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Posts: 288
Location: Deepwater northern New South wales Australia
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I think if you are planting and pruning for timber you dont want too many leaders I have made that mistake in the past
 
Posts: 135
Location: Springdale, WA USA - Cold Mediterranean Climate
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I've got 10 of them growing. The older ones are about 4 months old. Some of my pots are being difficult. I've got about 100 days before I can put them out side without risk of frost.

 
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Location: 39.720014, -74.875139 - Waterford Works, NJ
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Do black locusts excrete the same type of anti-plant chemicals that kill off other competing greenery like black walnuts?
 
pollinator
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In many parts of the Southeast, especially on degraded urban and suburban sites, an interesting spontaneous guild can be observed which consists of black locust and bamboo. Apparently the black locust is one of the few trees whose vigor and suckering ability can enable it to hold its own in a stand of spreading runner bamboo (Phyllostachys). Doubtless the nitrogen fixed by the locust is much appreciated by it's companion. The resulting thicket, especially if bordered by blackberry and tangled up with kudzu or wisteria is nearly impenetrable! Nature finding a way to keep humans out and let itself heal....
 
pollinator
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Jennifer Jennings wrote:Do black locusts excrete the same type of anti-plant chemicals that kill off other competing greenery like black walnuts?



No, they do not.
 
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Location: Virginia
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Does anyone have experience with the locust borer destroying or spoiling black locust trees? Any idea how much damage to expect, or whether or not there are ways to mitigate the damage?

I keep getting interested in all of the wonders of black locusts, but get a little timid when reading about the bug damage.

Thanks,

Dan
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
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BL aren't expensive as small saplings (as little as $1), and they are not hard to start from seed (soak in hot water till they swell) so just plant extra if you are worried about bug damage.
 
Posts: 123
Location: West Iowa
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Dan Cruickshank wrote:Does anyone have experience with the locust borer destroying or spoiling black locust trees? Any idea how much damage to expect, or whether or not there are ways to mitigate the damage?

I keep getting interested in all of the wonders of black locusts, but get a little timid when reading about the bug damage.

Thanks,

Dan



I think the best idea is to see stands of it in your area to get a better idea. It could be different everywhere. I know the majority of it that grows around here has been riddled with borer holes, so obviously doesn't have good potential for posts or lumber here. Drought and other stress can cause the trees to be more susceptible to damage. I think forest conditions suppose to help some, and in mixed stands, maybe also on northern slopes, because of the cooler temps. I had a question in my mind , whether or not praying mantis would help much? the locust borer adults come out and mate in august/september when praying mantises are getting large, looks like would be good food source.
 
andrew curr
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Location: Deepwater northern New South wales Australia
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Dan Cruickshank wrote:Does anyone have experience with the locust borer destroying or spoiling black locust trees? Any idea how much damage to expect, or whether or not there are ways to mitigate the damage?

I keep getting interested in all of the wonders of black locusts, but get a little timid when reading about the bug damage.

Thanks,

Dan

The problem is the solution;;;
the carpenter worm or Prionoxystus Robiniae is probably good tucker we have one variety of that moth here known to some indigenous people as witchetty grub and it is a seriously good tasting grub (bit like prawn)
they are worth quite a bit of $ for glamourous resteraunts
 
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Location: SE Wyoming -zone 4
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andrew, ive never heard anyone say that a grub tasted good unless they were talking about the dinner the wife just made them, interesting tidbit there, i may have to look into that...
 
andrew curr
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cossidia is the moths name!
and 2 year ago it got into mature BL trees here they didnt die but they got some big holes in em.
 
andrew curr
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Nice one!
In Aus we import merbau from indonesia There are silly gvt programmes to kill BL and Hl go figure!!
 
