Black locust or honey locust

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Minister of Fire
Dec 1, 2021
Upstate NY
My aunt has a bunch of trees behind her house that I was told are black locust. Is there a way to tell black locust from honey locust? And is one more desirable than the other? For firewood and fence posts etc.

The trees haven’t leafed out yet, but here are a couple pics.

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Looks like black locust to me. I have a bunch behind my house. Cut a rather large one up a few weeks ago than blew over. Not sure what honey locust looks like or how it burns
"...In fact, despite the similarity in their names, the black locust and honey locust are not technically in the same genus...." I have some honey locust pods and they are bigger and longer than those you have - so I too bet it is black locust.

Honey locust is kind of orangish/yellowish on the inside, also. I think black locust is more commonly used for fence posts - maybe it lasts longer. Better firewood? Not sure, but the btu rating is close enough not to make much difference - I guess black is a little denser, though.
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Ok cool. Thanks for the positive ID.

My aunt has one dead locust she said I can take down. And also I want to take some of the pods when they drop this year to plant. I’m trying to diversify the trees on my property. I’ve heard locust grows fast, and is both good firewood and makes good rot resistant lumber.

I notice the Amish use locust for fence posts. They get pieces 8-10” diameter (6-8’ long) and split them four ways to make rough fence posts.

So is it just honey locust that has the thorns? I didn’t see any thorns around these black locust.
Yes, only honey locust that had thorns (in my experience).
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I didn’t see any thorns around these black locust.,_spines,_and_prickles
All black locust will have spines typically on smaller, thinner branch wood. Wearing gloves should protect your hands; otherwise, the spines are sharp enough to penetrate skin irritate and fester.
Honeylocust has varieties selected for landscaping that are fortunately entirely thornless/ unarmed (inermis). The straight species is thorned and is just downright evil and nasty and can easily penetrate gloves and skin like hypodermic needle. I steer clear of them. It's just not worth it.
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Ok. I only got big trunks without branches. That explains my observation, I guess
you have to wonder what type of animal was romping around back in the day for a tree to evolve and incorporate large thorns all throughout as protection for itself
Black locust. Just wacked a load of it an hour ago. Yes the small trees have thorns, about 3/4 inch long and they will just bury themselves in the palm of your hand. No thorns on big trees. Great firewood.
I’d like to harvest some of the seed pods when they drop, so I can plant them out on my property. I need to look up what kind of soil black locust likes.
It would be nice to find a tree that likes kind of wet soil. I have some areas where aspen has been growing, getting big, and then falling over because of the wet soil. I’d like to plant something in there that will do better on the long run.

Basically on my property the drainage has changed. It used to be a dirt road that ran out in front, but about 15 years ago they paved it. When they did that they raised the road up quite a bit. That redirected some water runoff down my property (that would have gone across the road instead). So a lot of these big aspen trees grew up in a dryer area, and now that has changed to a wet area.
In my understanding the soil for black locust does need to drain well (though not be dry).

Also, black locust can really take over a place... (grows like weeds...) But then again, you'll cut and burn when it's too big..
What time of year do the seed pods drop from black locust? None of the trees in my aunts yard have leafed out yet.
I found this tree by my brush pile. Big thorns, but the leaves don’t look like honey locust. Any ideas?

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