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Tree of the Week – Honey Locust (Gleditsia triacanthos)

Honey Locust (Gleditsia triacanthos)

The thorns on a native Honey Locust make the thorns on a rose bush look like peach fuzz. But thankfully, while every rose has its thorns, this is not so with Honey Locusts. Most Honey Locusts that you will find have been cultivated to have no thorns whatsoever.

As with the previous trees that have been examined including the Norway Maple and White Ash, the Honey locust is a very common tree. It too is frequently planted along boulevards and in backyards.

Honey Locust

Honey Locusts in the Hamilton Area

Have a peak from your front or back porch and you may be able to recognize the bright yellow foliage on its leaves during this fall season. These trees, like most oak trees, are known to grow as wide as they grow high (an important consideration if you decide to plant one). Its bark is quite unique as it contains large scales on older trees that appear as if they could be peeled off similar to birch bark.

Black Locust

Black locust is the only other locust tree that you may find in this neck of the woods. Black locust is known to have very deeply furrowed grooves in the bark (particularly as the tree ages). Next time you go for a walk through Gage Park or drive through the Delta intersection where Main and King St. intersect you may very well see a large Black locust in the North East corner of the park.

Unlike other widely planted trees such as maples and ash, locust trees don’t have too many major pest issues making them a fairly reliable tree to plant. That and the fact that they are quite resistant to drought and moderate levels of salt may explain why municipalities have planted locust trees in abundance.

And if you are ever looking for firewood, Locust tree make excellent firewood; some people would go so far as to say it is the best wood to use for in home heating.