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I considering planting some Black Locust seedlings in an effort to start a deliberate coppice rotation for cordwood. I don't plan on letting the trees grow thicker than about 6", because I plan to burn them unsplit. My first question is, does a BL tree coppice well? Next, what should my initial spacing be for ideal growth rates? My understanding is that BL doesn't manage in shade well, but if they are planted in a single or double East West row, how tight could I plant them? How tall should I expect them to grow before they reach a 6" diameter, and how long should that take under normal circumstances? How wet is the green wood once cut, and how long should it weather before it can be expected to be under 20% water weight? Finally, can I expect to plant guild companions around the BL without suppressing it, or should I wait for a year or two before adding companions?
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
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Here are a few of my notes on BL:

Trees sucker freely, especially if coppiced, and they can be used for stabilizing banks etc.
Forms thickets - to promote suckering stab a digging spade around the trunk and that will thicken up the hedge quickly
A very good fuel, but it should be used with caution because it flares up and projects sparks.
Posts: On the best sites, black locust requires 15 to 20 years to produce post-size trees and 30 years to produce 20 cm (8 in) bolts


We were offered some BL from a downed tree and it was so hard my husband swears sparks were come off his chain saw! If you do use it, don't let it get so big you have to split it.

I think there are better uses for BL than fuel and better trees for fuel. What's your location?
 
Creighton Samuiels
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North Central Kentucky, near Louisville. I recently bought 13 acres, most of it wooded. But the woods were entirely unmanaged and difficult to access. The ash borer is killing off a great number of the trees present, and I have huge conifers that are standing dead. It'll take years for me to actually burn what's already present in the thick woods, but I don't really want to depend upon the randomness of the forest as is. I want to have a plan. What other species of cordwood would you suggest for a coppicing cycle? I want something pretty dense, as I intend to use it as a long burn fuel in my woodstove. I'm unconcerned about sparking, but flaring might be a problem.
 
Creighton Samuiels
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I also have a honeybee hive, and the thought of providing bee nectar sources, and the nitrogen fixing nature of BL, also appeals to me. The multi-purpose nature of permaculture and all that.
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
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There are several "permaculture" ways to approach this.

1. Many trees coppice well, but you really want a tree that will serve at least one other function for you. Fruit/nuts for you or your livestock. Mulch, nitrogen, mast, timber...

2. Reduce your need for fuel. My house is 2400 sq ft and wood is our only source of heat. We burn 2 - 2 1/2 cords / year depending on the type of wood and how cold it is. The house is R38 on 6 sides.

3. Reduce your need for fuel even more. We are planning on building a rocket mass heater which should reduce our wood use by at least 50% if not more. With 13 acres, you should be able to heat your home just with branches that fall naturally.

Here's 2 links for high BTU trees:
http://thelograck.com/firewood_rating_chart.html
http://permaculturetokyo.blogspot.com/2006/05/top-10-fuel-trees-for-zone-5-and-above.html ( a rocket mass heater is a very inexpensive version of a masonry stove mentioned in this link).

Lastly, if you've got ash laying around, it can be burnt green.
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
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Ah. We were both writing at the same time.
BL is excellent for bees.
 
gardener
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I followed the link in the middle of Paul's last post. The Hungarians have been growing black locust for 300 years and have developed 49 cultivars. I wonder how many of these improved strains have made it back to North America ? Many are adapted to dry, sandy conditions and were used to control the dust bowl conditions that thousands of years of farming and grazing produced. Some of these cultivars might prove effective in areas with marginal land and rainfall in the American west.
 
Creighton Samuiels
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Okay, so settling on BL as my target coppice species, how much spacing should I allow for BL seedlings that I don't desire to grow larger than 6" in diameter before harvesting? Should I consider a single row on one foot centers, like a living fence row, and just coppice/pollard above fence height? Or should I spread the seedlings out a bit farther, in order to plant companions around & between the BL seedlings?
 
andrew curr
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Dale Hodgins wrote:I followed the link in the middle of Paul's last post. The Hungarians have been growing black locust for 300 years and have developed 49 cultivars. I wonder how many of these improved strains have made it back to North America ? Many are adapted to dry, sandy conditions and were used to control the dust bowl conditions that thousands of years of farming and grazing produced. Some of these cultivars might prove effective in areas with marginal land and rainfall in the American west.


That is a REALLY important point !where are the agriscientists when you need them?plant breeders love legumes(eg Gregor Mendal)
I have some old varietys and some new ones and the differance is amazing!
 
Cj Sloane
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Creighton Samuiels wrote:...how much spacing should I allow for BL seedlings that I don't desire to grow larger than 6" in diameter before harvesting? Should I consider a single row on one foot centers, like a living fence row, and just coppice/pollard above fence height?



