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Thread: Black Locust!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Nashville, TN, USA
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    32

    Default Black Locust!

    I'm sure this has been beat to death somewhere here, but I haven't come across anywhere that specifically covers my question. It looks like I'm going to have some land to plant on and I'm really interested in Locust...the problem is that I can't seem to find anywhere that states how long it takes for seedlings to bloom.

    I was interested in tulip poplars until I learned that it would be 15-20 years before I could expect forage for my bees. Now I'm happy to plan(t) for the future, but right now I'm more interested in shorter-term investments. I already plan to do clover/alfalfa in the fields, but the idea of nectar producing trees is very appealing to me.

    To reiterate, how many years until I can expect Black Locust seedlings to bloom?

    Thanks,
    Brandon

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    New York City, NY
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    4,308

    Default Re: Black Locust!

    Seedlings? You should really buy trees from an nursery. They should already be more than a few years old.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
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    Pleasant Shade, TN
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    438

    Default Re: Black Locust!

    bsharp,

    The answer to your question depends on the soil. I personally have seen black locust bloom at 2 and 3 years of age. But what you need to consider is the amount of forage you are providing with trees vs legumes. You would have to plant hundreds, even thousands of trees to make a difference in forage. Also, black locust grows everywhere across our state. I'm sure there are plenty of locusts in your area within the 8,000 acres that your bees will be foraging. No worries there for sure. The legumes will be the most bang for your buck simply due to bloom density. Good for a dearth too.
    It won't hurt anything to plant trees, but it won't make a huge difference until everyone in your area did it. You actually have a large amount of forage in your area already.
    A man is worth just as much as the things about which he busies himself- Marcus Aurelius

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Kingston, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    247

    Default Re: Black Locust!

    Best for Middle Tennessee would be sumac species, clovers, Hollies, privet and basswood trees. You likely have enough Tulip Popular trees in your area. Black locust is a short lived tree and a questionable honey source most years in middle and eastern Tn.
    Last edited by UTvolshype; 01-28-2014 at 04:56 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA, USA
    Posts
    174

    Default Re: Black Locust!

    you might want to check out Kim Flottum's Better Beekeeping whose planting plan includes both trees and ground plants (like legumes).

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Northern Kentucky
    Posts
    24

    Default Re: Black Locust!

    Black locust is a legume and blooms prolifically, when it does. That is the down side to them. They may only have a really good bloom every 4 or 5 years. Then it only lasts about 10-14 days. Once you get them established they grow like weeds, really. They expand from suckers off shallow roots. I have seen trees as small as 4' in bloom

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Bloomington In
    Posts
    790

    Default Re: Black Locust!

    If it were me I would plant something that would bloom late in the year, locust bloom in the spring along with every thing else.

  8. #8
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    Jun 2012
    Location
    Bloomfield,KY
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    272

    Default Re: Black Locust!

    The biggest problem with Locust is that they bloom early in the season. If the temps go below 40 they stop producing nectar, or at least that's what I've been told. I am in central KY and many years the bees don't get to work them due to weather, i.e. rain, cold temps, and such. For faster return clovers and such will give quicker results. Basswood are also good trees for honey but like Locust they can be sporadic. I would check on bee bee trees, I have no experience with these but it's my understanding they are reliable producers and bloom in just a few years. Honeysuckle bush, not vines, can be good producers in certain soil types in others not so much. The mint family are good nectar plants also and bloom mid summer here. Planting for just bees isn't making good use of your land and resources, IMO. I would plant something that I could harvest and sell to get a better return on my investment like fruit trees or something.
    "Of all God's creatures, only the honeybee improves its environment and preys on no other species."--Haydon Brown

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Manassas, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    769

    Default Re: Black Locust!

    Plant 'em? My experience around our WV site is that they are the first tree to colonize an open field, and they grow like weeds. Until we decided to take up beekeeping I was pulling up every one we found on our property. Fortunately there is no shortage in the surrounding area.

    I'm also starting to appreciate all the huge poplars around here.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Lexington, VA, USA
    Posts
    57

    Default Re: Black Locust!

    I cut down a small stand (4 trees 30' that were dead and dying) of black locust on my property. This was five years ago. I now have a stand of about 20 locust in a nice grove like configuration that came up as suckers from those roots. They are about 10-12' tall and half of them bloomed last year. The bees loved them but they got washed out in a week of rain. There is another grove on my property of about 25 trees that are about 7 years old and 12-15' and have yet to bloom. So I guess the answer as to how long to bloom is like so many things in nature-it depends.
    We are letting our open lands revert to a natural state (about 6 acres) with some management to weed out undesirables to a certain extent and planting a lot of shrubs for their quick "turn around time". You might want to look at shrubs and hedgerows.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
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    S Hadley, Massachusetts USA
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    685

    Default Re: Black Locust!

