Hardiness: USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 °C (-40 °F) USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 °C (-35 °F) USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 °C (-30 °F) USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 °C (-25 °F) USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 °C (-20 °F) USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 °C (-15 °F) USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 °C (-10 °F) USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 °C (-5 °F) USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 °C (0 °F) USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 °C (5 °F)
Sun Exposure: Full Sun
Danger: Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling
Bloom Color: Pale Green Green Inconspicuous/none
Bloom Time: Mid Spring Late Spring/Early Summer
Other details: May be a noxious weed or invasive Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season
Soil pH requirements: 6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic) 6.6 to 7.5 (neutral) 7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)
Patent Information: Non-patented
Propagation Methods: From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
Seed Collecting: Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored
On Sep 20, 2012, danelady from Las Vegas, NV wrote:
I inherited this tree with the half acre of land that I purchased my house on in Las Vegas Nevada. I was not aware of what type of tree it was. But after some reading and research on the internet and help from websites like Dave's Garden, I was able to figure out what it was. After reading several reviews, I must say that I was surprised to hear any negatives on this particular tree. I have one that is thornless. It does send up some suckers, but no big deal. I just mower them over with the lawn mower. The tree is absolutely beautiful. It has a somewhat lacy ferny look to it in the spring. Summer you can't beat the shade that it provides from the scorching sun and it stands up the the horrific dry winds without losing any of its beautiful true green color and no burning of the leaves is a definite plus. And it still keeps that delicate graceful look through the whole summer. Not to mention that it doesn't require any more than average watering from the lawns sprinkler system and about once a month in the summer an over night slow drip with the garden hose as a extra treat to with stand the heat. In the fall it produces a few (not to many about 30) long dark chestnut color pods that look incredible against the leaves that have turned a gorgeous golden color. The kids love gathering the pods and we have broken them open and planted the seeds and had much success in growing new little Honey Locust Trees to share with others. In the winter it does lose its leaves, but they are very small and do not need to be raked up and quickly turn into mulch to help fertilize my lawn. The growth rate has been moderate to fast, which I think is a bonus, as it has provided some great shade to cool down my house and given me areas to plant some ferns and bulbs under its canopy. My tree is about 8 - 9 years old and about 5 to 6 feet taller than my two story house. I really can't find anything negative about this lovely tree.
I would highly recommend it to others. Especially here in Las Vegas, it is nice to see some trees that are out of the ordinary and that produce some fall color.
The honey locust was known to the Cherokee as kalasetsi. It was one of their principal sources of a sweetener. In modern Cherokee, usually Anglicized as kalseji, the word has come to mean sugar or candy. The name of Cullasaja [NC] is derived from kalasetsi, so that a reasonably good translation would be "Sugartown." More detailed information can be found by Googling "Cherokee Place Names."
On Aug 7, 2010, lindalouok from Ann Arbor, MI wrote:
Horrible tree. Yes, it looks beautiful, but if you do not use chemicals on your lawn, it will sprout from suckers all over the place. It is INVASIVE and should not be used or planted. Unfortunately, my supposedly green city of Ann Arbor plants/planted these trees in the easements, furthering the use of chemicals by many homeowners.
I am a South African farmer and we have 40-60 year old Honey Locust on the farm as a fodder reserve. Very positive experience -as they grow in clay, survive drought and even survive complete ring barking by goats.
Pods drop exactly the right time and ruminants kill any suckers. Trees survive PH of 4 and 600mm of rain, 40 C summers and -10 winters.
The trees were planted by a grandfather as a experiment, and it has paid off. I now want to experiement with the Millwood cultivar. If there is anybody that can assist with graftwood would appreciate it a lot. Want more pods, faster growth and all the good stuff. Prefer thorns.
On Dec 18, 2009, davecito from Carrboro, NC wrote:
I gotta defend the honey locust.
Like many, if not most leguminous trees and lianas (mesquite, kudzu, pacay, many others), they can spread very aggressively, and can be very challenging to eradicate, so know what you're getting into, and do not be careless in where you plant it.
There are thornless cultivars, so if you want a mature plant, that's what to look for.
This all noted, they are handsome trees, with great foliage, which is beautiful in the fall.
They are also another sweet legume: like pacay, tamarind and mesquite, the pods are both edible and sweet. The beans themselves are nearly worthless, from a culinary standpoint, as they degenerate into slop when cooked. But the pulp in green pods is delicious. Do not confuse the honey locust with the black locust, which is toxic, and is native to the same areas.
The mature pods turn a deep reddish brown color, become woody, very tough and inedible, due to fermentation that gives them an acidic odor; the pods apparently have some use in beer making, perhaps for this reason. The dried pods might make for a good, instant percussion instrument - the beans rattle in the pods like maracas.