If you don't want thick trunks, plant close together in a clump (not just a row). They will grow taller with less branching that way. Pollard if using as a fence. If not then coppice.
 
Posts: 79
Location: Zone 4A
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BL goodies:

I have a stand of about eight trees. Got about twelve suckers this summer. As for control of suckers, I have a leach field next to the stand so I do need to control them. I just cut them with a shovel and put them in the garden. You can also hit them once with a lawn mower and they die. It's no big deal.

The suckers put up with a lot of insect pressure. I have June bugs alllll over them every time I see them. They eat the leaves right off and it all grows back.

People say it's hard to split for firewood but it really isn't. I split a bunch of it that was really old and should be really hard. They pop right open easily. Easier than gnarly wood that splits all weird. They split with such a good edge too. It splits into pieces that are flat as a board.

Great in a salad. Flowers are sugary like peas. Also fun to just eat them off the trees. Watch for the bees!

Shade is just beautiful. Allows plenty of sun for plants. Perfect for the hammock.

It's an old stand, maybe fifty years old. You can tell that the soil is much better where they are. The grass is a million times greener and fuller where they are. The difference is obvious.
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I had a pic of these in a salad, they are really sugary
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Few months growth...
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Few months growth. Looks small but it's over six ft.
 
andrew curr
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my mom has a pink wisteria tree
do you think it would grow true to type>..
 
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Location: Bulgaria, Zone 7/8
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ok, so to follow up on the earlier questions:

approximately how far apart to plant for coppicing for fuel

approximately how long will it take from seed to 6 inch diameter?

Anyone have any experience with coppicing and how fast/thick the branches grow on a yearly basis?


 
Cj Sloane
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A 6" diameter Black Locust is worth much more as a fence post than as fuel.
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
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Also, according to Permaculture 2, Black locust has "Non-inflammable bark" so I think there are better choices for fuel wood.
 
Creighton Samuiels
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Cj Verde wrote:A 6" diameter Black Locust is worth much more as a fence post than as fuel.



Not to me.
 
Cj Sloane
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Why?
 
Creighton Samuiels
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Cj Verde wrote:Why?



Because I don't need fence posts as much as I need long lasting heating fuel.
 
Cj Sloane
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For long lasting fuel, I'm pretty sure 6" BL is not going to fit the bill. You could use it once the fire is going, but that's not the kind of thing that you put on to last overnight, if that's what you mean by long lasting. Fast burning hot fuel, yes.

Wood is my only source of heat, and I have been doing this in Vermont for 21 years so I do have some experience with this. If I want to have coals in the morning, I make a good sized fire and put a big piece on, not to dry, before bed, and then close the damper after it's caught. This does work but is more polluting than leaving it open. I don't feel too terrible about it because we only burn 2 1/2 cords a year. I don't like the house colder than 67.

I do plan on switching over to a RMH and then coppicing makes more sense. But... if you have several acres of woods and a RMH you may be able to just use the sticks on the ground and not need to use the coppice wood for fuel at all.

If you know anyone who has any BL see if you can get a 6" one and try it out.

Either way, it's a good tree to have, especially as a bee keeper.
 
andrew curr
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Margie Nieuwkerk wrote:ok, so to follow up on the earlier questions:

approximately how far apart to plant for coppicing for fuel

approximately how long will it take from seed to 6 inch diameter?

Anyone have any experience with coppicing and how fast/thick the branches grow on a yearly basis?


where are you
A single stem could take any where from 7 to 30 yrs to achieve 6 inches
 
andrew curr
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Margie Nieuwkerk wrote:ok, so to follow up on the earlier questions:

approximately how far apart to plant for coppicing for fuel

approximately how long will it take from seed to 6 inch diameter?

