• Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Black locust pros and cons

 
Maximo Ledesma
Posts: 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I researched the black locust trying to find out if the good outweighed the bad and here is what I found. I was womdering if people agreed or disagreed.
image.jpg
[Thumbnail for image.jpg]
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
pollinator
Posts: 520
Location: Massachusetts, 6b, urban, nearish coast, 39'x60' minus the house, mostly shady north side, + lead.
18
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Welcome to Permies! Your report looks pretty good to me. The only thing you've left out is the law. In some places it's illegal to grow black locust, and so you could get in trouble for doing that even if it's a good tree in other ways. It may be that the law should be changed, but it's good to know what it is before you plant the tree.

 
Glenn Herbert
gardener
Posts: 1860
Location: Upstate NY, zone 5
57
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Wow! Illegal to plant black locust? Hard to imagine such a valuable and useful tree being frowned upon... until you think about the bias toward industrial chemicals to make outdoor wood and not natural methods...
 
Mike Cantrell
Posts: 530
Location: Mid-Michigan
28
bee books duck food preservation forest garden hunting solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The Michigan DNR has published some useful information on it:

http://mnfi.anr.msu.edu/invasive-species/BlackLocustBCP.pdf

Too bad it's all written from the perspective of eradication!
 
Bobby Pleasant
Posts: 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think that Black Locust is a great tree. It flowers in the spring, attracting honey bees. It is fast growing, you can establish hedgerows for fuelwood and harvest in as little as 10 years. It is one of the hottest burning firewoods out there.

Also, anywhere you have a presence of Ash trees, you should be considering what trees you want to plant to replace them. All North American Ash will be extinct in the near future. Ash is a sun-loving high quality hardwood. So is black locust.
 
Glenn Herbert
gardener
Posts: 1860
Location: Upstate NY, zone 5
57
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Dutch Elm disease hasn't made the American Elm extinct, only quite rare. A couple of giant specimens still lived around here until a year ago, and I have seen others. The fact that slippery elms harbor it and still survive long enough to reproduce means that the elm bark beetle stays widespread. If the emerald ash borer doesn't live on other kinds of trees, individual ashes will get safer as the general population declines. There may be time to develop a resistant variety or find a predator for the bug.
 
Lance Kleckner
Posts: 114
Location: West Iowa
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Main problem in the united states is the locust borer that can wreck the wood and kills trees.

Even after more than 4 decades of dutch elm disease, american and slippery elms are still the most common trees on my place and the same will be with the native ashes since they seed all over and so good at reproducing. They already have 3 different asian wasps they are releasing that attack emerald ash borer and native things adapting to that new food source, so all hope may not be lost.
 
Bobby Pleasant
Posts: 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I would love it if you guys are right, I wouldn't count on it, though.

It is true, not a single variety of American Ash shows the slightest resistance to EAB. It could theoretically wipe out the entire population very quickly (it has already spread significantly faster than Elm or American Chestnut blight). Then, theoretically the EAB would die off, and we could start replanting harvested seeds, and theoretically all of the trade we do with asia will never send the EAB back over here...

I have a ton of 16"+ DBH white ash on my property. Fortunately, it is a diverse northern hardwood forest, so it will be... ok... once EAB shows up and kills them all in 1-3 years. But make no mistake, EAB is coming for them all. I've read about the asian wasp trials and all. Everything being done right now is all about slowing the spread, and hoping for a miracle. Most of the literature won't come right out and say it, you have to read between the lines, but they have no game plan for stopping extinction. Just hope. Some foresters and entomologists will come right out and say they are done for.

Really sad. It makes me sick. American Ash is in a league of its own. It grows extremely fast. Is just as good of a hardwood as slow growing oak and maple. It is a pioneer species, they show up in my fields every summer and fall.

Really, black locust is not as good a tree as Ash. But IMO nothing will fill the void of when our Ash are gone, other than cheap chinese junk that's filling up our dumps.

I also should add, Ash produce seed once they are 10+ year old. The seed lives for 1-2 years after it drops. In areas of michigan where the infestation killed all the mature ash, and the seedlings were allowed to live for 8-10 years, the borers came back and killed the sapling ash off before they could produce seed.
 