I began some seedlings from dried pods collected in my town - they are street trees in parts of downtown. The seeds germinated in a few weeks with no pre-treatment, and have been steady, but not aggressive in growth. They develop a fairly deep taproot even when very small, so transplanting into a deeper pot will be needed within a month of sprouting. The seedlings have petite compound leaves that slowly unfurl, like fronds on a fern.
Even though mature (and young) plants are very hardy to cold, they need steady watering when young, and the lanky seedlings are quite vulnerable to wind damage, so when young either provide good shelter from wind, or keep in pots indoors until they become a little sturdier.
On Aug 6, 2009, napdognewfie from Cumberland, MD (Zone 6a) wrote:
Lots of these trees grow here. Very popular for fence posts because they don't rot & for firewood because it burns hot & for a long time. Bees love them & Locust honey is wonderful. The flowers smell like heaven & perfume the air all around when in bloom. Very pleasant to sit on the porch & enjoy them.
On Apr 12, 2009, Wolfgang_E_B from Fulton, MO wrote:
This tree grows wild all over Missouri's woodlands and meadows. When I first moved here, I discovered a row of them growing along a fence in a field across the street. I quickly fell in love with the gorgeous fern-like foliage, the golden fall color, the deep maroon velvet seed pods, and most of all, the magnificent red-maroon thorns.
Old honey locusts that I've seen growing in the woods are tall towers with thorny trunks and a high canopy of foliage. Younger trees tend toward a broader, spreading growth habit, with many branches hanging close to the ground.
I just started 3 seedlings this spring and look forward to planting them in my yard.
On Apr 8, 2009, pipndani2 from Wellington, CO wrote:
We have one tree (thornless) growing well in a difficult climate/poor soil/little water situation. We need dozens more that will fruit, preferably heavily, for planting on our acreage for supplemental livestock feed. Most pastured animals relish the pods and can be fattened on them; wildlife will also eat them (people will, too, as the pods are very sweet -- honey locust, hint, hint). Why rake the tiny leaves? Seems like they would make a nice fertilizer/mulch. See J. Russell Smith's Tree Crops: A Permanent Agriculture, for more info on G. triacanthos as a cash crop.
On Feb 21, 2008, lobsterandi from Minneapolis, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:
Well.... I read everyone else's horror stories and thought I had to do a little defending of this plant.
I guess it depends on what kind of seeds you're getting, but I've never had much of a problem with suckers or thorns. Yes, there are some thorns but... they don't seem to do much.
The leaves are very nice, though, and this tree is pretty rare this far up north. I haven't had any babies popping up - but that might be because of my zone. I planted it to fill a big space in a wide open yard, and for that purpose it was wonderful. The leaves are nice and lacy and light, so the area under the tree still gets plenty of sun to grow a nice lawn and some shade liking plants.
Recently purchased 75 acres of pasture in SW Missouri. This plant grows there, voraciously, and has absolutely NO value whatsover. It will "run" over the pasture, reproduce rapidly when cut, and prevent animals grazing close to it. The only cure is to cut down each seedling, bush, tree, then immediately apply "Tordon" RTU to the clean, fresh surface. This will come close to killing the 'wretched' plant. As you might imagine, cleaning up 75 acres is "work".
On Jun 6, 2006, Crimson from Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b) wrote:
When we moved into our new home I first saw this tree, not knowing what to call it we called it 'The Devil Tree'.
Little did I know that is the kindest thing I would ever say about it! Horrendous, appalling, vicious, a truly horrible noxious, invasive weed of a tree... without the right to have anything remotely nice ever said about it.
Once you have this you may as well move, you'll never get rid of it even if you burn the whole area. The thorns are poisonous, a scratch WILL get infected... if you step on a spine, even with shoes you will have to get a pliers to remove the HUGE vicious spine from deep in your foot... makes cactus look cuddly.
So horribly invasive that overnight it will spring up many spiney babies up to 8 ft away from the original tree! Cut it down, it won't kill it! It seems to thrive even without any branches or leaves, I will have to poison my ground with stump killer to get rid of it... I'm not sure even that will work. Even a small piece of root left in the ground will sprout into a tree, the roots are brittle so as you try to pull it up it simply breaks leaving most of the root behind.
I can't imagine anyone EVER wanting or liking this tree. The bean pods (before we cut it down) were a real mess/very time consuming to rake up and overwhelming in quantity... clogging gutters and littering the yard like brown piles of poo!
On Feb 27, 2006, Kiweed from Saratoga Springs, UT (Zone 8a) wrote:
Don't confuse with Robinia, also called "Locust"! The spiecies is thorny, but there are thornless and podless varieties (G. t. inermis) that make beautiful lacey garden trees around here...nice fall color. They are tough trees in heat, cold and just about any soil. Drought tolerant. Old roots can crack cement...don't plant in narrow strips. Small leaves will easily decompose in lawns, so you don't need to rake them. Some of the thornless selections do have the long black seedpods that are quite pretty in fall against the golden foilage. If you want the pods go for 'Halka', which is fast growing with a strong trunk and horizontal branch pattern. 'Moraine' is a graceful spreading tree, fast growing; watch out for wind damage. 'Shademaster' grows quickest and is an upright form. 'Sunburst' is pretty but can loose its leaves due to temperature changes or drought and breaks in high wind. I inherited a 'Twisty Baby' locust with my new house, but it may have been killed by the previous owners (who killed most of the plants on purpose). It has contorted twisted brances and twigs. Hope this spring will bring new growth!