    In my state of Massachusetts, it is a prohibited plant. Illegal to sell plants or seeds or propagate.

    There has been a large push to remove it from the environment. It has become an very invasive non-native plant.

  12. #12
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    Aug 2007
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    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
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    Default Re: Black Locust!

    This might be interesting to you :

    http://www.coldstreamfarm.net/p-127-...udoacacia.aspx
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  13. #13
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    Jul 2013
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    Pleasant Shade, TN
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    Default Re: Black Locust!

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael B View Post
    In my state of Massachusetts, it is a prohibited plant. Illegal to sell plants or seeds or propagate.

    There has been a large push to remove it from the environment. It has become an very invasive non-native plant.
    I had no idea that it was a non-native there. Wow. You learn something everyday!
    A man is worth just as much as the things about which he busies himself- Marcus Aurelius

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
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    Mifflin PA USA
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    66

    Default Re: Black Locust!

    Quote Originally Posted by TalonRedding View Post
    I had no idea that it was a non-native there. Wow. You learn something everyday!
    I am from NH, and it sure was native there, so I am not sure how it wouldn't be native in MA.

  15. #15
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    Nov 2011
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    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
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    Default Re: Black Locust!

    An interesting history of the introduction of black locust to Massachusetts and likely other New England states:

    http://arnoldia.arboretum.harvard.ed...sachusetts.pdf
    -- Victor Hugo -- "Common sense is in spite of, not the result of, education.

  16. #16
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    Jan 2014
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    Mifflin PA USA
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    Default Re: Black Locust!

    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post
    An interesting history of the introduction of black locust to Massachusetts and likely other New England states:

    http://arnoldia.arboretum.harvard.ed...sachusetts.pdf
    Interesting, I had read of colonists using it for fence posts, much like we do here, a post will outlive a man. I am still wondering why some would call it invasive if it has in fact been there over 200 years at least. It is great fire wood here too, good seasoned black locust is a HOT fire.
    While on the subject of this tree, I used black locust posts and boards to place my hives on, I was even thinking of how rugged a few boxes made out of it would be, it would last near forever and wouldn't need paint. The Amish here will cut you any size boards you want of it. We have a lot of it here, and I still wouldn't call it invasive.

  17. #17
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Black Locust!

    >There has been a large push to remove it from the environment. It has become an very invasive non-native plant.

    It is a native American plant. It would have been planted in MA sooner or later by someone, I'm surprised the American Indians didn't beat the colonists to it and then the colonists would have thought it was native... in fact at that point in time it would be. This whole take that everything non-native is evil is a very interesting view since based on current beliefs that would send all Europeans home and get rid of all the honeybees...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  18. #18
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    Pleasant Shade, TN
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    Default Re: Black Locust!

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    >There has been a large push to remove it from the environment. It has become an very invasive non-native plant.

    It is a native American plant. It would have been planted in MA sooner or later by someone, I'm surprised the American Indians didn't beat the colonists to it and then the colonists would have thought it was native... in fact at that point in time it would be. This whole take that everything non-native is evil is a very interesting view since based on current beliefs that would send all Europeans home and get rid of all the honeybees...
    Our student chapter of The Wildlife Society had an open forum discussion on this very topic when I was in school. I approached the topic with the same point of view and question you just asked. I used the same logic and applied it to all of us, our dogs, cats, livestock, crops, popular flower varieties, etc.... LOL, the silence that followed was deafening! Needless to say, it absolutely killed the discussion and everyone went home. From that point on, the discussion was allocated to the topic of "invasive exotics".
    A man is worth just as much as the things about which he busies himself- Marcus Aurelius

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Lexington, VA, USA
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    57

    Default Re: Black Locust!

    I agree. The earth is evolving and has been since it's inception. In that context "native" would have to be viewed in relation to a time period. Most probably everything was "non-native" at one point. Man is part of nature and if his/her actions cause a plant/insect/animal to establish in a given locale
    that doesn't mean it is bad and should be eradicated.

  20. #20
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    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
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    3,823

    Default Re: Black Locust!

    Black Locust won't grow in Montana, at least on the cold side of the mountains.

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