Rez Zircon
Posts: 86
Location: Brendansport, Sagitta IV
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Glenn Herbert wrote:Dutch Elm disease hasn't made the American Elm extinct, only quite rare. A couple of giant specimens still lived around here until a year ago, and I have seen others.


I read of one on the White House lawn that survived; supposedly this tree is over 200 years old. I don't know if the story is true.

We have elms here in Laurel, Montana. Some are quite old; others are seedlings. Nominally-dead stumps will grow sucker trees in abundance (have a bunch of those too). I can't swear to the variety but the oldest are probably over 75 years so certainly from before the plague.

I might have some seeds stashed somewhere from my elms in the SoCal desert, which was beyond the plague's reach.
 
Terry Paul Calhoun
Posts: 29
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Rez Zircon wrote:
Glenn Herbert wrote:Dutch Elm disease hasn't made the American Elm extinct, only quite rare. A couple of giant specimens still lived around here until a year ago, and I have seen others.


I read of one on the White House lawn that survived; supposedly this tree is over 200 years old. I don't know if the story is true.

We have elms here in Laurel, Montana. Some are quite old; others are seedlings. Nominally-dead stumps will grow sucker trees in abundance (have a bunch of those too). I can't swear to the variety but the oldest are probably over 75 years so certainly from before the plague.

I might have some seeds stashed somewhere from my elms in the SoCal desert, which was beyond the plague's reach.


I'm in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and have many, many elms, some beautifully mature, others at 20 years. They are like weeds in areas around wetness. I don't know why we have survived the disease other than that we are the highest point in the county and all the populated areas are downwind
 
Rez Zircon
Posts: 86
Location: Brendansport, Sagitta IV
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Bobby Pleasant wrote:American Ash is in a league of its own. It grows extremely fast. Is just as good of a hardwood as slow growing oak and maple. It is a pioneer species, they show up in my fields every summer and fall.


I don't know what kind of ash we have around here, but they're like weeds, they throw abundant seeds and come up everywhere. Now I'm thinking it might be worthwhile to put some seeds in the deep freeze for long-term storage, maybe freeze them in a block of ice so they don't dehydrate (which is likely the reason they don't keep more than a couple years in dry storage, but the seeds are obviously winter-hardy so freezing 'em shouldn't be a problem).

From a newsletter I get:

http://www.ipm.iastate.edu/ipm/hortnews/2015/10-23/eab.htm
 
Devon Olsen
Posts: 1066
Location: SE Wyoming -zone 4
7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm definately a fan of Black locust, hope to acquire some eventually, just scored a few Honey locust seeds that i hope to get growing this coming year
 
Glenn Herbert
gardener
Posts: 1860
Location: Upstate NY, zone 5
57
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ash and black locust each have their strong points, so you can't say that one is simply better than the other. Locust will sprout from roots or stumps, and a grove will coppice and grow just as well as ash. It makes fantastic firewood if that is what you want, though nothing splits as nicely as ash.
 
Matt Bowman
Posts: 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hey gang, I'm looking for a quote or two to use in an upcoming article about black locust. I'm specifically looking for thoughts from folks who have been working with black locust- trying for some short blurbs that highlight the multi functional nature of the tree or its value as a timber product in a outdoor landscape construction context.

Any help is appreciated!

If you could send your name and an organization that you represent along with your thoughts to:

matthewb@landscapeeast.com

or

oasispermacultureNY@gmail.com

I would sure appreciate it!

Thanks!
-Matt
 
Sean Banks
Posts: 153
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
yeah i heard that is was illegal in some places but couldn't find evidence that anybody has every been arrested and charged for planting black locust.....99.9% of people have no clue what the difference is between a oak or an ash for example.....BUT if it is considered invasive in your area one should not succumb to selfish desires.
 
Peter Ellis
Posts: 1308
Location: Central New Jersey
35
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Sean Banks wrote:yeah i heard that is was illegal in some places but couldn't find evidence that anybody has every been arrested and charged for planting black locust.....99.9% of people have no clue what the difference is between a oak or an ash for example.....BUT if it is considered invasive in your area one should not succumb to selfish desires.


