7+ Different Type of Locust Trees for Various Purposes

Any type of locust trees is native to areas across North America. This part of the pea family is popular due to several reasons, including controlling erosion or use as hedging.

Locusts can grow as both shrubs and trees. However, people cultivate many varieties of this species for ornamental purposes because of their aesthetic attributes.

Now, you can read the following information to find out more about some of the most well-known varieties of locust trees.

Honey Locust (Gleditsia Triacanthos)

Honey Locust | Bates Canopy | Bates College


This type of locust trees can grow big in a short time. Thus, it is popular in landscaping thanks to its particular trait.

While this fast-growing tree can grow up to 100 ft tall in the wild, the honey locust may only reach around 12 to 21 meters when cultivated.

It offers practical shade on park grounds because of its broad spread. The tree also comes with small foliages that do not call for collecting when dropping in the fall.

Not only are too tiny to pick up, but the leaves of the honey locust are also small enough that they will not result in any problems or blockages for your sewage systems and drains.

Its characteristic is very positive for towns as it means less cost and cleanup to keep the area neat, especially in colder seasons.

This type of locust trees itself is originally from the eastern parts of the US. Different from its black cousin, it cannot withstand inhospitable growing habitats.

Honey Locust will prefer rich, damp soil to thrive properly. Even though it can grow in less ideal circumstances, the tree can be prone to a variety of diseases and pests in such conditions.

Fortunately, growing a honey locust tree is not difficult since it does not mind being bothered as long as you have a wide space for them.

Make sure to provide it with a large, oversized hole for the root ball as well since the tree tends to get much bigger than expected.

Attractive Points of This Type of Locust Trees



The tree features fascinating leaves that begin from bright green and turn into yellow in the fall. Once the foliages wall off during the winter, Honey Locust will regenerate the new ones in the spring.

This type of locust trees typically grows its new leaves several weeks earlier than the black variant.

Moreover, this tree also comes with thorns that appear on the base of its foliages and along the branches.

Starting green, these locust tree thorns become dark brown as they age. Meanwhile, they tend to get brittle and hard as well.

Capable to measure anywhere up to 10 cm in length, the thorns of this species are very pointed. Due to such an attribute, the tree is also popular for another name ‘thorny locust’ even though hornless cultivars are available.

Meanwhile, the blossoms of this type of locust trees are pale green and diminutive. While female flowers loosely grow, the male ones typically shape denser clusters. Interestingly, the scent of their blooms is strong too.

The Uses of Honey Locust Tree



Despite its name, you should not expect that the tree could support the production of honey. It has its name that way to indicate its sugary-tasting pulp.

The sweet pulp of the tree’s seedpods is also edible, making it different from the one contained in Black Locust.

Native Americans used to take advantage of the pulp as traditional medicine and food. Nowadays, people tend to utilize it for making tea and supporting the production of beer.

Furthermore, wildlife also benefits the seedpods of this type of locust trees as food.

Honey Locust is also a well-known landscaping tree since it offers many benefits. Unluckily, its over-cultivation has led to a boost in pests and diseases that influence the species.

In some regions, this locust tree even becomes insidious to the point of a wild plant consideration.

However, in farmland, this type of locust trees tends to grow rapidly that grasses and crops turn out to be poor competitors against it.

It also stops animals from getting to natural waterways by forming barriers along rivers.

Similar to its black cousin, people also take advantage of Honey Locust trees for their strong and durable timber.

Even though people do not greatly cultivate this type of locust trees for the wood, you can find it favorable in niche markets for use in furnishings.

Different Cultivars of Honey Locust



When you are browsing for locust tree images, chances are a variety of cultivars showing up. Gleditsia triacanthos inermis ‘Impcole’ can be one of them.

Commonly known as Imperial Honey Locust, this variety features a delicate feathery looking leave that appears like a fern.

While the leaves start green in the spring and summer, they will change to yellow in the fall before falling throughout winter.

Imperial Honey Locust generates yellow-green blossoms and typically grows up to 10 meters in height.

Moreover, this cultivar is resistant to heat and drought. However, make sure to plant this type of locust trees in full sun for the utmost growth.

In addition to Imperial, here are the other cultivars of Honey Locust available.

Shademaster Honey Locust



Compared to most other locust trees, this variety can cultivate even more swiftly. As a result, you can expect the Shademaster to be an exceptional grower.

It is a kind of locust tree without thorns that can generate a very straight trunk, reaching between 15 and 21 meters in height with a spread of comparable measurement.

This type of locust trees has green leaves that turn copper and yellow during the fall. It does not bear any fruit so you can expect extra low maintenance.

Shademaster Honey Locust produces yellow blossoms that present a pleasant fragrance despite its petite characteristic.

