Black Locust Tree
It’s hard to think of a tree that is at once so beautiful, beneficial, and easy to grow as the black locust tree. Not only does the black locust offer tremendous wildlife value for bees, mammals, and birds, but it is also helpful for nitrogen-fixing and erosion. Because it grows so fast and is also easily propagated, you can use it for land reclamation. Additionally, it is easy to grow since it survives droughts, severe winters, and tolerates different types of soil. Moreover if you are interested in using it for livestock feed, its nutritional content is equivalent to alfalfa.
Although the black locust tree is native to southeastern North America, it is widely naturalized in the temperate regions of North America, Europe, and Asia. Since it has the strongest timber, settlers used it to build Jamestown and also for the navy ships. Even though many have not heard of it, it is rising in popularity.
- The black locust tree is useful for land reclamation, forage for wildlife, and lumber. Additionally the delicious edible flowers are a source of pollen for bees. In fact in Europe these trees are the primary honey plants.
- Even though their flowers are edible do not eat the leaves, stem, bark, or seeds since they contain a toxic compound. Because of their beautiful fragrant flowers, they are also perfect ornamental trees.
- Moreover, if you plant it on slopes or near water, its lateral root system which extends 1.5 times the tree’s height will help with erosion.
- Lastly, it is a great plant for nitrogen fixing. However, because of how easily it spreads, it can outcompete and exclude other trees and native prairie and savanna plants.
- Size/Shape: At maturity, the height of this tree will be about 40-60 feet. Therefore, space the trees about 20 feet apart if you plant in a group.
- Color: The trees create beautiful fragrant white drooping flowers in the spring.
- Hardiness Zones: 4-8
- Pests and Diseases: Although the wood of this tree is naturally rot, decay, mildew, and insect-resistant, it is susceptible to the locust stem borer.
- Bloom Period: This tree blooms in May and June.
- Pollination: This tree cannot self-pollinate and relies on birds and insects like bees for pollination.
- Cultivation: These trees can grow in full/partial sun. Moreover, they can tolerate many different types of soil which makes it the perfect choice to plant. Not only can it survive in infertile and acidic soil, but it can grow in soils with a pH between 4.6 and 8.2. However, waterlogged soils will make it hard to grow.
- Wildlife Value: This tree has a very high wildlife value since it offers forage and animals like squirrels, quail, and birds eat its cover and seeds. Additionally it is an abundant source of pollen for bees.