Different Types of Locust Trees & How to Use Them

There are numerous different types of locust trees that are commonly cultivated for decorative functions, as locusts have many favorable characteristics, both aesthetically and from a practical viewpoint. Continue reading to learn about the most popular types of locust trees available and their care needs.

Locusts are part of the pea family, Fabaceae, and can take the type of both trees and shrubs. They are all native to regions throughout North America, where they have actually since been cultivated for several factors, including for use as hedging or disintegration control.

Black Locust – Robinia pseudoacacia

types of locust trees

The black locust tree is among the most popular types of locust trees, probably due to the fact that it has so many uses and is so simple to grow. It grows very rapidly, in a range of conditions. It can tolerate dry spell and poor-quality soil and can be discovered growing natively in woodland and along the banks of rivers.

The black locust tree generally flowers heavily, and this is among the things that makes the tree so popular as a decorative tree. The flowers grow in clusters that dangle from the tree and can measure anywhere between 4 and 10 inches in length. They are highly fragrant and are normally white, though some cultivars of the black locust tree can produce flowers in tones of pink and purple.

Black locust trees are belonging to North America, and some examples can be found growing to heights of over 80 feet, though they typically grow to someplace between 40 and 60 feet, with a big canopy spreading out 30 feet across. Their branches grow in a non-uniform pattern leaving gaps amongst them that make for an excellent light shade of plants growing below (Royal Horticultural Society).

The tree needs to likewise have great drainage as it chooses not to being in soaked soil. Nevertheless, it can adjust to growing in wet soil, just attempt to guarantee it isn’t saturated. The tree is extremely tolerant of numerous other conditions, which some trees discover less than suitable. It will cope well with drought, poor soil quality, high salt levels, and air contamination. The black locust tree is in fact said to be able to enhance the quality of the soil it is growing in, getting rid of nitrogen from the air and launching it into the soil. The tree is durable through USDA growing zones 4 to 8.

The leaves of the tree are oval and normally a blue-green color, though this does vary between cultivars. The base of the leaves of the black locust tree has short and sharp thorns, unlike the honey locust tree, which has thorns all over it. These thorns are stated to be so sharp that they were as soon as used as nails in the structure.

To grow a black locust tree, all you will need is a big area that takes advantage of complete sun. These trees grow quickly, even ending up being mildly intrusive in some areas. To prevent this problem, you will need to keep on top of the suckers. Otherwise, black locust trees might quickly control your area.

How to Use Black Locust Tree?

black locust tree uses


Black locust trees are a hardwood tree, and they make outstanding high-quality lumber that is durable and strong. The wood of this tree is typically used in manufacturing fences. The fact that the tree grows so quickly is also an advantage since it means top quality wood can be produced in a short area of time. This is one of the main factors that black locust trees are cultivated.


The black locust tree flowers profusely, with large clusters of stunning blooms. These flowers are appealing to bees and offer a good source of nectar. Therefore, black locust trees are planted in areas where honeybees are operating to help them with their honey production.

Fire wood

Due to the fact that black locust trees are so hard, the wood can be quite difficult to cut. Nevertheless, it makes a brilliant source of firewood because its high density indicates it takes a long time to burn. This makes it much more efficient fire wood than lots of others.

Black Locust Tree Cultivars

Frisia Black Locust – Robinia pseudoacacia ‘Frisia’

Robinia pseudoacacia 'Frisia' on of the types of locust trees in the world

This variety of black locust trees is frequently cultivated for its ornamental quality. It produces dynamic yellow leaves that sometimes turn a shade of lime green, bringing sensational and unusual foliage colors to any garden. It is a little smaller in stature than the black locust tree, growing to a height of 40 feet with a spread of 25 feet.

Purple Robe Black Locust – Robinia pseudoacacia ‘Purple Robe’

Robinia pseudoacacia 'Purple Robe' one of the types of locust trees

This stunning range of black locust trees is also highly ornamental with interesting looks. When leaves are young, they are tinged with touches of purple, and as the foliage matures, it establishes to a deep bronze color. The flowers of this tree contrast the foliage nicely, in rich tones of pink and purple.

Twisty Baby Black Locust – Robinia pseudoacacia ‘Lace Lady’

Robinia pseudoacacia 'Lace Lady' one of the types of locust trees

This black locust can be grown as a shrub or a tree. In the ground, it will grow to a compact 20 feet in height with a similar-sized spread, or if grown in a pot, it will reach heights of around 5 feet. Its name originates from the way its limbs twist and contort, offering it a really unusual look. Pruning back the plant in winter season each year will encourage more twisting. It includes dark green leaves that use a contrasting background to the aromatic white summer blossoms.

Honey Locust – Gleditsia triacanthos

Honey Locust one of the types of locust trees

The honey locust tree is popular in landscaping due to its large size, which is attained in a brief area of time because the tree is fast-growing.

Reaching heights of 100 feet in the wild, this tree will generally grow to between 40 and 70 feet when cultivated. It has a wide spread that offers helpful shade in park premises. It likewise has small leaves that don’t require gathering when they drop in the fall.