Whose selfish desires?
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3646
Location: Vermont, off grid for 22 years!
78
bee chicken fungi solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
One of your original statements is wrong "is BL harmful to animals."

It is NOT toxic to every livestock that eats it. Cows, Sheep, Goats, Pigs all do fine with BL. Chickens can digest the seeds
 
Noel Deering
Posts: 35
Location: NW Iowa, zone 5a
4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Maximo-
I don't have a lot of experience with black locust yet except I can say they're difficult to get established until they're protected from deer because they love it. For quotes and more info, go to Paul Wheaton's youtube channel and find the black locust video- lots of good stuff there.

Glenn-
Ash easy to split?! Maybe we're talking about different ashes...or maybe the ones I've split were just too knotty...maybe my timing wasn't right. Green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica) has not been easy to split for me. Juniperus virginiana splits very easily, but it's not great firewood (fun to burn in a rmh though! the popping and cracking echo inside the barrel). My new favorite tree is honey locust (Gleditsia triacanthos). Around the same time I realized that some seedlings were growing very well on my property, I was re-reading Tree Crops and PL Cool J (that's Permies Love Cool J. ...Russell Smith) gushes about how wonderful it is. Also, I've found it to be the easiest splittin' wood there is! It makes you look like a pro.

Sean-
Regarding "selfish desires," I say the ones who want a plant banned for the sake of saving their pretty lawn (or whatever weird reason they have) are the ones who are being selfish. MA probably had millions of Robinia prior to the last glacier; I bet they'll slowly make their way back regardless of what people want. Like Pat Foreman in Rhodes' "permaculture chickens" recommends, "Just do it anyway." Civil disobedience is what America is all about... at least sometimes.

Regarding EAB, I expect there will be at least a couple, out of the tens of millions (or more?), that will be resistant. If not, might it survive as a shrub from now on? I've been wondering if maybe, for example, wild American hazel weas once a great tree, but something came along and nearly killed them all ...they survived as coppiced little things until there was a mutation that allowed them to continue reproducing.

Of course, that's just my opinion, I could be wrong.
 
Glenn Herbert
gardener
Posts: 1860
Location: Upstate NY, zone 5
57
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Definitely different ashes. White ash is a major canopy tree where it grows, and has straight, clear grain that just pops apart when split. It also tends to grow with straight branches and trunks unless damaged. It burns beautifully, though not as dense as oak or black locust.
I have not seen green ash in person.
 
Noel Deering
Posts: 35
Location: NW Iowa, zone 5a
4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ah, I see. Sounds like white ash and honey locust are similar in that way, except that honey locust has as many btu/cord as white oak and only slightly less than black locust.

Sorry, don't mean to hijack the thread.

Matt- here's a quote for you: "Totally bitchin" is how I would describe Robinia pseudoacacia. Although it might not be the most helpful quote seeing as how my chief qualification is merely that I'm opinionated. But seriously, Wheaton's video about black locust is pretty good. One thing that comes to mind is Vander Meer talking about the type of shade that it casts.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Pie
Posts: 8982
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
132
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Sean Banks wrote:yeah i heard that is was illegal in some places


USDA Sez Black Locust is native to every state. Not sure how it could be illegal to plant a native plant...?

http://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=rops
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3646
Location: Vermont, off grid for 22 years!
78
bee chicken fungi solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Tyler Ludens wrote:
Sean Banks wrote:yeah i heard that is was illegal in some places


USDA Sez Black Locust is native to every state. Not sure how it could be illegal to plant a native plant...?

http://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=rops


Unfortunately, it's true. Natives have been declared illegal in some states!
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Pie
Posts: 8982
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
132
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Cj Sloane wrote:
Tyler Ludens wrote:
Sean Banks wrote:yeah i heard that is was illegal in some places


USDA Sez Black Locust is native to every state. Not sure how it could be illegal to plant a native plant...?

http://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=rops


Unfortunately, it's true. Natives have been declared illegal in some states!


Proof of cultural insanity!
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
  • Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic