Black locust propogation

I have done root cuttings, planted in spring and didnt emerge for 1 year.

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Locust or Mulberry are the go-to for posts and/or firewood in my neck of the woods. Not much Osage Orange around here. As far as honey, Locust is definitely good. Sourwood is common here and they make great honey from it. Also Basswood or as my grandfather called it “Lin”. Poplar makes for darker honey, which similar to grocery store fruit, probably turns people off. It has a milder taste though, very good.

Large/old Black Locust around here are becoming scarce, mostly all have died.


That makes complete sense as Basswood is related to the Linden tree.

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Never burned osage orange. My brother is in Kansas and knows it, but I don’t. My grandfather used to make bows with it, called it, irrc, “bowdark”.


Somebody should tell the OP that there’s no interest in trees in this group …



Brian, I did both root cuttings and hardwood cuttings this spring and none of the hardwood cuttings rooted. The three root cuttings rooted well (see Black Locust from Root Cutings ) and one is growing. Based on Jesse’s experience above I guess I’ll mark those other two and hope they grow next spring. The best have been two young ones I transplanted from the grove fall before last. They’re looking good. Sue


Sue, that’s what I would have expected.

Wdingus……love the sourwood honey.

And, yes, if it’s a year with a good bloom and the honeybees don’t have clover or poplar or blackberries or something else they find more ‘rewarding’ than black locust…
then some yellowish low moisture honey with a subtle pleasant flavor can be obtained.
(The locust bloom, rather like alfalfa, is a bit of a challenge for the bee to get into for the nectar.)

Finally, linden is the Latin, and basswood is the common name for the same tree. Too rare in Kentucky, the native trees in the forest of American Linden are few and far between…but you can’t beat the wood for baskets or wooden berry cups.

Actually, I missed that…“tilia” is the Latin.

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There are thorn-free cultivars of black locust as there are for honey locust.

I’m not sure - does black locust lose its thorns high up in the tree? I believe grafting this mature wood from up in the tree is what they do for honey locust.

There is a blue/purple cultivar of black locust that the city planted in the parking in our neighbors yard. Nice tree and so far no suckers.

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We cut down a cluster of black locust and pulled the stumps, maybe 20 trees. The remaining roots spread out over 30 yards and are sprouting like crazy. We’re mowing it regularly to prevent them from re-establishing. These are in the field we’re clearing for the orchard and aren’t something I want close by considering how they spread naturally by roots.


The purplish one is a hybrid. I actually have one in a pot growing it to a larger size.
The one I have is called Purple Robe…and somebody has a patent on it.


Zone 4b here but have seen zone 3 temps two years of the 8 I’ve lived here. (I’m not sure what to make of that) I think Osage orange prefers warmer climates. If not, yell at me…it’d be great to have some! My soil is deep, sandy, and glacial. Soil tests describe my soil as “mineral!” (I’m working on that.) All of this points to BL being a decent choice to grow here, especially with the rate of growth of the specimen in my garden. I’m feeling like open space between trees and orchard with planned brush hogging may be the plan.

Big question I just thought of… does BL harbor disease/insect problems for apples and pears?

How rare are thornless BL?

As for firewood, after reflection, I don’t think it makes much sense to plant BL with that in mind. By the time the trees are big enough to burn, I’ll be old enough to know better or will be pushing daisies. Meanwhile, I’m harvesting big beech like crazy before they succumb to beech bark disease. It’s truly tragic to see them all going one by one. Of course, beech is the best wood I can get! Two seasons to dry, burns hot, long, coals great, and doesn’t bury me in ash.

Honey: The woods above me are filled with linden. Year after year, my honey is the only one locally (among the bee club) that consistently lacks the ‘bite’ or sharpness that seems to come from others’ hives. I’m guessing ‘bite’ comes from wildflowers. My bees start hitting the woods when they can pull pollen from the maples and never look back at nearby fields. All summer, I can sit beneath the hives watching them head straight for the woods… never in the opposite direction. The planned BL hedge will be opposite the woods, relative to the hives…would the girls find the BL? I would think so, but who knows. Another super light nectar source wouldn’t hurt, but I think the bigger benefit of the flowers would be for giving an early start to the wild pollinators. If I got a boost on the honeybees, great, but I don’t think it would make a huge difference.

