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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
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    Lyons, CO
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    We're planning a honey locust tree for the yard. It'll be a thornless/seedless variety I belive. Does anyone know whether male or female honey locust trees produce better or more forage for bees? Or whether the less weird cultivars (like with their spines and seedpods) are any better, for bees or for ease of cultivation?

    <edit> And do the seeds (if I got a female one that seeds) do anything for bees? I've read that the pods are sugary, and make good fodder for cattle/pigs/goats whatever. I didn't know if anyone had heard of bees foraging significantly on the seeds, might be a later source of forage?
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
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    Sawyer, Michigan, USA
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    If it is a thornless and seedless variety it might be a sterile hybrid variety? Wild Dogwood trees provide nectar, but the hybrid variety used in landscaping are sterile they look good but offer nothing for the bees.We have a lot of Black Locus trees in our area and they provide excellent honey.
    The Busy Bee teaches two lessons: One is not to be idle and the other is not to get stung.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    mountain home, ar, usa
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    378

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    I WISH the wild dogwood trees provided nectar in our area. I've never seen a bee on the dogwood in Arkansas, and we've got tons of them. I could get a fantastic crop of honey if there was a flow.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    If you want nectar and a fast growing thornless tree, I'd plant a Tulip poplar. The black locust is the good honey producer but it's also the one with the thorns. A black gum will also make a lot of nectar.

    I'd have doubts about the use of any seedless variety to the bees. But I don't really know.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Western Pennsylvania
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    The honey locust name may be a bit deceiving because it is not a good honey plant. It can fool you because the showy bloom can be spectacular but it does not produce abundant nectar. The name I’m guessing derived from the sugary fruit that the tree produces and not for it's honey producing qualities. I have collected seeds from this tree for planting for the wildlife, but due it not being a good nectar source, it does not get planted in prime locations.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    White County, Arkansas
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    872

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    How about a Tree of Heaven or just a maple (silver which can be invasive like our was, red or sugar)?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Lyons, CO
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    Though the bees (naturally) are a consideration, we're looking for a medium-height tree to provide modest shade, fairly rapid growth, little maintenance and drought tolerance. I like that the leaves will not need raking. It's to help shade an area of our lawn that just gets microwaved by sun and the grass would take daily watering to keep alive. Some forage is a bonus; we have a peach and then a crabapple in the spring and the rest is "outside the yard" for now...
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    White County, Arkansas
    Posts
    872

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    Have you tried the Arbor Day Foundation? They can at least give you an idea for your area and the dimensions you're looking for. I believe it's www.arborday.org for their website.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Conway, AR
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    I have been observing our honey locust trees for years. Some years a few of them will produce a magnificent crop, while most years they hardly bloom. I've watched one tree especially since one year when it was covered with bees (I thought a swarm was up there). It bloomed that one time and hasn't since. I have a stand of about 30 trees of various ages. At this point in my observation, it looks like they bloom once and quit. One indication of there being a nectar flow is the seed pods. Every tree that was covered with bees this year is loaded with seed pods. Those that didn't don't have any. This includes trees that were covered in past years.
    The Honey Locust isn't rated as a nectar producer in one of my references (our Honey Locust have thorns that will puncture a tire).
    You have to be careful when going by general statements, because the soil conditions affect how significant a plant is as a honey producer.
    An example this spring was the blackberry blossoms. I heard reports from all over the east how much the bees were working the blossoms. Here in Arkansas, at my location, we indeed had a fantastic bloom. It lasted for weeks and I never caught a bee working one single one.
    Jon, N6VC/5

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Western Pennsylvania
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    > You have to be careful when going by general statements, because the soil conditions affect how significant a plant is as a honey producer.

    Yes, the honey locust can produce some honey in areas of rich soil. But speaking in factual general statements now,
    The honey locust does have good nectar and bees will forage from the bloom. But is not equal to the black locust no mater what soil it is in. The bloom period is also too short to obtain a large surplus, for this reason, it is not considered a good nectar plant.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Conway, AR
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    439

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    Naturebee,
    Not only is the nectar flow short, but, a little rain while blooming and it's shorter still.
    The local bee group was estatic this spring over the nectar flow. The first real good flow in four years was a comment I heard. The only plant that was different in that window that I observed was the honey locust. This is not anything scientific.
    Jon, N6VC/5

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Perkasie, PA
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    Tulip poplar and apple trees (wasps not withstanding) are a better choice. Black locust makes a ton of mediochre honey.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
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    Lyons, CO
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    <edit> after further review and thanks to feedback here; I think we're going to look into black locusts. Do seedless (podless) cultivars have any reduction in nectar production?
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Conway, AR
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    Please don't regard my comments as an endorsement for planting Honey Locusts. I am simply relating my experience with a few volunteer trees residing on a couple of acres around my apiary. I would gladly trade these finicky trees for something that could produce a reliable nectar source. I wouldn't waste time cultivating them.
    Jon, N6VC/5

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    West Newton, Pa.
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    916

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    Aspera,
    I'll take a "ton" of black locust honey over clover honey any day of the year. My regular customers love it too.
    Be Yourself, Everyone Else Is Taken!

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Perkasie, PA
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    That's great for you. I was simply expressing my opinion. Personally, I do not care much for locust honey. I also happen to enjoy forest honey and goldenrod which few people find appealling.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Western Pennsylvania
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    I'm with carbide, black locust is a premium grade honey that is extra-light pleasantly mild flavor. It's the heavy body, smooth creamy texture that no other floral honey has except for tulip honey, that makes it so good!

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Sawyer, Michigan, USA
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    I agree with Naturebee, about Black Locust honey, I was over joyed when the black locust trees in my are had a very heavy bloom this year. When people hear that I have black locust honey they stand in line to buy it. Black locust is the largest member of the Pea family of plants. It grows fast and has a small leafs, the wood is very hard I understand that ship builders use to use it because of it’s tough qualities.
    The Busy Bee teaches two lessons: One is not to be idle and the other is not to get stung.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    mn, wi, tx
    Posts
    174

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    Look also at the linden trees, as they produce prolific bloom with much nectar mid-june. Might be a good option for you. There are a number of different Linden varieties.

    Also, the seed pods on the black locust are no problem. Just mow around the tree and they are gone. The black locust seed pod is paper thin. This contrasts to the Honey Locust which has a thick, long, spiralling seed pod.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Conway, AR
    Posts
    439

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    The seeds don't seem to be very digestible either. After they fall in the fall ( the racoons and opposum scarf them up. All the poop you see after that is loaded with the undigested seeds. I guess thats why I have so many volunteer trees in the bee yard.
    If anyone has black locust pods I would sure like to try some.
    Jon, N6VC/5

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