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Have any Black Locust fence posts anyone ?  RSS feed

 
gardener
Posts: 1588
Location: latitude 47 N.W. montana zone 6A
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Hi All;  Two winters of 5' of snow have done in our garden fence.
Its all been removed , everything is tilled and some is planted.
I need to get the fence back up! Really hate the thought using of treated posts, also hate the thought of replacing untreated posts every 4-5 years.
I've planted my own black locust, but i'm 10 years from having any fence post material.Especially since I want rmh wood as well.

Is there any body out there in the western Montana area that has 1/2 dozen black locust posts ???  No posts... but you got a big locust tree ?  I'll come cut it for you ... Seriously, I am willing to pay or work if any one has extra black locust just cluttering up the place.
 
gardener
Posts: 1825
Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
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Is black locust the only good wood for fencing that grows in that area? If you're going to have your own source in ten years, maybe something else can just fill that gap.  
 
thomas rubino
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Location: latitude 47 N.W. montana zone 6A
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Hi Casie;
 Oh yes,we have many choices this is inland rain forest, heavy timber country.  Cedar , red fir , western larch, lodge pole pine.  Of them all the cedar would last 5-7 years.  What we don't have is any true hard wood. Birch, Alder, hemlock ,mountain maple are just not the same.
I can't tell you how many times I have built fences here. But after 35 years I hoped to have one that wouldn't fall down.
Black locust is not common here but it is here. The town of Missoula has quite a few.  Maybe a cordless ego chainsaw in the dark of night...  downtown missoula...  and after a lengthy stay in our state prison...
  I was hoping someone planted 20 years ago or even better would have been somebody with a homestead who wanted an entire tree cut up. (help feed my RMH)
Alas it seems that another "temporary" fence will surround the garden (as I have an aversion to residing in a state prison...)+ and I can watch my locust grow while the lodge pole posts rot away. Maybe I'll be lucky and my locust will reach fence post size before the garden fence caves in again...
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Grow faster grasshopper
 
Casie Becker
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Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
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Thanks for the picture.   I wouldn't have been able to pick a black locust from a line up.  If you lived in Texas you'd probably  be able to source mesquite trees from ranchers who'd be happy for someone else to tackle the thorns. Is there any kind of ranching community in your area?
 
thomas rubino
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Location: latitude 47 N.W. montana zone 6A
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Hi Casie;  Eastern Montana is ranch land, similar to parts of Texas. Western Montana is heavy forest with mainly national forest land.  My buddy suggested drill steel ...  
 
Posts: 85
Location: New Zealand
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Thomas, are you expecting to get fence posts from that pictured tree in 10 years? Will it have enough heartwood by then?

I've done a lot of planting of durable trees here too, and some people talk about using them at 10 years old, but my experience is that it would take some pretty special genetics to have durable heartwood in 10 years on most sites. I'm mostly growing Eucalyptus, and even the best trees I've got seem to have a massive increase in heartwood percentage starting at ages from 15-25. Robinia is slower growing in my climate than Eucalyptus, so I'm picking my Robinia will be 20-30 years old before adequate heartwood. If they grow that much faster there, I wonder why?
 
thomas rubino
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Hi Ben;
I'm hoping 10 years ... your most likely spot on about it really taking 15-25 years.  My only source of information is on line.  I certainly will be getting firewood by 10 years.  I have read that black locust thrives in my northern climate if it gets full sun.   We shall see.

The other thing is personal vanity...  I'm 60 years old... if i say 10 years I can still see myself building fences at 70...  but if I think 25 years then i'll be 85 and I hope i'm NOT building any fences then!  I hope at 85 I am still burning my rmh and looking out the window at my 10-15 year old black locust fence..

I also have a line on some local(missoula) 5-6' tall locusts whips that would mature faster.  
 
Ben Waimata
Posts: 85
Location: New Zealand
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thomas rubino wrote: I'm 60 years old... if i say 10 years I can still see myself building fences at 70...  but if I think 25 years then i'll be 85 and I hope i'm NOT building any fences then!  
I also have a line on some local(missoula) 5-6' tall locusts whips that would mature faster.  




I hear you on that one, most of what I'm doing now will be for the benefit of next people who farm this place and not for me, but it's still the right thing to do. If I'm still around at 85 I probably be so worn out I will not be capable of putting in a fence even if I want to.

Why will these new locust whips be faster, genetics or because the size they're at now? Robinia is a tree I've been interested in for 30 years, but there are so many examples of bad trees in this country it's hard to commit to growing them unless I was confident they would grow straight for me. I wish someone had done some serious genetic work on this species to get straight trunks and less thorns. With N-fixation and good flowering, Robinia is close to the perfect tree, but not quite.

This is what my Eucalyptus look like at 10 years in the ground, never been pruned or looked after in any way since planting. It makes it hard to get excited about other genera unless they can compete with this growth.


 
thomas rubino
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Nice trees Ben! My wife wanted to know if you have koala bears eating on them... she dreams of visiting N.Z. , but hates flying so she will never go.
The robinia whips in missoula do not have better genetics (that I know of), they are just bigger than my little guys.  They also were grown here in the NW versus the east coast bare root stock I started with. Of course digging them up and transplanting will put them into shock so... who knows how well they will do.
I agree , would have been sweet if somebody had worked with this genetically  to reduce thorns and have straighter growth. If they had we would have forests of robinia again like we did here 200 years ago.  In Virginia they have historical buildings built in the 1700's with black locust posts in the dirt and they are STILL supporting the buildings ! WOW!
I was 27 when I bought this property , I wish I had known about robinia then ...By now,  I would have had a thriving fence post bushiness and a small sawmill cutting premium boards, as well as all the rocket mass heater wood I would ever want!
Well dream into this hand and XXX  in the other and see which one fills up...  I'll start the dream late and the next guy can decide if they want to continue my plan or they can attempt to cut down the thorny buggers !
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