One of the first trees I'd reccomend to someone here in Utah or in similar area with intense heat and cold and difficult alkaline clay. Other recommended trees are Rhus typhina 'laciniata' (Cutleaf Staghorn Sumac) and Acer saccharum grandidentatum (Rocky Mountain Sugar Maple...look for my post for info. on specific cultivars ). These trees together will offer a stunning fall display.
On Jul 13, 2005, Z71JROD from Clovis, NM (Zone 7a) wrote:
These are very nice shade trees and very quick growing. They are widely used in this area. The only real complaint is that the seed pods can make a huge mess. My neighbor picked up 22 bags of pods last season. I have not had too many problems with the suckers but I have seen this problem at some other places. Overall a good tree though.
On Jun 26, 2005, 01Leta from Bigfork,, MT (Zone 5a) wrote:
Dave's Garden Members:
My two thornless Honey Locust (Gleditsia triacanthos) 'Sunburst' were just planted yesterday, June 24, '05, therefore, I cannot give either a negative or positive, just neutral. I shall keep you informed as our two babies grow, should they require a 'negative or positive' experience.
On Nov 26, 2004, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:
We have a small Honey locust that we dug up from a builder's lot and moved it to our yard. We love the foliage in summer and Fall, but it does have very long thorns, whick we remove from the trunk so no one will be hurt. We have pollarded the tree so that it won't get out of hand, it grows very fast, but we are keeping under control that way. So far no root suckers we shall see what happens as it gets older.
Gleditsia triacanthos ,Honey locust, is ntive to Texas and other States.
On Jul 9, 2004, glrivera from Las Cruces, NM wrote:
I've had a honey locust for about 13 years. It's a great tree for shade and landscaping but.... the suckers are awful. They pop up everywhere, the roots break the soil and grow into the house foundation. If I'd known they could get out of hand, I would have controlled them more. Now I have stumps from the larger suckers and is unsightly. This tree definitely needs alot of room to grow. The bean pods are a mess to pick up in addition to the small tiny leaves that are hard to rake up. I think this tree would be good in a large acreage or yard, but not for a small contained area.
On May 20, 2004, patp from Summerville, SC (Zone 8a) wrote:
We purchased the Thornless Honey Locust tree (Gleditsia triacanthos inermis) in April 1993 for what now seems to be a ridiculous price of $3.97. My husband planted it in an area where builders had dumped gravel over already rock-hard clay soil, and I swore it would never grow there. Little did I know! It's a beautiful tree with fern-like lacy foliage which becomes golden yellow in the fall. Long, dark brown twisted seed pods ripen over winter. The roots have stayed below ground, for the most part, and have never produced suckers. A very few seedlings emerged in cultivated flower beds but have definitely not been a problem. (USDA Zone 8a, Summerville, SC)
On Jan 3, 2003, lupinelover from Grove City, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:
The unimproved species is native to the eastern US, and is incredibly thorny, making it hazardous to have as a lawn specimen. These thorns are fish-hook in shape. It suckers frequently from shallow roots, which can be invasive.
This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:
Clovis, California Larkspur, Colorado Wellington, Colorado Lady Lake, Florida Ellijay, Georgia Cedar Rapids, Iowa Cottonwood Falls, Kansas Benton, Kentucky Clermont, Kentucky Frankfort, Kentucky Georgetown, Kentucky Louisville, Kentucky (2 reports) Melbourne, Kentucky Nicholasville, Kentucky Paris, Kentucky Versailles, Kentucky Fryeburg, Maine Cresaptown-bel Air, Maryland Halifax, Massachusetts Ann Arbor, Michigan Bellaire, Michigan Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota Minneapolis, Minnesota Sturgis, Mississippi Waynesboro, Mississippi Caulfield, Missouri Fulton, Missouri Sedalia, Missouri Bigfork, Montana Henderson, Nevada Las Vegas, Nevada Bay Head, New Jersey Clovis, New Mexico Carrboro, North Carolina Oxford, North Carolina Rougemont, North Carolina Beach, North Dakota Belfield, North Dakota Hulbert, Oklahoma East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Summerville, South Carolina Clarksville, Tennessee Alice, Texas Dalworthington Gardens, Texas Richmond, Texas Santa Fe, Texas Lehi, Utah Lexington, Virginia Richlands, Virginia Elmwood, Wisconsin