Win a copy of Bioshelter Market Garden this week in the Market Garden forum!
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • James Freyr
  • Nicole Alderman
  • Anne Miller
  • r ranson
  • Mike Jay Haasl
  • Dave Burton
  • Pearl Sutton
stewards:
  • paul wheaton
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Joseph Lofthouse
garden masters:
  • Steve Thorn
gardeners:
  • Dan Boone
  • Carla Burke
  • Kate Downham

All things Black Locust

 
Posts: 76
Location: Seboeis Plantation, ME
5
forest garden
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I ordinarily sell lots of black locust seedlings.  This is the last year I will have them.  My state has banned them starting next year.  Maine is such a large state with significant differences in growing zones from south to north.  I wish they had excluded the northern parts of the state,at least.  If anyone is interested.  In bundles of ten, they are pretty inexpensive. https://jiovi.com/collections/plants-for-permaculture-gardens-all/products/black-locust-robinia-pseudoacacia?variant=13796421315
 
pollinator
Posts: 256
Location: NE Slovenia, zone 6b
42
dog forest garden books cooking bike bee medical herbs homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hey,

I'm looking for some practical help regarding growing black locust from seed. Actually mine is R. neomexicana but I would say that's close enough

The thing is that I managed to germinate quite some seed using the near-boliing water + soaking treatment. I put the sprouted seed into large pots and what with all the springtime moving between various locations one of the pots got forgotten in a dark place. The little trees did grow but became badly stretched; let's say 4 inches from soil level to the first leaves, very thin, can hardly support their own weight.

My question: is it OK to plant them deeply, burying them almost to the leaves (like one would do with a tomato for example) or is that a bad idea for the robinia family?

THANK YOU.

(Another one of the pots managed to be outdoors when a late frost came. It actually took that in stride and is in good shape. I was amazed because I've often seen the damage late frosts do to grown black locust trees. Good job little guys.)
 
Posts: 698
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
65
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

tel jetson wrote:after reading Ben Law's The Woodland Way, I decided to try out a traditional forestry practice called "shredding".  I'm not very familiar with this practice, but it involves removing the branches, leaves, and tops of living trees toward the end of summer.  the leaves still have plenty of protein in them at this point and, depending on species, make good food for critters.

so, having previously read about trials of black locust hay, I tried this out on a small stand of black locust this weekend.  I left the branches laying in the sun for a day, then cut the leaves off and piled them in the hay loft.  our goats love the dried leaves.  I'm hoping that I gathered enough to get them through the winter without buying in hay.

it was a lot of work, but I think it will be easier next year, as the branches that grow back will be smaller.  after a few years of this, I'll start harvesting the stout poles that will result.  I'll use them for round wood building and firewood.  new stems will sprout from roots and the whole thing should keep humming along indefinitely.



This shredding exercise is a very interesting concept when you consider that if forces the tree to self prune its root system. In a Nitrogen fixing tree, this means subsurface Nitrogen release. It's like extreme chop and drop.
 
Posts: 69
Location: Zone 4B, Maine, USA
12
forest garden books chicken homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hello All,

I've been searching on this and have not yet found an answer.

I'm reading some old USDA guides on growing black locust. They claim that black locusts growing in soils with a dearth of the right rhizobial species (i.e. suppressed root nodule formation) were much more susceptible to the locust borer and it's damage.

I'm planting black locust started from seed as nursery trees in an apple orchard I'm starting this year. The closest black locust I've seen is about three miles away. I can find zero information on which species of rhizobia play nice with black locust and no one sells a "black locust inoculant."

Whatever those species of rhizobia are, I doubt they're flourishing where I'm planting because nothing is flourishing there, not even the weeds :) Who knows if there's ever been any black locust on the land. The only one I know of (three miles away) is there because someone intentionally planted it.

