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q about black locust root availability  RSS feed

 
Posts: 11
Location: marengo county, al
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Lately, I've reading a good bit about black locust trees and their benefit of improving soil (preventing washouts, improving the nitrogen, etc.). I have a lot of non-native invasive plants on my land (wisteria, mimosa, kudzu, privet), wisteria being the worst in my opinion. The wisteria is climbing up trees, pulling them down, and covering the open spots preventing native plants from growing. I plan to eradicate (is that the right word to use?) this stuff to best of my ability. After doing so, I am planning to plant black locust and black walnut (along with some oak and hickory).
While reading about it, I have found different varieties of the black locust that perform better at resisting the damage caused by the boring beetles, the main one comes from an old company (?) called The Steiner Group. They are said to also grow straighter and taller than others. I understand that planting them closer together makes them grow this way to fight for the sunlight (more or less). Do any of you here know where to get root cuttings from these varieties?
I appreciate any information that can be provided.


Nate
 
pollinator
Posts: 1737
Location: Toronto, Ontario
114
bee forest garden fungi hugelkultur cooking rabbit trees urban wofati
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Just as an aside to your question, I was wondering if you were aware that mimosa and kudzu are in the same family, and while I am certain kudzu fixes nitrogen into the soil, I am fairly sure mimosa does as well. So keep that in mind when proceeding with your eradication measures. Kudzu can also be quite popular with certain livestock.

I was also wondering if you were aware about allelopathy in Black Walnut, and also, I believe, in Eucalyptus, although I need to double-check that, living in Toronto, Canada, as I do.

Wisteria is lovely, until it's overgrowing everything you care about. But it, too, is in the fabaceae family and fixes nitrogen.

So what you have are three types of plants that are currently seeking to remediate what they see as poor soil, in all likelihood. What you are lacking is something to out-compete them.

I would probably focus more on the privet. I don't know what variety you have, but when spread by hungry bird populations, it can be, um, prolific. Your other undesireables are at least fixing nitrogen in the soil, and sequestering it in themselves.

If you'd like, I will contact my cousin in Texas and ask if there's someone she likes for sourcing black locust. But while you're looking for your black locusts, what are you planning for your land?

In the mean time, keep us posted, and good luck.

-CK
 
nate sherve
Posts: 11
Location: marengo county, al
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Yea, I understand that kudzu is edible for livestock, which I may get into in the future, but is non-native and invasive. Wisteria has nice flowers, but nothing other than that )in my opinion, and is pulling trees down on my property (literally). Mimosa is also non-native and very invasive. Perhaps they all help with nitrogen, but I have a thing against non-native plants. It's chinese privet on my land. As far as black walnut, I do understand that it can suppress some other plants, native or not. It is a native tree and not invasive. Black locust is invasive, but will, at some point be over grown. Also, livestock will eat it...as well as deer, which are plentiful in my area. If you don't mind, I would appreciate if you asked your cousin about about this. Thanks for your reply.
 
nate sherve
Posts: 11
Location: marengo county, al
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Also, I hope I didn't come across in a negative way. I've been told in the past (not on this site, I don't think) that I do. I could use excuses, but I prefer not to. Once again, thank you for your reply.
 
Chris Kott
pollinator
Posts: 1737
Location: Toronto, Ontario
114
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Oh, not at all.

I try to use natives first wherever they will do the job as they should be adapted to the specific microclimate. I just don't use ag labels like native, noxious, invasive, and weeds.

I also don't make the eradication of everything that doesn't fit on a small list narrowed by collective temporal bias my chief priority.

I focus on soil-building and overall vitality. I also stress diversity, so yes, I keep controls on species that could otherwise be aggressively competitive, but I don't discriminate to the degree some nativists prefer.

I, too, am occasionally labelled as harsh, or unknowingly abrupt and cold. I don't get it.

-CK
 
Posts: 298
Location: SW PA USA zone 6a altitude 1188ft
18
trees
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Musser Forests in PA has Honey locusts, they say they're thornless but some do have thorns.

For the difference between Honey and Black Locust here's a Permies thread:

webpage

The price per 100 is 74 cents ea. at the hundred rate or 45 cents at the 300 rate.

They also have a good selection of Oak and Maple and also the Black Walnut. They don't get into fruit trees, but do have Elderberrys cheap, $1.57 at the 10 rate. I might also suggest the Wild Black Cherry, the furniture/firewood cherry, which they say will grow is zones 3-9, at least according to them.
 
nate sherve
Posts: 11
Location: marengo county, al
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John, I definitely know the difference between the two locust trees. Honey locust grows quite a bit around my land. I'm not particularly fond of it...I've had a couple of the needles on one nearly go through my hand. I didn't notice the tree until it was too late. My brother in-law had one pierce a tractor tire...They have their places, but I don't plan on planting those ones.
 
pollinator
Posts: 468
Location: 6a
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Hi Nate,  the black locust that grows straight may be the Ship-mast locust.  Edibleacres on youtube talks about it in one of his videos.  I know he sells plants and trees.  A worst-case scenario he could direct you to a source for purchase.

I have planted regular black and honey locust but they were planted last year so can't give much info yet.  I ordered a purple robe locust as a specimen but haven't planted it yet. 




 
John Duda
Posts: 298
Location: SW PA USA zone 6a altitude 1188ft
18
trees
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Nate:

I posted the link because I used it myself, I'm quite familiar with a plant I only know as Locust. It winds up the tree I've only heard referred to as a Locust is a Black Locust. I was pointing out a source of a different tree, so I posted the link to the differences as I had it open for myself. I've dealt with Mussers for several decades. I'm guessing the reason they offer the Honey and not the Black Locust is that a lot of people don't want the thorns as it seems neither you or I appreciate. I can't plant anything with thorns even a blackberry. I'm on a blood thinner and quite frequently am on steroids. When I'm on the steroids I can't even shave with an electric.

Anyway I don't have another source to recommend. Good luck.
 
pollinator
Posts: 322
Location: SoCal USA
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If you plant them close together, that will encourage straight growth. Then as they grow and the canopies get too close/start to touch, you can thin out the weakest ones and leave the stronger to keep growing. I've heard beetles tend to focus on older trees, so depending on the use you might not need to worry as much about that.

I bought 1 pound of black locust seeds from Schumaker: https://treeshrubseeds.com/specieslist?id=382&ID2=-1&k=robinia and will soak them for about a day then plant at about 10 foot spacing, with the goal of coppicing them for firewood and construction down the road. Depending on how fast they grow I hope to coppice on a 5-7 year rotation, to feed a RMH in an Oehler/wofati inspired building.

You might get away with even closer spacing but transplanting will disrupt the roots and BL are notorius for sending up suckers from disturbed roots. Which could be a good thing, if you plant a bunch and then propagate root cuttings from the most desirable.
 
nate sherve
Posts: 11
Location: marengo county, al
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Mark, yea, I've read about planting closely helps them to grow straighter with fewer low branches. About the beetles, I've read that they tend to go after younger ones that are under stress...which would make sense since stress can cause weakness. However, where I work (overseas) there are black locust trees all over the place, and the older ones often do have beetle damage to them. I don't know if it's the same kind of borer though, since that one is native to the State's.
I am still considering purchasing seeds. They are at a much lower cost, and easier to come by. I have come across a website that sells the seedlings at a fairly low wholesale price (http://ripleycountyfarms.com/seedlings.htm). They are in Missouri, though...which is pretty far north of Alabama.
 
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