Anyone have any experience with coppicing and how fast/thick the branches grow on a yearly basis?


where are you
A single stem could take any where from 7 to 30 yrs to achieve 6 inches
 
Cj Sloane
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Creighton Samuiels,
This is something for you to consider too. You could still use BL in your coppice rotation but have faster growing trees too. My husband cut down a maple 2 years ago and it's ready to harvest for fuel wood now. I suspect that if it really takes 30 years to reach 6" then that makes sense why it's worth much more as a fence post than as firewood.

andrew curr wrote:

where are you
A single stem could take any where from 7 to 30 yrs to achieve 6 inches
 
Posts: 64
Location: Missouri
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For what it is worth. At my place in Missouri i have several natural stands (maybe 100-200 trees total) of BL that are in the 6-8 inch diameter range at age 15. In forest plantations the tightest spacing used for pine (conifer crowns will tolerate being packed together pretty tight) is usually 5 feet by 5 feet on a square grid. If you are planting locust in a grove I would suggest using a spacing similar to that, even tighter if you wish...but only if you are willing to thin them out at year 4-5. The problem with tight of spacing on deciduous trees is that you can permanently stunt crowns by growing them to closely. There are not very reliable rules of thumbs for spacing of overstory decidous trees in plantings, especially not if you plan to have any sort of multi-layer system. In my observations, BL have thin crowns that let a lot of light through so dense stands can still have good vegetation underneath them. I would try to space them so they have crowns at least 20 feet in diameter at maturity. If you plant them at a 5 x 5 spacing you can select, over time, for the trees that are growing best on your site.

The great thing about coppicing is that most trees should produce a second,usually more abundant, crop faster than the first. This trend should continue for many crops. At crop 2 you will have several stems growing off each stump and each stump has an established root system. The University of Missouri, in the Missouri Ozarks, found that stump sprouts after a timber harvest would grow much faster( I don't recall these numbers) than natural regen and eventually grew to mature saw logs 20-30% faster (this is significant when sawlog rotation is 60-80 years). With the caveat that you must thin your sprouts to 2-3 dominant sprouts per stump around year 3. So while locust will take many years to establish in my opinion it would be worth your effort in the long run if coppice is a goal. I plan on thinning mine for posts in the next few years to let them coppice back.

As to the question of coppicing and how fast/thick the branches grow in a year. I have been trying (mostly in vain) to remove BL from a pasture I have. I have cut them, burned them, and grazed them at strategic times of the year and while I am wearing them down, they are quite resilient. In my experience non-tended BL coppice will grow to 1" diameter (this diameter would be for the bottom 4.5 feet) in 2-3 years (only the fastest growing trees do this) in my pasture, even after being cruelly treated for several years.

On a side note, I have 2 "barns" (more like large 3 sided machine sheds) on my property that my grandpa built 60 years ago. They are built from 6-10 inch BL poles for the frame and roof beams. The barns were built in a hurry so all the poles were stuck in the ground green with the bark on then the building was covered in tin. The same metal has been on the buildings this whole time and the barns are still rock solid. I have dug around the corner posts of the barns and there is hardly anymore rot on the posts below ground than above.

J
 
Creighton Samuiels
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Cj Verde wrote:Creighton Samuiels,
This is something for you to consider too. You could still use BL in your coppice rotation but have faster growing trees too. My husband cut down a maple 2 years ago and it's ready to harvest for fuel wood now. I suspect that if it really takes 30 years to reach 6" then that makes sense why it's worth much more as a fence post than as firewood.



I have about ten acres of thickly wooded hills in Kentucky, including much maple, oak, ash, etc. But my woodlot is random, and I'm thinking of being a bit more deliberate in my plans.
 
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I would very much like to have some black locust seeds to plant or cuttings to propagate.
Would any of you who have black locust be willing to help me out with getting mine started?
I'm just getting started in the Permaculture world, but am willing to barter or buy, whichever.
Thanks,
~Rick
 
Cj Sloane
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I actually found some pods last year in the parking area of the mall. BL pods are smallish, maybe 6" and tan as opposed to HL which are at least 12" and very dark red/brown.

Seeds are pretty cheap though. I bought 1000 for $20 from amazon including shipping.
 
Rick Berry
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I found seedlings for sale from nurseries, but it didn't occur to me to check Amazon. Thanks!
 
Hey, sticks and stones baby. And maybe a wee mention of my stuff:
Binge on 17 Seasons of Permaculture Design Monkeys!
http://permaculture-design-course.com
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