Does anyone have any experience with this? I'd love to give my trees the best chance against the borers I can because the borer is here, but wheel bugs are not.
 
gardener
Posts: 1290
Location: Maine, zone 5
404
forest garden trees food preservation solar wood heat homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Tom DeCoste wrote:I ordinarily sell lots of black locust seedlings.  This is the last year I will have them.  My state has banned them starting next year.  Maine is such a large state with significant differences in growing zones from south to north.  I wish they had excluded the northern parts of the state,at least.  If anyone is interested.  In bundles of ten, they are pretty inexpensive. https://jiovi.com/collections/plants-for-permaculture-gardens-all/products/black-locust-robinia-pseudoacacia?variant=13796421315



Tom, this ban really, really does stink.  Down here in southern Maine black locust has fully naturalized.  When you consider that we're just outside of it's native range and with climate change there's no way it wouldn't have spread here naturally anyway (and that some of our native tree species are starting to perform less well here and will need to move north) then you really have to question the logic.  It seems to mostly be emotionally driven by ideas of how things are "supposed to be".  Big question is, how the heck do you fight unreasonable bans like this?  These plants that were banned have now spread to the point where people spreading them has nothing to do with how they disperse.  Nature is spreading then at rates orders of magnitude greater.  I can't buy a black locust or an autumn olive even though they are all around me and literally billions of their seeds are being dispersed every year.   Anyone have any ideas on how to eliminate ineffective bans like this?
 
Posts: 49
2
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I got about 6000 seeds in mail a few months ago. how close can I plant Black Locust trees together when planting into a new swale?? I do plan on chop an drop and copice them later. are there any issues with planting them closely together in a swale. I don't have money to buy other the many different variety of trees at this time, but I want to get something in the ground.
 
Bobby Reynolds
Posts: 69
Location: Zone 4B, Maine, USA
12
forest garden books chicken homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Martin Bernal wrote:I got about 6000 seeds in mail a few months ago. how close can I plant Black Locust trees together when planting into a new swale?? I do plan on chop an drop and copice them later. are there any issues with planting them closely together in a swale. I don't have money to buy other the many different variety of trees at this time, but I want to get something in the ground.



I've found various guidelines online. These have been the most helpful website write-ups:
https://www.treeplantation.com/black-locust.html

http://www.twisted-tree.net/black-locust/
 


Here's a great, old USDA write up on the matter by a fellow named William Mattoon:
https://archive.org/details/CAT87204001

I actually had to capture the text out of that and turn it into a PDF to make it more user friendly. But lots of good info in there!

I'm planting mine 50 feet apart, but that's because they are nursery trees for standard apples(basically everything spaced at 25 feet apart).

One recommendation in the above material for a tree farm is 800 trees per acre (~15 foot tree spacing) then logged to 50% density at ten years (400 trees per acre, ~ 30 ft spacing), then the whole crop is harvested at 20 years.

In Fukuoka's "The Way of Natural Farming" he recommended planting Australian black wattles (I consider the black locust roughly equivalent to his use of acacia) along streams/swails/irrigation channels, about every 60 feet. This was because of the black wattles' extensive root system (which can reach 60 ft in diameter for a tree that's only 30 ft tall - and that is achieved in only five years!). I have no idea if the black locust root system is at all analogous with the black wattles' root system.  

Hope some of that helps!
 
Posts: 115
Location: Eastern Ontario
23
cattle trees tiny house composting toilet wood heat greening the desert
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Is there a thornless variety of black locust?

I coppice my BL for fuel wood.  The thorns are a real PIA.  If we could breed a thornless variety it would make a great tree even better.
 
gardener
Posts: 2291
Location: latitude 47 N.W. montana zone 6A
306
cat pig rocket stoves
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Last spring I bought 3 bare root black locust shoots. Dreaming of fence posts and RMH wood.
I planted them in gallon pots on the porch for the summer.  One thrived , one lived and the third didn't make it.
At the end of the summer I planted them in their new location.  All I had on hand to protect them was some rabbit wire... with the thorns and my valiant golden retriever, I hoped the deer would stay away.  Alas... the dog was off some where, no doubt with one or two tennis balls in her mouth , the thorns merely showed the doe where the next bite was....  before the snow buried them they were bare stalks with thorns !
While reading this wonderful collection of wisdom on permies this winter (and thinking I would need new locust starts in the spring ) I came across a photo/video of a young BL stalk in with the goats. Totally bare stalk. Apparently not a problem. I had hope that if a black locust sprout could survive and thrive in a goat pen then no silly white tail doe should be able to  permanently hurt one.
Here they are this May.  Other than the very top of each shoot they are growing like crazy!  Take that momma deer!
DSCN0291.JPG
[Thumbnail for DSCN0291.JPG]
Black Locust in the spring
DSCN0290.JPG
[Thumbnail for DSCN0290.JPG]
Black Locust in the spring
 
