worst case scenario is that you will grow some nice kindling wood. lol
 
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Kaleb,

I am working on something similar on my farm. I am fortunate to have about 20% of my wild Honey Locust be naturally thorn less. While I do not know this to be 100% true, I have read in several places, and found it to be the case the 1 time I have grown out thorn less HL from seed, the majority of seeds you collect will produce thorns. Two years ago I stopped at a rest area in Iowa and picked a ton of pods off the ground from a small grove of ornamental thorn less HL. I was guessing they would have been pollinated by each other and have a good chance of passing along the thornless trait. I was wrong. Of the 100 I grew out all that survived had thorns. I scrapped that project.

Commercial nurseries sell grafted HL trees to pass along the thorn less traits, as you mentioned they seem to have selected their varieties for lovely golden fall color and the fewest # of pods to fall in your manicured yard. I have been top killing my thorn covered HL trees with a plan to graft on scion wood from some of my thorn less ones, this spring has gotten away from me so it has yet to happen. Please follow the link below to a brief write up I found on this sort of thing. There is some very helpful grafting recommendations on page 4. In the studies they sited specific named varieties that were used, since they were using the trees for forage I am guess they selected for both thorn less trees and maximum pod production? If you can track down one of the varieties named in the study you could use it for scion wood and copy them, otherwise I am guessing once the trees are growing you will have to select the best pod producers and propagate those, both will work, one will take longer.

Good luck, please share results.

http://faculty.virginia.edu/honeylocust-agroforestry/agroforestry/Honeylocust%20Research%20Newsletter%20No.1.htm

Well, after a bit more looking here is a link to a recommended nursery from that study. It lists a number of HL varieties they offer (it even mentions using them for forage) and encourages one to write in with any questions. Perhaps this would be a better resource than my random speculations?


http://www.hiddenspringsnursery.com/plants.html

J
 
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Kaleb Rolly wrote:If I were to use cuttings from this tree or grow from the seeds, what would be the chances of producing thornless offspring.



Not good. Thornless will often produce offspring with thorns. There is a story about Bill Mollison planting thornless honey locust and reviving a ghost town, then the seeds sprouted and become honey locust with thorns & the revived town wanted to string him up. Podcast # 53.
 
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And both of my seed sources for trees indicate that the thornless trait will prevail.
I guess there is no way other than trying to know for certain.
If you go with cuttings, you should get a clone of the parent tree.

The first attachment is from JL Hudsons.
The second is from F.W.Schumbacher - Trees & Shrubs
Thornless-HL-JLH.PNG
Thornless-HL-JLH
Thornless-HL-JLH
Thornless-HL-FWS.PNG
[Thumbnail for Thornless-HL-FWS.PNG]
 
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John Polk wrote:And both of my seed sources for trees indicate that the thornless trait will prevail.



While the thornless trait is dominant, you can't eliminate a recessive trait. If each tree produces thousands of seeds, some with the recessive trait are sure to come up.

Here's a response to a request from Paul for Honey Locust seeds:

Dear Paul,
Bill Mollison planted 6 honey locust trees at a place called Whytalibah
in the Great Dividing Range in NSW several years ago. It has become an
environmental disaster, destroying acres of land and infesting large
areas of the Mann River banks. The original trees were thornless but
all the ones that grew from seeds and suckers (which extended metres
underground) were covered with the most evil, lethal thorns, making the
whole area inaccessible and even hazardous for stock. The government
is spending tens of thousands of dollars in control programs; the only
way to eradicate them is with injection guns and poison and then
bulldozers and huge fires. The thorns are literally lethal. I really
wouldn't reccommend planting any at all unless you are 100% positive
that they reproduce to give only the thornless type in your area.
Yours sincerely, Joanne Murray


http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/permaculture/2004-November/021020.html

I mention this just as a cautionary tale. I personally have planted some Honey Locust from seed but where I hope no tractor will ever go!
 
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I mention this just as a cautionary tale. I personally have planted some Honey Locust from seed but where I hope no tractor will ever go!


I have heard people refer to HL trees as "Tire Poppers".
Those thorns are no joke!
 
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I've planted a bunch of thornless Honey Locust from seed this year. I did plant some a few years ago but in hindsight the location wasn't sunny enough.

