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Looking for seeds from honey locusts

 
pollinator
Posts: 1559
Location: Denver, CO
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I'm looking for seeds from honey locust trees that are thornless (or nearly so) and bear pods heavily. It would be a plus if they were in Colorado or other locations on the front range. I realize that these traits will not dependably continue from seed; I'm looking for material for a mass planting and selection program, to create a high yielding, thornless landrace adapted to Colorado; I'll just chop out any thorny ones. I'm planning to grow them for a year or two, to eliminate weak ones and thorny ones, and then find landowners who want to plant them out for shelter-belts or habitat, in locations where I can have access to for ongoing evaluation.

I also realize that thorns might deter browsing, but they can also puncture tires and feet; I'd like these trees to be at least somewhat friendly; a little temporary protection till they get above browsing height seems like a good compromise.
 
pollinator
Posts: 2226
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
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I did some extensive research into honey locusts a while back. You might like to dig up the old book "Tree Crops" which you should be able to find in pdf format.

One of the things I found was that young honey locust trees may start out with extensive thorns but as they mature they end up nearly thornless. So seeds from a mature "thornless" tree might not have the traits that you want.

Also, if you are after honey locust for the fruit, there is a huge variety in sugar content. Some of the historic very best varieties have sugar content as high as 20%, which others are much lower. If you were to purchase one tree of known merits it would be a simple matter to propagate via root suckers.
 
Gilbert Fritz
pollinator
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Location: Denver, CO
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Also, if you are after honey locust for the fruit, there is a huge variety in sugar content. Some of the historic very best varieties have sugar content as high as 20%, which others are much lower. If you were to purchase one tree of known merits it would be a simple matter to propagate via root suckers.



You're right about that. I'm especially interested in seeds from trees that were bred for pod production. The reason I'm willing to chance it on seedlings, and willing to chop out the majority of them, is that I want to get the genetic diversity. I did read the book tree crops, and I've tracked down two of the improved varieties discussed in the book, but to me it seems dangerous to plant extensive groves of just two cultivars; all it would take is one disease to end up in trouble, and given my climate, diversity seems particularly important.
 
steward
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Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
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Gilbert, keep your eyes open as you drive around town. Last fall I saw a honey locust on E 62nd and about Downing street, east of Washington.  An old tree that was loaded with pods.  After they had fallen to the ground I raked up two large trash bags full and there were still tons left behind.
My brother and sister in law planted seeds in cups, after sanding them a little bit, and got 100% germination. They will be planting the trees in Wyoming to see what happens.

Anyway, you might be able to find an old tree around town somewhere like this, that is just what you are looking for.
 
Gilbert Fritz
pollinator
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Hi Miles,

I'm doing that; I've found four trees so far that look good enough to be included, and I've harvested a hundred pods or so.
 
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