Posts: 294
Location: SW Missouri
45
hugelkultur duck trees chicken pig bee solar wood heat
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
How do you guys deal with the thorns on black locust? There's so many so close together that it seems unusable for a coppice firewood for a rmh.  I planted one three years ago and it's huge now, probably close to 3 inches in diameter but tons of thorns and thorny trees popping up around it. Seems like a terrible tree.  I have quite a few honey locusts some are thorny but the thorns are spaced very far apart and easy to deal with. Most of my honey locusts are wild thornless. Seems like a much better tree.
 
steward
Posts: 28848
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
hugelkultur trees chicken wofati bee woodworking
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This was just posted by "Curt B." to my youtube video about black locust:

I have a 15 acre Farmstead in the western North Carolina Mountains. When I moved in here there was a white bunch of rusted barbed wire fence on black locust posts. The previous owner of the farm said they had been in there at least 30 years. I pulled all of them out, as I was repurposing them for a 5 wire high-tensile goat fence. I don't think a single one of them was rotten, some where big and some were smaller but they were all split black locust posts. After putting a few hundred of them back in the ground and getting ready to string my wire, I realized I didn't have enough. I went back to the previous owner and he told me that he had another two or three dozen lying under the trees at the edge of the forest. I went over and sure enough were a bunch of black locust posts on the ground, and had been there since they were cut and split over 30 years ago... covered with leaves, all wet and nasty. Just about every single one of those posts was okay and I used the majority of them to finish my fence. The only time we had problems with some that were rotten was not from the wet but from ants that had gotten into some of the knot holes and stuff like that and then once they got inside the post, over dozens of years they were evidently able to start eating it from the inside out. one fellow down below commented he heard that a black locust post will wear three holes in the ground and that is absolutely true. There are some good YouTubes about how to split posts, check them out and if you have black locust you want to split them so that they are 4 to 5 in in diameter, but they sure are strong and the smaller ones are just as good.

 
pollinator
Posts: 142
Location: Western Idaho
38
earthworks greening the desert ungarbage
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
well look at this little guy, I just noticed this little sprout the other day. Since it's in the middle of the road I transplanted it since it would eventually just get ran over. I noticed roots going off in the direction of the nearest patch but those are probably 50 feet away, anyway, I hope the transplant was a success, I'll see next week when I make it back to the property. This is the first black locust I've seen in the middle of this access road, I've been driving on it to get to my little cabin, perhaps a compaction response? I thought it was nifty..
DSCN1138.JPG
[Thumbnail for DSCN1138.JPG]
Black-locust-sapling-Robinia-pseudoacacia.jpg
Black locust sapling--Robinia pseudoacacia
Black locust sapling--Robinia pseudoacacia
DSCN1140.JPG
[Thumbnail for DSCN1140.JPG]
 
Jeff Marchand
Posts: 115
Location: Eastern Ontario
23
cattle trees tiny house composting toilet wood heat greening the desert
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Eric, once the wood has dried the thorns fall off when brushed with a gloved hand. It makes for excellent firewood.
 
Aaron Tusmith
pollinator
Posts: 142
Location: Western Idaho
38
earthworks greening the desert ungarbage
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Cant sleep, thought I would update this little locust I transplanted earlier this spring, its doing great in its new home. It struggled for a while as I was only able to make it to the property a couple days per week, but with a good much layer and some shade it settled in nicely. Looking forward to seeing it grow next season.
Transplanted-black-locust-sapling-Robinia-pseudoacacia.jpg
Transplanted black locust sapling - Robinia pseudoacacia
Transplanted black locust sapling - Robinia pseudoacacia
 
pollinator
Posts: 284
Location: Ozarks
66
homeschooling goat dog tiny house chicken cooking building solar wood heat homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Our State Nursery sold them up until a couple of years ago. I wish I'd have bought some when they had them. They're considered a bit of an intrusive plant here in the Ozarks.