This is due to the fact that they are too small to get, however also little enough that they won’t cause any clogs or problems for drains pipes and sewer system. This is especially useful for towns as it means less tidy up and less expense to keep an area looking tidy in the cooler months. All of these attributes have actually caused the honey locust tree being widely cultivated for use in city landscaping.

Honey locust trees are belonging to eastern parts of the United States. They are not as tolerant of inhospitable growing conditions as the black locust tree and prefer abundant, wet soil to flourish. They will grow in less than ideal conditions, however high soil pH, high salt levels, and an absence of wetness will make the tree more susceptible to bugs and illness.

Planting a honey locust tree is easy as they do not mind being disrupted; just guarantee you have a big space in a full sun spot and a big, large hole for the root ball as these tend to be much larger than you would expect for the size of the tree.

The honey locust tree has appealing leaves that start out bright green and develop into yellow in the fall. After the leaves wall off in the winter, the tree will grow new leaves in the spring, normally a few weeks earlier than the black locust tree.

This tree has thorns on both the base of the leaves and long their branches. Beginning green, the thorns turn into dark brown as they age and become difficult and brittle. They are really sharp and can determine anywhere approximately 4 inches in length. This characteristic has actually resulted in the honey locust tree likewise being known as the thorny locust tree, although thornless varieties are available.

The flowers of the honey locust tree are petite and pale green. In male trees, the flowers form in thick clusters, while female flowers are more loosely set up. They have an extremely strong aroma.

How to Use Honey Locust Tree?


The seed pods of this tree contain a sweet pulp that is edible, unlike the pods of the black locust tree, which are toxic and should not be consumed. The pulp was utilized as standard medicine and food by Native Americans and is still used to make tea and in the production of beer. The seed pods are also used as food for wildlife and animals.


Honey locust trees, like black locust trees, produce wood that is strong, long lasting, and high-quality. The tree has not been widely cultivated for the wood, however it is popular in niche markets for usage in furnishings.


The honey locust tree is most typically used in city landscaping, as it has a lot of advantages. Unfortunately, over-cultivation has caused an increase in insects and diseases that affect the tree. In some locations, the tree has actually likewise become invasive to the point of being thought about a weed. In farmland, it grows so quick that crops and yards are poor competitors against it. It likewise prevents animals from reaching natural waterways by producing barriers along rivers.

Not Honey!

In spite of its name, the honey locust tree is not used to support the production of honey. The name is thought to be a recommendation to the sweet-tasting pulp contained in the trees seed pods.

Honey Locust Cultivars

Imperial Honey Locust – Gleditsia triacanthos inermis ‘Impcole’.
This honey locust range has a delicate feathery looking foliage that resembles a fern, starting out green through spring and summertime, then altering to yellow in the fall prior to dropping in winter season. It produces yellow-green flowers and grows to an average height of 35 feet. It is heat and drought-resistant and takes pleasure in full sun.

Horizon Honey Locust – Gleditsia triacanthos ‘Skycole’

types of locust trees

This tree takes the shape of a pyramid and has elegant fern-like foliage, both of which offer the tree a very refined appearance. This range is thornless, and it likewise does not bear fruit. This makes it a lot easier tree to keep as the clean-up of the fruit from honey locust trees can be quite an untidy task. Like lots of other locust trees, the horizon honey locust is adaptable to both moist and dry soil, and this range, in particular, will grow gladly in any soil pH. It generally grows to around 45 feet tall, with a spread of around 35 feet.

Shademaster Honey Locust – Gleditsia triacanthos var. Inermis ‘Shademaster’

types of locust trees; Gleditsia triacanthos var. Inermis 'Shademaster'

This range of honey locust grows a lot more rapidly than the majority of other locust trees, making it an extraordinary grower. It is thornless and produces an extremely straight trunk. It can grow to between 50 and 70 feet high with a spread of a comparable measurement. The leaves of this tree are green, turning copper and yellow in fall. The shademaster likewise does not produce fruit, making it extra low upkeep. The yellow flowers flower from this tree have an enjoyable fragrance and are little and delicate (University of Florida Extension).

Bristly Locust – Robinia hispida

types of locust trees; robinia hispida

This locust is a shrub that is commonly referred to as ‘moss shrub.’ It grows to around 8 feet high and produces attractive bright green leaves and flashy pink flowers with an extreme scent. The bristly locust needs to be grown in well-draining soils to grow and has a low tolerance of bad growing conditions. In spite of this, the plant spreads quickly through suckers and has become intrusive in some parts of the US, including Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. The plant does have its uses and provides exceptional erosion control on slopes and mountainsides that are impacted by this issue.

New Mexico Locust – Robinia neomexicana

types of locust trees; Robinia neomexicana

In spite of its name, this locust is in fact mainly discovered throughout the southwestern United States. It can be grown as a tree or a shrub, growing to around 10 feet in height. It features deep purple branches from which sensational flower screens are produced in early spring and summer season. Its flowers are pale pink and appear in big, snazzy clusters, making this a popular ornamental plant. To grow this plant, you ought to position it in partial sun and water it moderately. It prefers dry sandy soil that has the ability to drain pipes well.

Which types of locust trees do you choose? Cast your vote in the comments, and do not forget to share this page with other interested growers!

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