Can anyone give me an idea how long, how many years or how tall they have to be until they produce pods?
 
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Can you propagate HL from soft wood cuttings? I've never done it, but I'm interested.

I found a feral HL tree about an hour from my house. It was in a really exposed site on the side of a highway. I collected all the seeds and pods from the ground around it, in hopes to get some going where I am. I don't care about the thorns, everything here has thorns, so what's one more?!

I figure, if it can survive here, it's a tree I want to cultivate and plants. I did a test with 20 seeds today with the hot water scarification. We'll see how it works, one has already greatly increased in size, but the rest haven't. I'll let them soak for 3 days and see.

I've read numerous times that seedlings transplanted early have higher survival rates. So, I'd transplant them as soon as you can. I am limited on when I can plant here, only during monsoon, which is about to get going.
 
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Abe Connally wrote:Can you propagate HL from soft wood cuttings?



My notes say "yes."

It is easily cloned. Once a good honey locust tree has been found, it is easy to propagate (Cuttings) either by grafting or by root suckers.

Easy from seed, but has a hard seed coat. Cover with 175° - 190° water and soak till swollen. I soaked mine for 3 days then planted and they started to sprout after 3 more days.
Transplants easily. Transplant seedlings at 4-6”
 
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I have a lot of seeds, but I know where a small tree with lots of soft wood is. Not sure if it has many root suckers. Do you know the best size for that?

I did the hot water thing with 20 seeds today, they are soaking right now. One is already swollen, nothing else has changed.

 
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I am keen to plant some seeds of both Black Locust and Honey Locust, but the horror stories of the HL thorns are alarming!

Here is what my trusty old Organic Gardening Encyclopedia has to say about these trees :

* * * * *
LOCUST {Robinia}
Not to be confused with either HONEY or MORAINE LOCUSTS {GLEDITSIA} which grow throughout the eastern & southern USA and are valued as timber trees, these Locusts are hardy ornamentals. They are among the most widely distributed trees & shrubs native to North & Central America. They have feathery foliage and in spring the blossoms are in long drooping clusters of pink, white or purple pealike flowers. Flowers are fragrant and attract bees. Seedpods are brown & leathery. Some persist through the winter and make a dry, rustlng noise in the winter winds.
Locusts thrive in any soil, even sand.
They transplant well, and may be propagated by root cuttings, suckers, division, and cuttings, as well as by seed.

The most common species is the BLACK LOCUST (Robinia pseudoacacia), a tree which grows to 70' or 80'. Leaves are compound with from 9 – 17 leaflets in each one. Fragrant WHITE flowers hang in pendulous clusters of up to 5”. The bark is brown and furrowed, and the wood is strong and resists decay from moisture.

The CLAMMY LOCUST (Robinia viscosa) is grown as an ornamental in the South and in some intermediate areas. It has feathery foliage and PINK flowers. It grows from 30' – 40' tall, but seldom attains that height because it is USUALLY ATTACKED & KILLED BY BORERS. This species and the BLACK LOCUST should be watched for signs of sawdust around their trunks. When sawdust is found, the hole of the borer must be sought somewhere above, and the borer dug out & destroyed. If the borer is inaccessible, plug the hole with putty.


MORAINE LOCUST {GLEDITSIA TRIACANTHOS var. inermis}

This variety of HONEY LOCUST has 2 advantages : It stands city smoke and dust very well, and IT HAS NO THORNS.
Its hardiness range is the same as that of the common HONEY LOCUST, but it is somewhat more tolerant of alkaline soils.

A rapid grower, the MORAINE LOCUST attains 50' – 75', and is a vigorous, wide-branched tree. It is often used fro street planting, as well as for fast-growing shade trees for yards.

* * * * * *

And here is what Bill Mollison wrote in the 1994 edition of his “Introduction to Permaculture” :

HONEY LOCUST : (Gleditsia triacanthos)

Deciduous tree 6 – 40m; very thorny when young, although thornless cultivars have been developed (G. triacanthos inermis). Trees have open canopy which allows clovers and pasture to be sown underneath. Frost- and drought-hardy; likes temperate regime of hot summers and cold winters. Tolerates most soils. Although a legume tree, nitrogen-fixing nodules have not been observed in the roots.

