Shade trees are a vital part of every garden; you cannot enjoy your garden in summer if it is hot and exposed. Your children cannot play outside happily and are exposed to harmful UV rays. Shade trees create a pleasant atmosphere for play, outdoor eating or gatherings, but many shade trees cast a very dense shade that will stop your lawn from growing and prevent you planting shrubs and flowers beneath it. The Thornless Honey Locust is known for the light shade it casts – enough to keep you cool and protected, but not enough to kill your lawn or stop you growing flowers. So it makes an ideal tree for a smaller garden and will give you shade without making a dark desert.
Growing Thornless Honey Locust Trees
Thornless Honey Locust is a fast-growing tree and can grow up to 3 feet a year, so that a 6 or 8 foot young tree will often be 20 to 25 feet tall in five or six years. If you need a fast growing, tolerant shade tree, this is an excellent choice. Unlike many other native shade-trees it is very tolerant of difficult, urban conditions including poor soil, drought, air pollution and particularly road salt. If you live near a highway this tree makes an excellent screen and it can also be pruned into a hedge to protect the rest of your garden from salt. For urban areas and difficult sites this is one of the best shade trees available. Its salt tolerance also makes it a good sea-side tree.
Pests and Diseases
Thornless Honey Locust is a very hardy tree that will not be eaten by deer and usually suffers from few pests or diseases. Any problems can be controlled with organic or traditional methods. It will even grow near Black Walnut, a tree that is notorious for killing other plants nearby. You don’t even need to rake the leaves as they are small and quickly shrivel and disappear as mulch for your soil.
Thornless Honey Locust grows in zones 3 to 8, so it can be grown almost anywhere in America. It is a great choice for difficult locations. It will grow in any kind of soil, even poor city soil, but it does best and will grow fastest on deep, damp soils. However it grows almost as well on poor, dry soils and once established it is very drought tolerant.
When choosing a location for your Thornless Honey Locust allow plenty of room for your tree to develop without becoming a hazard to buildings or power-lines. Allow 20 feet clearance from surrounding buildings.
Choose a sunny location, although your tree will also grow in the shade of other deciduous trees. Dig a wide, shallow hole about three times the diameter of the pot. Add some organic material like compost, manure or peat-moss and some bone-meal or superphosphate. Before planting your tree, remove it from the pot and with a sharp knife make three or four cuts an inch deep down the sides of the root-ball. This will encourage the roots to spread out rather than growing round the tree and potentially restricting its growth. Place the tree in the centre of the hole, put back most of the soil and firm it down well. Add lots of water and when it has drained away fill in with the rest of the soil. Water your new tree well every week for the first season.
History and Origins of the Thornless Honey Locust
The Honey Locust, Gleditsia triacanthos, is a native American tree that grows naturally in forests from Pennsylvania west to Iowa and south to Georgia and Texas. It can reach 80 feet in height, but unfortunately the trunk and branches are covered in fierce thorns up to 3 inches in length. These occur singly or in groups of three. This makes it a tree that is not suitable for home gardens. Fortunately from time to time wild trees grow without thorns, so they are called inermis, meaning ‘unarmed’. These trees lack the nasty thorns seen on wild trees and also produce few if any of the large seed pods that can be a nuisance with wild trees. This is the Thornless Honey Locust (Gleditsia triacanthos f. inermis).
Thornless Honey Locust is a deciduous tree with abroad crown that casts a light shade beneath it. It grows to 45 feet tall and eventually more, with a crown around 20 feet across. A single tree will cast a good area of shade, making it an ideal shade-tree choice. The leaves are around 8 inches long and are made up of a central stem with two rows of small leaflets along it. When the leaves drop they are small and so leaf-raking is often not necessary and the leaves will form natural mulch on garden beds. The leaves are green and turn yellow in the fall.
The flowers are small, inconspicuous and greenish-yellow and they hang from the branches in late spring. They are followed by large seed pods up to 18 inches long, but our trees have been especially selected to rarely flower, so few or no pods will be produced by your tree. The bark is grey-brown or almost black, with narrow vertical ridges and scaly to the touch.
Buying Thornless Honeylocusts at The Tree Center
The Thornless Honey Locust is a special plant lacking the dangerous thorns of wild Honey Locust. So only the exact plant will be right for your garden and also have the rapid growth-rate you need. It must be produced directly from trees absolutely known to be right. Our trees are grown the correct way, by grafting branches from selected trees onto seedling roots. That way every tree is identical to the original so they will produce a very uniform effect. However these take longer to produce, so avoid cheaper, seedling trees that will only be a disappointment.
We sell only trees that are true to the original form and we have a wide range of sizes to give you the best plant for your purpose. However we are constantly renewing our stock so our customers get fresh, healthy plants, so supplies of this tree may be limited. To avoid disappointment order now.