Black Locust

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whtoak

New Member
May 5, 2020
18
Virginia
About 6 years ago I cut down a dead Black Locust tree behind my old house where I was clearing an acre of land. It was about 24 inch diameter at the base and on an old fence line. I had never burned locust or thought about it because most of them are on a fence line somewhere and a lot of people just don't use them. At least that is what I see around my area. Anyway, I cut it up and split it for firewood. That tree ate up my chains (had to resharpen several times). Toughest tree in my mind to cut with the chainsaw. Nice hardwood. It split up in nice square chunks for me. I stacked it and let it sit for a year.

After sitting for a year I moved a few bucket loads to the front porch for burning once it got cold. When we finally had the cold weather come in, I put some in the stove to burn and burn it did. This is by far the best hardwood I had ever burned. It got hot quick and lasted. The wood burnt down nicely too. Not a lot of ash at all. After that first burn, I conserved the rest of that firewood and only used on the real cold nights and mixed in with my normal oak. I tried to make that wood last as long as possible. lol

A good friend of mine just timbered some of his land last year and I went over there one day to hunt. The timber company left a big Black Locust where the fence line was on the ground. He said I could have it. I am tickled pink and will be getting the chainsaws ready for the hard core sawing but I am looking forward to some more of the best hardwood that I have personally used. I am seriously thinking about planting some Black Locust on my new property where I am building my house for future use.
 
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Sawset

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2015
1,285
Palmyra, WI
I am seriously thinking about planting some Black Locust on my new property where I am building my house for future use.
Once black locust invades an area, it's very hard to reverse that. Stumps are hard to kill. They will re-sprout from the stump and roots if cut, and grow into 10ft whips in a year. And it will spread by seed. Very invasive, and very difficult to eradicate. Nothing else generally grows under a locust grove. Think long and hard about introducing it.
Also, once seedlings have had a chance to grow a year, and harden off the next, if you cut them down and run over them, the thorns will poke a 1000 holes in your garden tractor tires.
However, there is an area here, that was abandoned 40yrs ago, and was invaded by black locust. 18" trunks, 50ft tall, fantastic firewood. It will dull a chain very quickly - the wood I think has silica embedded within. There are still fence posts made of locust on the property that date to the 1940s - very decay resistant. That area is spreading however, and it is a real test of perseverance to keep it contained.
 
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whtoak

New Member
May 5, 2020
18
Virginia
That is interesting. I know it grows fast but I have never seen it take over anything around here in Virginia. I have read that it is bad in other parts of the country. It is a native tree to Virginia and supposed to be here. When I cut that tree down I dug up the stump and burned it. No issues there. The biggest invasive plant I have dealt with here in Virginia that was not local to my area is the Tree of Heaven. I had a hard time getting rid of it.

Thanks for the advice. I will definitely look into it before deciding to plant it on my land. I do know that the Forestry Department here in Virginia sells these trees yearly. The tree is also not on the Virginia Tree Invasive list.
 

Simonkenton

Minister of Fire
Feb 27, 2014
2,236
Marshall NC
I moved up here to the North Carolina mountains 24 years ago. I bought 48 acres. And I had hundreds of locust trees. I never heard of 'em before we don't have them down in Georgia.
I burned some locust and learned that it was great firewood. I had to cut down 8 or 10 locusts to clear land for my house. Gotta be careful with a locust sprout that is 2 inch diameter or less, that thorn will drive right through the palm of your hand!

Twenty years ago some blight swept through, and killed every locust tree in Madison County.
I am still cutting and burning the locust as y'all know it takes a long time to rot.
There are locust stumps where I cut the tree down 24 years ago. There are sprouts coming out of these stumps, 30 feet high and 3 inch diameter. But when they get a little bigger they will die off.
 

Sawset

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2015
1,285
Palmyra, WI
black locust
If it is "black locust", are there thornless varieties?
I know of "honey locust" (the one that evolved to keep mammoths away), and "thornless honey locust", and different varieties of "thornless honey locust", like sunburst, which is a desirable ornamental tree.