I was wanting them for fence posts. They do have osage orange which are also good, just not as prolific
 
steward
Posts: 3498
Location: woodland, washington
121
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

John Pollard wrote:They're considered a bit of an intrusive plant here in the Ozarks.



isn't black locust native in the Ozarks?
 
Aaron Tusmith
pollinator
Posts: 142
Location: Western Idaho
38
earthworks greening the desert ungarbage
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This is a close-up of a batch of black locust seeds I processed this morning. They look very cool with their different sizes, colors, and patters, seeds are amazing.
Black-locust-seeds.jpg
Black locust seeds
Black locust seeds
 
Posts: 109
Location: Medina, OH
11
forest garden trees writing wood heat homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Loony K wrote:do you ever have a problem with locust borers?



We experience periodic challenges with locust borers (NE Ohio, Zone 5b) - but most of what I've seen has been in cultivated varieties such as Robinia p. 'Purple Robe'

I haven't paid close enough attention to straight species, nor do I think it would really matter much to me if what I've planted developed borer issues.
 
steward
Posts: 3612
Location: Kingston, Canada (USDA zone 5a)
436
purity dog forest garden fungi trees tiny house chicken food preservation woodworking
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
For the thorn issue, my experience is that once the trunk get to 2-3 inches in diameter, it has no thorns, only the branches do.

I wonder if a pair of gloves like these with metal in the leather would help.

 
paul wheaton
steward
Posts: 28848
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
hugelkultur trees chicken wofati bee woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Has anybody dug up a black locust that might be five years old or so?  A black locust that was started on that very spot from seed.   I'm asking because I suspect that no black locust ever has a tap root, but since it does so extremely well in dry conditions, I thought there could be a chance of it.  
 
Adrien Lapointe
steward
Posts: 3612
Location: Kingston, Canada (USDA zone 5a)
436
purity dog forest garden fungi trees tiny house chicken food preservation woodworking
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My guess is that they don’t or if they do, it develops later. When I transplanted mine a few years ago (see pic), I could see the nitrogen fixing nodules, but no evidence of a taproot. In comparison, similar size apple trees or hickories clearly have a taproot.



The other possibility is that because I grew  the seeds in a wooden box, the taproot got stunted.

I wonder if there is literature on this.

 
Rob Kaiser
Posts: 109
Location: Medina, OH
11
forest garden trees writing wood heat homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

paul wheaton wrote:Has anybody dug up a black locust that might be five years old or so?  A black locust that was started on that very spot from seed.   I'm asking because I suspect that no black locust ever has a tap root, but since it does so extremely well in dry conditions, I thought there could be a chance of it.  



Dig the shit out of black locust...but try to refrain from doing so in the fall.  Spring dig works well, and they don't need many roots to thrive upon transplant.

You'll also likely see a tremendous amount of shoots growing from the remaining roots in the ground.  

General rule of thumb in the industry is 12" inches of root ball per inch of trunk caliper for a balled and burlapped plant - but you could *easily* get away with half this for a black locust.

Don't even worry about retaining soil on the roots, it's not necessary.  They'll take just fine.  I've hand dug trees up to 2" in diameter and transplanted with about 8" diameter of cut roots only.

Also, FWIW - do *not* try pulling them out with a tow strap and a tractor.  Ask me how I know, lol
 
tel jetson
steward
Posts: 3498
Location: woodland, washington
121
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

paul wheaton wrote:Has anybody dug up a black locust that might be five years old or so?  A black locust that was started on that very spot from seed.   I'm asking because I suspect that no black locust ever has a tap root, but since it does so extremely well in dry conditions, I thought there could be a chance of it.



I would guess that their root structure is a strong function of conditions.

I have dug seedlings up from a sandy/silty site that gets pretty dry in the summer. while none had one perfectly straight, downward pointing main root, they all had at least one stout root that appeared to be headed in a generally downward direction. and deep enough that it was more work than I was interested in to investigate just how far down they made it (or to remove the roots intact without a serious excavation).
 
God is a comedian playing for an audience that is afraid to laugh - Voltair. tiny ad:
Switching from electric heat to a rocket mass heater reduces your carbon footprint as much as parking 7 cars
http://woodheat.net
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!