On beekeeping in the north, since I’m already rambling… :slight_smile: I’m frequently amazed at others’ posts on bees from warmer climates. Here, the bees are effectively in the hive in survival mode for a solid 7 to 8 months. They are able to forage for colony growth from roughly the end of April through the start of July, get 4 to 6 weeks of explosive nectar flow, then can forage for sustenance from early/mid August through frost, mid/end September. Those 4-6 weeks are crazy! This year, my largest hive was doing great. I added two supers, let them be for about 7-10 days. In that time, they filled both supers with nectar. Times like that, I think of people in the south that talk about pulling honey in June. If only I could… they pound on the nectar unblievably fast, but don’t have the time to ripen it. The result is often absurd. One year, one colony rose to 11 supers. This year, my big hive got stuck at 9. I’m betting it would have broken the record, but I simply ran out of equipment!

Bringing the rambling back to BL… when I say BL wouldn’t make a big difference in my honey production, it’s because of what I just described. 1) the populations of the hives are relatively low when BL blooms 2) any BL nectar will get dominated by the massive volume that will come during peak flow and 3) even if the girls collected enough nectar to fill some frames, they never cap frames until August anyway.

I think I just hijacked my own post!


Is that BL? I imagined the flowers were white. With purple flowers… now I gotta!


Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae

Hosts: Black locust is preferred, but apple, birch, beech, cherry, elm, hawthorn, and oak may also be attacked.

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I have a big area of suckers of my thornless blk locust strain that i plan to do some transplanting with soon. I think i will drop a plow on them and turn them up and then gather them roots with my pruners. I could try to mail you a packet of root cuttings to plant this november or march. I imagine if you just planted foot long roots with one side coming up to the surface they would sprout and grow. They make a nice tree and are very vigerous.
But then again a state forestry service may supply bulk packs of nice seedling trees for cheap. But if you want to try thornless root cuttings let me know!


Wow… cool! Sadly, for me, the prospects of doing planting in November (possible to do, but would likely have snow on the ground and that’s my busiest time for the things I HAVE to do) or March (ain’t gonna happen with frozen ground and a potential of multiple feet of snow on top) are rough. Now, if roots could be stored in the fridge until mid April to early May… then things would look good for planting!

(Random stuff from today… picked 3 pounds of black currants for a mead that’s in progress. In the midst of this, I hear bees. Lots of bees. I walk to the hives to find a smaller colony having an outdoor excursion. Either they’re doing some practice for a swarm or I just witnessed one heck of an orientation party. Either way, it was great to sit in the grass and watch for awhile…they never cease to amuse me!)


Oh ok yeah we probably can dig more like early to mid october or early april, which one fits your schedule better?


Early April, hands down!

Thank you!


I have been filling my van with cut black locust logs from work. I Just split a load for my inside fireplace insert. It reminds me of a lot of Osage orange with the color and hardness to it. I burned a lot through the years in my outdoor stove. It gives off great heat. It does well for preserving itself too. The Amish used it for pegs in their barns because of strength and how long it lasts.


The easzyest method I have found of starting black locust is from seed.
The seed is cheep as per here for example

$7 / 24,000
That’s a lot of seed.!
They have a hard seed coat that needs scarification.
Battery acid works well ( sounds bad I know )
20 minutes soak in acid , rinse, rinse again with some baking soda, to make them safe to handle , direct sow where you want them about last frost.

I did this 30 years ago , along fence lines and other areas,
I have a LOT of nice posts.

Mine are thorny when young, not when older


I have started black and honey locust from seed using just below boiling temperature water. Soak them overnight after and they will swell, indicating readiness for planting and germination.