YIELDS of up to 110 kg (242 lbs) of pods per tree at year 8 – 9;
At 86 trees / hectare (35 trees / acre), pod production is equivalent to 10 tons / hectare (4 tons per acre) of oat crop.

Transplants easily, grows in full sun.
Seed pods for propagation need to be gathered from trees as soon as they fall in mid-autumn and the seed scarified or boiling water poured over them and left to soak before sowing.
Select seed from high-yielding, thornless varieties.

USES :
Pods are high in sugar (27 – 30%);
Pod + seeds 10% protein.
Excellent stock fodder, ground or whole, especially during drought or at the end of summer pasture.
Durable, quality timber.
Excellent bee forage.
High sugar content means potential for fuel production, molasses, wine.

* * * * *

Maybe Bill Mollison had planted apparently-civilised trees, with the thornless MORAINE LOCUST scion grafted onto the thorny HONEY LOCUST stock. Then the roots and suckers of the thorny variety must have taken over in a Day of the Triffids scenario. At least I am hoping that explains the environmental disaster! Otherwise, I am certain that Oz seed companies would not still be offering Gleditsia Triacanthos seed for sale!

As for reversion of supposedly thornless varieties to thorny in the next generation of seed-grown trees, surely this must be the result of hybridisation between the Honey Locust and the Moraine Locust. I guess all I can do is order some seed, trust it was collected from pure stock, grow it in isolated tree tubes, inspect for unwelcome characteristics in the seedlings, and enforce a scorched earth policy for any offenders!

But in my climate, I tend to prefer rapaciously weedy species which at least have a fighting chance of survival against the many negative factors. Ravenous silty soil, rampant strangling couch grass, danger of being either eaten or climbed up and broken off by brush possums, gale-force winds for weeks on end, a deadly frost pocket, killing frosts highly probable 12 months of the year, alternating between prolonged flooding and droughts with gaping cracks in the baked soil that you can fit your arm down into, full length. The Moraine Locust sounds like my kind of tree!

Maybe we should be more pedantic about using the name “MORAINE LOCUST” rather than “HONEY LOCUST,” to refer only to the true thornless variety.

 
Cj Sloane
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Hi Ruby, where is Taswegia?

I think there is another variable at play here. Some thornless HL have pods & some don't. Many of the ones planted in urban settings don't have pods because they would be "messy." I don't want those because I do want the pods.

I wonder if there are other triggers to HL with thorns coming out in succeeding generations.

A few years ago I was on the lookout for HL & found some with pods in the parking lot of a car dealership. When I showed my kids they rolled their eyes in disbelief because there is a huge HL in the playground of the local elementary school. No problem with thorns at all.

I was also on the lookout for BL and now I see them everywhere, including at least 2 large ones on my property.
 
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some of the seeds I tested have sprouted, I also took soft wood cuttings, we'll see if they root.
 
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Cj Verde wrote:Hi Ruby, where is Taswegia?

I think there is another variable at play here. Some thornless HL have pods & some don't. Many of the ones planted in urban settings don't have pods because they would be "messy." I don't want those because I do want the pods.

I wonder if there are other triggers to HL with thorns coming out in succeeding generations.

A few years ago I was on the lookout for HL & found some with pods in the parking lot of a car dealership. When I showed my kids they rolled their eyes in disbelief because there is a huge HL in the playground of the local elementary school. No problem with thorns at all.

I was also on the lookout for BL and now I see them everywhere, including at least 2 large ones on my property.



Hello CJV,
Actually I live in Tasmania, the southern island state of Australia. We sometimes call ourselves "Taswegians" or Tasmaniacs."

Having read further, it seems there are several different types of Honey Locust. One of our major seed companies sells HL var inermis seed, so I will try some this year. If it goes feral I will annihilate it.
Also they have Black Locust, the seed of which is much cheaper than HL. I am hoping to propagate many trees from seed this spring, including our own marvellous native Silver Wattle (Acacia Dealbata) which is tremendously fast growing, a leguminous tree, and produces lots of wonderful firewood very quickly. The timber is a lovely rich red-brown and easy to work or split. I don't think it lasts in the ground for posts etc.
 
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Propogating BL & HL from seed was easy & transplanting was easy but many of the seedlings were eaten so you may want to protect them or transplant a few first and see how it goes.
 
