Growing Apples with black locust

I planted some sea buckthorn hoping to achieve something similar. The buckthorn did not do well for one reason or another and moving forward I will be encouraging the spread of clover to help fix nitrogen under my trees.

There is a thread with a lot of good information on nitrogen fixing cover crops here:

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i had mine growing in gravel and it grew fast. only mulched around it a few years then it took right off. i didnt like the taste of the berries so i removed them. i might put another pair in of the newer cultivars to try again. they prefer poor well, draining soil.

there are shorter varieties of pea shrub that only grow to 6ft. i got the seeds from esty. i also have autumn olive. speckled alder fixes N but tends to spread and form thickets.

Any idea if deer dislike your homebrew fertilizer?

I believe the jury is still out on this. Studies have shown honey locusts tend to get more nitrogen than they should, and they survive in nitrogen poor soils better than non-fixers. The soil around them has been measured to have elevated nitrogen levels, more so than non-fixers. They don’t have the nodules of other fixers, but formations inside the roots seem to suggest they have a primitive nitrogen fixing mechanism different from nodules.

Basically, it quacks like a duck, but it doesn’t look like other ducks.


I really like black locust personally. It’s one of the few trees which can be established on sandy soil in central texas without irrigation and it grows about 10ft/year here despite the drought. I’ve been inter-planting them with persimmons and in 1/4 acre clearings I made in some thick cedar/yapon brush, hoping to shade out the understory and make the land more navigable. It’s too early to say how bad of a problem the suckering will be, but I’ve read that the suckers are completely shade intolerant and the stems seem to lose their thorns after about 2 years, so as long as there’s canopy of trees I don’t think there will be too many thorns at ground level. I can’t imagine it would be any worse than the native yaupon and greenbriar at least.


Black locust are difficult trees to kill if you were to go that route. However, I found it’s best to cut them in late summer and then apply a mix of 20% triclophyr and 80% diesel. Just make sure the roots aren’t interwoven with any desirable plants, because it can be transferred between intertwined roots. I have not had it kill other trees but it’s possible that it could.

I just keep thinking that if I had space for a locust tree I could better use the space for another fruit tree.