Black Locust Tree

Black locust trees, like many plants this year, had a beautiful and extended bloom.

Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) are found in abundance along our roadways or any area that receives full sunlight. Black locust trees have a large, white compound flower that has a very pleasing aroma. The locust is a medium-sized tree that often grows in disturbed areas or in abandoned fields that are reforesting by natural means.

Black Locust Tree
Credit: - Mike Kay

The black locust belongs to a group known as “pioneer” or “early successional” trees because they are the first individuals to colonize old fields. Locust trees grow quickly, and do not live very long compared to other trees. Pioneer species establish the initial forest canopy, then give way to longer lived, larger growing trees in a process known as “forest succession.” Black locust can grow on a number of sites, especially very acidic soils. For this reason, locusts are often used in land reclamation projects. The locust tree is a nitrogen fixer, so it can take nitrogen out of the air and deposit it in the soil, making it more fertile. Locust wood is very hard and rot resistant; it is often used for outdoor fence posts and makes excellent firewood. Locust honey is also prized for its sweet taste.

The locust leaf is fed upon by locust leaf miner in late July or August. This feeding activity turns the leaf brown which gives the tree a sickly appearance. Despite the appearance, the damage does not harm the hardy locust tree.

Article by FCFCDB member

Nature Note for 3/4/2018