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Black Locust too big for a fruit trio
I am trying to model my fruit orchard loosely on Stefan Sobkowiak system, i.e. the Permaculture Orchard but I'm a little confused.

My intention was to use some Black and Honey locust between my fruit trees, but I just realized how big the locusts get.   It doesn't make sense to plant a 40'ft tree next to a 25 ft tree. I ended up planting the Honey locusts in Zone 7 but I've got six baby black locusts sitting in the garden and I'm not sure where to plant them.

My lot has North South Exposure and it's pretty flat.

Regards, Scott

(1 like)


hi Scott,

I would be very careful planting either in an orchard or food forest
here in west pa, both trees get big and black locust will root sucker and you'll have them popping up everywhere

in some areas maybe these trees "behave" better due to climate and soil type

https://permies.com/t/50749/Black-locust-pros-cons
save the black locust for the wood lot

here, i would suggest planting clovers, or autumn olive or goumi in your orchard
(1 like)
The key is not letting them get 40' tall.  I am trying to get black locust going for planting on my property, but with the idea of pollarding them to 5 or 6 feet every few years. 

As Duane said, they will root sucker, but that is easily controlled by mowing if you are setting them up in a orchard system.
 
duane hennon wrote:

hi Scott,

I would be very careful planting either in an orchard or food forest
here in west pa, both trees get big and black locust will root sucker and you'll have them popping up everywhere

in some areas maybe these trees "behave" better due to climate and soil type

https://permies.com/t/50749/Black-locust-pros-cons
save the black locust for the wood lot

here, i would suggest planting clovers, or autumn olive or goumi in your orchard


Thanks Duane,

Honestly, I'm on the fence.  I'm a woodturner and I would like to coppice them and push the small suckers you can use for tool handles and small turning projects.  I don't mind keeping something in check, but what you are saying is they are borderline invasive, too bad they aren't good for hugel mounds. 

I already have 6 seedlings sitting on my kitchen table and I'd hate to waste them.   I have some immature white pines in Zone 9 I wonder If I should just stick them in there for lumber, my shop is heated by a woodstove and my three acres is basically pasture so some tree wouldn't hurt.

Regards, Scott
 
Todd Parr wrote:The key is not letting them get 40' tall.  I am trying to get black locust going for planting on my property, but with the idea of pollarding them to 5 or 6 feet every few years. 

As Duane said, they will root sucker, but that is easily controlled by mowing if you are setting them up in a orchard system.



Thanks Todd!

I always get Pollard and Coppice mixed up.  Can't you cut these trees so they produce straight suckers that are 1" to 2" in diameter and straight.  It would be nice to have some go to wood for tool handles, fencing and stuff around the place.

I've come to the conclusion that I will plant them now it's just which zone.  I have 3 acres and it's mostly pasture so I could put them out by some immature white pines in zone 9.   Maybe one in the orchard, and if it is unruly I'll just cut it down.
(1 like)
 
Scott Foster wrote:Can't you cut these trees so they produce straight suckers that are 1" to 2" in diameter and straight. 


I don't have any experience with black locust up to this point, other than observing them when I find them, but if I were trying to accomplish that, I would plant them very close together and plant other things around them that stay a little taller than they are to make them compete for sunlight, but don't block the light entirely.  You could try it with your white pines, but my white pines grow very fast, so they may outpace the black locusts.  It would still be worth a try though.

I don't understand your references to zone 7 and 9?

What is your location?
 
Todd Parr wrote:
Scott Foster wrote:Can't you cut these trees so they produce straight suckers that are 1" to 2" in diameter and straight. 


I don't have any experience with black locust up to this point, other than observing them when I find them, but if I were trying to accomplish that, I would plant them very close together and plant other things around them that stay a little taller than they are to make them compete for sunlight, but don't block the light entirely.  You could try it with your white pines, but my white pines grow very fast, so they may outpace the black locusts.  It would still be worth a try though.

I don't understand your references to zone 7 and 9?

What is your location?


On the location I was just talking about the permaculture zones in my setup.  Zone 9 is your back-forty where you just let stuff go and where you plant your lumber trees.  Zone 1 is close to the house where you put the nursery and stuff you tend on a daily basis, Zone 2 is your orchard.   The lower the zone number to closer to your living space.  I think I got that from the Bill Moleson book or maybe Gia's Garden.
 
Scott Foster wrote: I think I got that from the Bill Moleson book or maybe Gia's Garden.


You must have the revised edition.  Mollison's zones only go to 5
I merged your stuff with the following thread. I hope that is okay by you.
I was going to use black and honey locust in fruit trios but I see that they get up to 40' tall.   Has anyone used these trees next to fruit trees as a nitrogen fixer?
(1 like)
I would not use those, unless you're willing to keep up with sprouts, some or most of which will be thorny.  Both can get taller than 40 ft. too.   My current favorite for such uses is the common "mimosa", Albizia julibrissin.  It grows as easily as the locusts, though not so large, and is thornless, and equally palatable to ruminants.  Considered invasive in many places, I doubt it could recruit seedlings where I live without irrigation
(3 likes)
In my neck of the woods, black locust pops up everywhere. The thorns aren't too bad, but honey locust thorns are nasty. There are some cultivars of "thornless" locust, but the offspring from those are likely to have thorns.

If it was me, I wouldn't worry about size of black locust, because they tolerate heavy pruning. You can prune keep them virtually any size you want. The wood is rot resistant, so not great for hugels, but it very good for firewood, tools and fence posts. Also, mature locusts produce lots of early flowers loved by pollinators.
 
Rick English wrote:In my neck of the woods, black locust pops up everywhere. The thorns aren't too bad, but honey locust thorns are nasty. There are some cultivars of "thornless" locust, but the offspring from those are likely to have thorns.

If it was me, I wouldn't worry about size of black locust, because they tolerate heavy pruning. You can prune keep them virtually any size you want. The wood is rot resistant, so not great for hugels, but it very good for firewood, tools and fence posts. Also, mature locusts produce lots of early flowers loved by pollinators.

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Thanks for the response.

I have six black locust seedlings sitting on my kitchen table.  I was thinking of putting them in zone 7 but I'll try one in a trio.  I planned on coppicing to get some poles so I'll use a couple in zone 2 and plant the rest in seven. It is interesting that the Honey Locust is the one pushed for no spines. I have already planted a bunch Honeys on the edge of zone 7.  I was thinking bio diversity, pollinator, and hardy.

I have three acres but it has been pasture/grass for almost a century.   Hopefully, the locust will make good nursery plant and do well surrounded by grass.  I plan on using some other nitrogen fixers but they are all still seeds or baby seedlings.
What's Zone 7?
 
Alder Burns wrote:I would not use those, unless you're willing to keep up with sprouts, some or most of which will be thorny.  Both can get taller than 40 ft. too.   My current favorite for such uses is the common "mimosa", Albizia julibrissin.  It grows as easily as the locusts, though not so large, and is thornless, and equally palatable to ruminants.  Considered invasive in many places, I doubt it could recruit seedlings where I live without irrigation. 


That's why a location would be helpful.  Mimosa won't grow here.
 
Todd Parr wrote:
Scott Foster wrote: I think I got that from the Bill Moleson book or maybe Gia's Garden.


You must have the revised edition.  Mollison's zones only go to 5


Wow, I don't know where I pulled that from?  Ok, I meant zone 5( forest) not 9.  I must have mixed up planting zones in my pea brain.   




 
Rebecca Norman wrote:What's Zone 7?


It doesn't exist

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