Abe Connally
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I've tried several times with different methods with HL, but my germination rates are terrible. I've tried the hot water, nicking the seed coat, soaking, etc. The best I got was 15% germination, that was hot water, nicking and soaking for a few days.

The one that have sprouted have been really strong, I've got 3 seedlings planted out.
 
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Cj Verde wrote:Propogating BL & HL from seed was easy & transplanting was easy but many of the seedlings were eaten so you may want to protect them or transplant a few first and see how it goes.



Yes, good idea! I will start them in tree tubes and fence out my escaped meat bunnies.
 
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Ruby - see if you can get hold of "Millwood" honeylocust. It is thornless and has been selected for high and nutritious pod yield for livestock.

Once you have one you can propagate by grafting to seedlings.
 
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Michael Cox wrote:Ruby - see if you can get hold of "Millwood" honeylocust. It is thornless and has been selected for high and nutritious pod yield for livestock.

Once you have one you can propagate by grafting to seedlings.



Thanks Michael! That sounds like an excellent cultivar for permies. I checked but could not find it here in Australia though. We do have Ruby Lace! But I also found the direst warnings against growing it in Queensland (subtropical - tropical state) where there is a $60,000 fine for selling or buying Honey Locust material. Here is some of what the article said :

"These varieties are still found in many urban gardens. It is illegal to keep, sell or supply honey locust or their reproductive materials in Queensland, but honey locust cultivars are often purchased without knowledge of their pest status from nurseries in other states and brought into Queensland.

"Cultivated honey locust varieties are recognised for their beauty and have in the past been used as shade and feature trees. Never the less, they pose the same economic and environmental threats as their thorny counterparts, with the potential to form dense groves, taking over pasture land and out-competing native species.

"Despite their ‘thornless’ tag, ornamental honey locust often throw thorny progeny and begin to produce barbed thorns of up to 15 cm long as they age. In addition, many plants are produced by grafting cuttings of ‘thornless’ cultivars onto the root stock of ‘wild’ varieties. When the roots are damaged or the tree is cut down, these grafted plants produce thorny suckers.

"The problem
Weeds like honey locust put considerable pressure on farming ventures and threaten natural environmental systems. Ornamental honey locust trees have in the past been deliberately promoted and planted in Queensland. They are still available through interstate nurseries and by on-line order, although it is illegal to knowingly supply them to a Queensland gardener.

"The seeds have hard, impenetrable coats and can remain viable for 20 years or more. This makes eradication very difficult and allows groves of honey locust trees to re-establish many years after the parent trees have gone.

"Environmental
Honey locust is an invasive tree capable of out-competing and replacing native vegetation. It can create dense monocultures and so provide restricted habitat for native fauna. The sharp barbs of thorny varieties can seriously injure wildlife. Introduced pest animals such as foxes, cats and rabbits also find refuge in the dense thickets, causing secondary pest problems.

"Agricultural
Honey locust trees spread rapidly from seed. If not controlled, they can destroy pastures by smothering the more desirable grass species. The plant can form dense thickets, particularly along waterways, preventing stock access to water.

"Safety
The long, strong spines some varieties grow can inflict serious injuries and lead to infection in humans, pets, livestock and native animals. They can also cause damage to vehicles and equipment and remain a safety hazard even once the plant has died.":

And so on. I am getting less inclined to take the risk with Honey Locust now. I think I would be best advised to concentrate on the many tree species which have lots of positive qualities, which will give me plenty to do this spring.

 
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Ruby Gray wrote:[
"Despite their ‘thornless’ tag, ornamental honey locust often throw thorny progeny and begin to produce barbed thorns of up to 15 cm long as they age. In addition, many plants are produced by grafting cuttings of ‘thornless’ cultivars onto the root stock of ‘wild’ varieties. When the roots are damaged or the tree is cut down, these grafted plants produce thorny suckers.



I wonder if there is something about this area which makes HL react like that. I've noticed the thornless (and mostly podless) ones all over New England and it hasn't been the environmental disaster it has been down under. There is even a huge one with pods in the local grade school - no trouble at all!
 
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Abe Connally wrote:I've tried several times with different methods with HL, but my germination rates are terrible. I've tried the hot water...



What temp? I get like 90%+ germination rate at 190F. I only plant the ones that swell though.
Some of the ones that don't swell I pour hot water over again and 50% of those swell.
 
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Cj Verde wrote:

Ruby Gray wrote:[
"Despite their ‘thornless’ tag, ornamental honey locust often throw thorny progeny and begin to produce barbed thorns of up to 15 cm long as they age. In addition, many plants are produced by grafting cuttings of ‘thornless’ cultivars onto the root stock of ‘wild’ varieties. When the roots are damaged or the tree is cut down, these grafted plants produce thorny suckers.



I wonder if there is something about this area which makes HL react like that. I've noticed the thornless (and mostly podless) ones all over New England and it hasn't been the environmental disaster it has been down under. There is even a huge one with pods in the local grade school - no trouble at all!



Maybe it has something to do with us growing them upside down?
 
Abe Connally
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Cj Verde wrote:
What temp? I get like 90%+ germination rate at 190F. I only plant the ones that swell though.
Some of the ones that don't swell I pour hot water over again and 50% of those swell.



All of mine swelled. Yeah, the water was 190F, just about to boil.

I also tried nicking the seed coat. The best germination rate so far has been with hot water and nicking the seed coat. They swell over night, and sprout well.
 
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Abe Connally wrote:They swell over night, and sprout well.


Then what happens?

I took some pics this morning of my seedlings from this year:
HL seediling></a>
HL seediling></a>

The ones without protection got eaten. A few got eaten with protection if the plastic bottle wasn't seated fully in the ground, allowing small critter access to a yummy HL seedling.
 
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Cj Verde wrote:

Abe Connally wrote:They swell over night, and sprout well.


Then what happens?


Well, the ones that sprout grow well. They all swell, but only a few sprout.

I pour the hot water, let them soak for a day or so, until they swell up nice, then I put them in a sand/soil/peat mix in morning sun without letting the soil dry out. In about 2 weeks, the ones that want to sprout start coming up the rest seem to just rot.

I get maybe 3 out of each 20 I plant this way. I have a steady supply of seeds, so I'm trying to figure out a way to get germination rates up, because I'd like to plant them on swales. Maybe letting them sprout before planting might help. When I nicked them and soaked in cool water, I had 1 out of 20 come up.

I have a couple, and I use wire cages to keep critters off, though there is so much for critters to eat right now, they don't seem interested.

 
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This is an interesting thread. I believe that I have a mature HL that is growing in my yard. I still need to verify the leaf structure. It has the smooth bark, long pods, and no thorns. When it was a small tree (about 15 feet tall) it had a nice covering of long, branched thorns. Somehow the thorns have disappeared over the years. The offspring, from seeds, grow thorns. They are not as thick as some of the trees that I have seen on the net. So, maybe, this is a moderately thorned HL. I have not tried to propagate the trees by using the seeds. Though, I do not think that they would be very hard to grow. There are thousands of sprouts on my property from this tree. They are literally everywhere. I see how it may get the invasive label. All in all, I appreciate the HL and I plan on planting them in useful places. I am still planning the useful places, though.
 
Michael Cox
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I bet you could propagate these clonally by using stooling. That way you could use a thornless rootstock and at least if the rootstock throws off new shoots they won't be thorny.
 
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For those ending up with thorns I have a question? How were the trees treated. I know from Russian olives that they produce way more thorns when they are stressed environmentally. Grazing and insects seem to trigger it more. Trimming seems to have the same effect as grazing. Also a tree growing in good soil with plenty of water seem to produce fewer thorns.

As for propogation. Try rooting compound and water, or rooting compound and simply plant 2/3 of the stick with all leaves striped where it is below ground. If those don't work you might try air layering. Beyond that the next thing to try is cutting roots with a shovel and seeing what springs up at the cut.
 
Abe Connally
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Root cuttings should be the first method of propagation. They are notorious for sending up shoots when cultivated.
 
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I just found a map with a couple of black and honey locusts marked near me
Might have to do some propagation.......
 
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This thread is excellent! Does anyone know if some thornless varieties are thorny when juvenile?

Background: I bought 4, 4' thornless varieties from a nursery but they are thorny as all get out. They assure me, after some back and forth with customer service, that the trees will stop producing thorns “down the road,” later nailed down to 5-6 years. Does that sound legit? I've included a pic.

