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Re: Gardening under Black Locust

  • Subject: Re: Gardening under Black Locust
  • From: "Judy Bygd" <bygd@execpc.com>
  • Date: Fri, 8 Feb 2002 21:56:01 -0600

I'm sorry that I can't offer any good news about the black locusts. While I
haven't gardened under black locusts, I can vouch from experience that they
are have a very vigorous shallow root system. They grow really fast and
damage easily in storms. There are a lot of them in this rural area since
the WPA planted them along the river in the 30's, and they have spread all
over this rural area. A few years back our neighbors quit mowing the last 20
feet of lawn by the woods, and that has now filled in with a forest of
locust trees.

We have lived in this house for over 30 years and had 7-8 of them in our
side yard. We would lose one to a storm occasionally, but another would grow
up in its place very rapidly. In 1995 we had a freaky wind storm which
absolutely wrecked every one of them while the soft maple and hackberry
trees in the same area had very little damage.

Once the trees were eliminated from the yard and the stumps chipped out, we
experienced a couple of years of having little locust trees sprouting up all
over the side yard. They grew faster than our grass, so we always had a
little "forest" going. When it was dry and the grass didn't need mowing,
They would get to be over 12" high before they were cut. Our hope was that
if we kept mowing them off they would just give up and die. No such luck.
They just kept going. They have a tendency to grow up with multiple trunks.
They had anywhere from 2 to 6 or so trunks in each little clump.

I tried Roundup with no luck and even brushed some stump killer on some to
no avail. After reading somewhere about pulling something (can't remember
exactly what it was) out by the roots rather than cutting it off in order to
eliminate it, I decided to give it a try--nothing else had worked.

 It took almost two days and a number of wheelbarrow loads to haul away, but
I pulled them out, getting a little of the root with it.  Many had to be dug
out with a weeding fork. There were well over 100 of them, if not many more.
IT WORKED!. They didn't come back.

Occasionally, I will still see one coming up as I am mowing the lawn, but I
pull it out immediately. The smaller they are the easier they are to pull
up. As far as I am concerned, it is great to have them out of the yard.
Had I known 30 years ago that I would develop this interest in hosta, I
would have planted oaks and had some nice-size trees by now--and more places
in which to plant hosta.

Judy Bygd
Zone 4a

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