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I see you guys talking about black locust a lot. I have 2 big ones at my place and several around us, some of them very big. None of them bloom at all. Near one of my outyards, there are a few black locust trees that all bloom and are covered with bees to the point you can hear the tree humming. That makes me wonder if there are different varieties of black locust or not. Do you all see this from time to time (some trees just not blooming) or are there different varieties?

TIA
 

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I don't know much about black locust, but some trees have both male and female flowers, some have only male and some only female. I know the white tupelo are either male or female, bees work the male and not the female, for some it's the other way around. Maybe your black locust are the wrong gender for the bees. Just a guess
 

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My experience is that they are just sporadic. Some years real heavy, some not at all. Here in Florence area right now I see pockets of them blooming nicely while others are not flowering at all. There are many varieties of trees that look a lot like locust. Are you sure they are black locust? Honey locust never have showy flowers and look like black locust, but they are easily identified by HUGE thorns growing on the trunks of the trees. They also have big seed pods in the fall (10-12").
 

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My experience is that they are just sporadic. Some years real heavy, some not at all. Here in Florence area right now I see pockets of them blooming nicely while others are not flowering at all. There are many varieties of trees that look a lot like locust. Are you sure they are black locust? Honey locust never have showy flowers and look like black locust, but they are easily identified by HUGE thorns growing on the trunks of the trees. They also have big seed pods in the fall (10-12").
This has been my experience as well. Last year we had a great black locust flow. This the trees in Big Stone Gap, as far as I could tell, did not bloom at all this year. There were a few blooms on the locust trees in a neighboring town. The neighboring town is to the north and at a much higher elevation.

One thing I might add is, some of the black locust "cultivars" do not bloom at all.

On a side note, I would like to have a honey locust. Although I have been told the bees work honey locust very little, if at all.

Shane
 

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This has been my experience as well. Last year we had a great black locust flow. This the trees in Big Stone Gap, as far as I could tell, did not bloom at all this year. There were a few blooms on the locust trees in a neighboring town. The neighboring town is to the north and at a much higher elevation.

One thing I might add is, some of the black locust "cultivars" do not bloom at all.

On a side note, I would like to have a honey locust. Although I have been told the bees work honey locust very little, if at all.

Shane

why would you like to have a honey locust if the bees don't work them. I have several, I would prefer the black locust variety.
 

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why would you like to have a honey locust if the bees don't work them. I have several, I would prefer the black locust variety.
We have lots of black locust in our region. There are three in my yard. I would like a honey locust because the pods are edible. To both humans and livestock. That is the main reason. Plus, anything armed with six inch thorns is cool in my book.
 

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Some Honey Locust don't have the thorns. It is a variety that is commonly grown as an ornamental shade tree. The scientific name for the original thorny Honey Locust is Gleditsia tricanthos. The thornless one is Gleditsia tricanthos "inermis" (which means "unarmed" - that always tickles me.)

JC
 

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I do see our bees working the native honey locust trees on our ranch in S.E. Oklahoma for short periods in the Spring.

Personally, I'm not a fan of honey locust at all. The are VERY prolific and spread out across your land very quickly! If you cut one down, it'll sprout 10 more trees from its roots. You get flat tires on your ATVs/buggies all the time from fallen branches that you accidentally run over (if you don't run "green slime" in your tires).
 

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Normally black locust is a very reliable major nectar source in my area - not this year though. I guess it might have to do with the lower than normal winter temps.
 

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I have black locust that never bloom, and I think it has to do with the amount of sunlight they get. Trees growing along the edge of a forest or in an open area where they get six or eight (or more) hours of full sun bloom like crazy. Mine are shaded, growing slowly as understory trees, and have never bloomed.

They do propagate from the roots, though, and a cultivar that never blooms can persist for a very long time without ever producing seeds.

Unless the weather is bad (cold and raining while the BL is in bloom) we get a nice crop from it. Walt Wright reports that typically in his area the bees are building up and restoring the overhead reserve honey band when BL blooms and he does not get honey from them. Too bad, it's light and tasty and in good years the bees can fill a couple supers per hive during the bloom here.

Peter
 

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Is the honey a straw color? Without much floral flavor? The Black Locust bloom just ended here (lasted about two weeks) and I just had to harvest two combs that were only half capped because of a comb collapse. The Tulip Poplar is blooming here now too but I think I read that it produces a darker honey and this is really light. It almost looks like syrup "honey" but I haven't fed since last fall and don't know of any beekeepers nearby (and why would they feed during a flow anyway).
 

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Black Locust just stopped blooming around here and the Honey Locust is getting ready to pop. The bees will work the Honey Locust hard when it is in bloom but I believe the Honey Locust isn't as widespread as the Black Locust so it isn't considered an important flow tree but it's an important tree in my area.

With all the different varieties of Locust it isn't uncommon to see examples of either type that don't bloom, are thornless or even half thornless or some with slightly different colored blooms.

I have no idea what pure Honey Locust honey would be like since I have never pulled any frames that I could pinpoint to being only Honey Locust. Pretty much all my Spring honey is light though.
 

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Locust honey is water white...clear. will not granulate. Locust trees are easily frozen. Not winter temps but later spring freezes and bow 31. The first thing out on a dormant tree in early spring when the module opens is the bloom pod. If the module on the limb opens a little and the blooms nose is stuck out then its a gonner if temp goes below freezing. This year in KY especially east of i65 see had extensive freeze damage. Trees may not look like they are far enough along to be damaged...you need to get up close and look. Watch up close next year as spring comes. The two or three days of really warm weather got most trees with bloom paid barely stuck out then the 25 to 29 degree low froze it. Late blooming trees a d those where warm pocket were survived. Hence little or no bloom. I have a early blooming tree I watch...totally killed and one late bloomer 50 feet away...good bloom. If we had not had the two days of near 80 before the freeze all would Been OK. Winter trmos don't affect it...its the late cold. Watch the trees next year up close ...you can see what I'm saying...
 
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