Having read about the risk of thorny kids from thornless parents and prodigious suckers I am inclined not to take the risk even if what the nursery says is true. They cannot/will not confirm the cultivar, only saying it's not a patented variety. There's no graft line and I was told they're grown from seedlings.

If I could just get a reliably thornless variety with no pods or otherwise sterile, I'd be all over it. I think these could be perfect trees for the scenario I've got: a fast-growing, nitrogen fixing tree, street side, north edge of property, limbed up quite high with a shallow canopy, maxing out around 20' under power lines. My small fruit tree orchard is just inside the fence, the honey locusts would be just outside the fence. The fruit trees max out around 8'.

Follow up question: anyone know another tree that would fit this bill?

~Ben
IMG_2259.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_2259.jpg]
 
Cj Sloane
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ben capozzi wrote:If I could just get a reliably thornless variety with no pods or otherwise sterile, I'd be all over it.



If you don't want the pods, then get only thornless males. There are tons of them in upstate NY, in the middle of the towns.

If you are that worried about thorns, return the ones you bought.
 
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Cj Verde wrote:

Kaleb Rolly wrote:If I were to use cuttings from this tree or grow from the seeds, what would be the chances of producing thornless offspring.



Not good. Thornless will often produce offspring with thorns. There is a story about Bill Mollison planting thornless honey locust and reviving a ghost town, then the seeds sprouted and become honey locust with thorns & the revived town wanted to string him up. Podcast # 53.



I can't find this podcast you are referencing. Help a clueless girl out will ya!
 
elle sagenev
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Now to figure out how to get HL samples. To ask the home owner or to ninja it in the night......
 
Cj Sloane
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Danielle Venegas wrote:I can't find this podcast you are referencing. Help a clueless girl out will ya!



Here ya go:
https://permies.com/t/24897/permaculture-podcast/Podcast-Toby-Hemenway-Native-Plants
 
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Kaleb Rolly wrote:Hello,

If I were to use cuttings from this tree or grow from the seeds, what would be the chances of producing thornless offspring.
Kaleb



I have seen here that the thornless gene should be dominant, but that assumes a lot of things. For one, each of the flowers are going to have the possibility of a thorned gene being present and could produce throned offspring. Also, it assumes that the throned gene is completely recessive. There are some gene that are marked as recessive, but can be phenotypically present anyway, especially if it is a case of incomplete dominance. If it were a case of incomplete dominance, than even your heterozygote individuals would exhibit some thornedness, as well as the homozygous recessive individuals. I do not know the answer here, but that is something to keep in mind.

One thing you could do, if you have the time and spcae, is you could do a simple breeding experiment and collect seeds and plant them. Once the saplings are old enough to exhibit a throned trait (if they are going to), just remove all of the ones that have throns and only allow the thornless individuals to survive. This would increase the rate of this gene's trasnmission through the generations, and as long as you keep an eye on future seedlings and thin as necessary, all of your future trees should be thronless. You could even go so far as to take the pollen from thronless tree and physically pollinate other thronless trees to ensure that that is what happens (this will take much more work, but has a lower risk of throned offspring).

Hope this helps!!
 
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I have several improved thornless honey locust trees, Millwood and TOT varieties selected for heavy pod production, which I obtained from Springtree Agroforestry Project in Scottsville, VA in the early nineties.  I've also been feeding pods from the Springtree orchards to cattle, sheep, and goats for most of the years since then.  Since many of the seeds pass through the animals, this has generated large numbers of volunteer seedlings throughout the pastures and anywhere I've spread fresh or composted manure from the livestock when they were eating the pods.  I'd estimate that about a third of the seedlings from the thornless stock have come out thornless.  There is also a wide variation in the size and abundance of the thorns; from no-big-deal to downright nasty.  Some of the volunteer trees are now reaching an age where they are producing substantial quantities of their own pods in a variety of shapes and sizes.

In the Fall of 1992, I was in Seattle, where there were, and presumably still are, large numbers of thornless honey locust planted along streets and sidewalks.  Most of these trees were podless, but I occasionally came across "sports" with abundant large pods.  I saved some of these pods and sprouted a few dozen trees from them in Virginia the following Spring.  These, also, produced a mix of thorny and thornless trees, and some of them have grown up to be heavy pod producers.

This is, obviously, a long-term project, but, I think, well worth the effort.  Our animals make very good use of the pods, which tend to hit the ground late Fall to mid-Winter, when other high-quality forage is getting scarce.  The foliage, which is also excellent cut-and-carry fodder, especially if thornless,  grows in fairly late in the Spring and leaves early in the Fall, so there isn't huge competition with pasture grasses.

Good luck, and I hope this is useful.

Angus Murdoch
Kents Store, VA
 
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Weeds Australia © 2020 Centre for Invasive Species Solutions

Robinia pseudoacacia L.  (Black Locust)

Quick facts

Originally from the United States, Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) is a deciduous, root-suckering, pea-flowered tree initially introduced as an ornamental and for timber.
Found in cool temperate areas in Tasmania, to warm temperate areas in Victoria, WA and South Australia, to semi arid regions, to subtropical south-east Queensland and New South Wales.
Most reproduction appears to be by root suckering, with relatively few seedlings being produced, damaging roots or removing parent tree encourages dense suckering
It occurs most commonly on river flats, lowland grassland and grassy open woodland, roadsides, urban areas, and in or near abandoned gardens and can spread in to neighbouring [sic] paddocks

Physical removal is used with herbicides to kill the roots that profusely sucker.

The leaves, bark, wood, roots, seed-pods and seeds are poisonous to stock and to humans.  (Hoses eating bark have died in a few hours.)
s in a few days.)

Fruits are brown woody, flattish pods, also pendulous (hanging), glabrous (smooth without hairs) that are 30-80 mm long, 1 0–15 mm wide, and flattish, green turning light brown to eventually dark brown. Pods contains 4-10 mottled blackish seeds each about 5 mm long.

Agriculture:
Suckering plants can invade open paddocks, reducing carrying capacity. In addition, all parts of the plant including the leaves, wood, roots, pods and seeds are toxic to stock (Blood 2001). Black Locust is also fatal to horses and in one case a woman gave her horses some Robinia pseudoacacia to graze on. Within two hours both horses were in distress, shaking, frothing at the mouth and in much pain. The vet was able to save one of the horses, with the older horse  put down after hours of agony. The owner was previously unaware that the plant was poisonous (Thomson 2007). Horses feeding on Robinia pseudoacacia bark died after 4 hours (Wink & Van Wyk, 2008)


Is it on an alert list?
NO
 
Jim Hawkins
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I have collected seed this Spring from last year's crop of pods fallen from trees in the Twinsburg Library's garden area.  They are labeled "tghornless Honey Locust, and none of the seven mature trees has the viciosu thorns that I have seen on other locust trees in the woods of Ohio.
The seeds look like this, only the uniform brown of "my" seeds is darker.



Botanical inormation:
Thornless Honeylocust - Gleditsia triacanthos,  form inermis
IN a Nutshell:

* This is the thornless version of the species. It is a popular street tree in the East and Midwest and offers a graceful habit and fine textured leaves that can be spectacular in their rich golden yellow fall color. The light shade the bright green summer foliage casts allows grass to grow next to the trunk. It is very adaptable to soils and displays excellent salt tolerance.

* The pods have been made into a tea for the treatment of indigestion, measles, catarrh etc. The juiceof the pods is antiseptic. The pods have been seen as a good antidote for children's complaints.

* Current research is examining the leaves as a potential source of anticancer compounds.

* The seeds have been roasted and used as a coffee substitute. Seedpods - the pulp is sweet and can be eaten raw or made into sugar. The render young seedpods can be cooked and eaten.

*"Thornless" seed comes very true. There will be a few seedlings that develop thorns, but not many.

Wildlife Value
Thornless honeylocust seed pods and seeds are consumed by livestock and wildlife such as rabbits, deer, squirrels and northern bobwhite. The flowers provide a good source of food for bees.
History/Lore
The thornless honeylocust is native from Pennsylvania to Nebraska and south to Texas. The first scientific observations of this species were made in 1700. The tree derives the name "Honey" from the sweet, honey-like substance found in its pods. The Cherokees in Tennessee made bows from the tree's durable and strong wood. It has also long been a favorite for fence posts.
Germination

70-90%

Zones

4 to 9

https://youtu.be/eymZEx8wKDU

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