Skyline Honey Locust



Gleditsia triacanthos ‘Skyline’ is a kind of honey locust tree with an exceptional pyramid-like shape and appealing leave that resembles a fern.

Those attributes make the skyline a very sophisticated look to complement any garden. This variety does not come with thorn and produce fruits.

Consequently, this type of locust trees is much simpler to keep since getting rid of fruit from such plants can be very tiring sometimes.

Similar to other locust varieties, this plant is also very adaptable to both dry and damp soil. Moreover, the species will enjoy any soil pH too.

Skyline honey locust tends to grow up to 13 m in height with a spread of approximately 35 ft.

New Mexico Locust



Although the name of this type of locust trees includes New Mexico, you can mainly discover this plant across the southwestern United States.

Growing to approximately 3 meters tall, you can grow a New Mexico locust as a shrub or a tree. It will come with deep purple branches that feature eye-catching floral displays.

The pale pink blossoms of New Mexico locust trees typically bloom at the beginning of spring and summer. The flowers are pale pink with big, showy clusters qualities.

Thanks to its beautiful blossoms, this type of locust trees become a preferable ornamental plant.

If you are interested in growing one, make sure to place the tree in partial sun and provide it with moderate water.

Moreover, New Mexico locusts enjoy sandy soil that can drain properly too.

Bristly Locust

Plant A Day – Bristly Locust | Naturally Speaking


Generally known as moss shrub, this type of locust trees can reach around 2 meters in height when mature. It generates striking showy pink blossoms and bright green leaves.

Interestingly, the flowers of Bristly Locust cast off an intense scent, making the tree a perfect addition to any yard.

Bristly Locust requires well-draining soil to grow properly. Then, it cannot tolerate poor growing circumstances as well.

Despite this locust tree identification, the plant can spread effortlessly through suckers. As a result, some regions in the US, such as Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, consider it invasive.

However, this plant is still dependable in terms of its excellent erosion control on mountainsides as well as slopes.

Black Locust Tree (Robinia Pseudoacacia)



This type of locust trees is one of the most popular, probably due to the many benefits that it offers.

It can rapidly grow even when planted in any condition. This locust also tolerates drought and poor-quality soil pretty well, making it very easy to grow.

Commonly, you will find this locust tree grow naturally in woodland as well as along the riverbanks.

Black Locust itself is originally from North America. Some of them can grow more than 24 meters in height, although it is more likely to reach somewhere between 40 and 60 ft.

Meanwhile, the large canopy of this locust tree can spread up to 9 meters across. Since its branches develop in a non-uniform outline, they tend to leave gaps amongst them for a better light shade of plants thriving underneath.

Thanks to its heavy flowers, this type of locust trees are very popular as an ornamental plant. The blossoms develop in clusters that hang from the branches.

The flowers of black locusts can measure anywhere around 10 to 25 cm in length. They offer intense scent and are typically white even though some cultivars may generate blooms in shades of purple or pink.

Although these locust tree leaves may vary depending on their cultivars, they are more likely to be oval and come in a blue-green color.

Different from the previous variety, this type of locust trees features short and sharp thorns on the base of the foliages.

Because of their sharp attributes, people once utilized the thorns of black locust as nails in the building.

How to Grow Black Locust Trees Properly



If you want to grow this type of locust trees, just make sure to provide it with a wide space that receives full sun for the plant’s greatest growth.

Since this tree can grow easily, and people even consider it invasive in several regions, you have to keep on top of suckers. If not, your black locust may start to take over the garden in no time.

Additionally, you should keep in mind that the tree requires excellent drainage since it prefers not to stay in soggy soil.

While it may be able to grow in damp soil, just make sure your locust is not waterlogged. Aside from this issue, the tree is highly tolerant of other conditions that many trees find them not as ideal.

Furthermore, this type of locust trees is also drought-tolerant, and it will handle poor soil quality as well as high levels of salt without trouble.

Many believe that black locust can increase soil quality where it is growing in too. This tree helps to remove nitrogen from the air and discharge the same into the soil.

You can grow black locust trees in hardiness zones 4 to 8 for the best result.

The Uses of Black Locust Trees



As a hardwood tree, black locusts make a high-quality timber that is strong and robust. Many use the wood of this variety to manufacture fences.

Considering that this type of locust trees can quickly grow, this means you can get high-quality wood in a shorter time as well.

While it becomes the primary reason why people highly cultivate black locusts, you can still expect other ways to take advantage of the tree.

First, you can count on this tree to help with the production of honey. Thanks to its big clusters of stunning blossoms, black locusts are very attractive to bees.

Since it provides an excellent source of nectar, many people plant this type of locust trees in areas where honeybees are operating.

Second, this tree makes a great source of firewood as well. Due to its high density, you can expect it to take a long time to burn.

Such an attribute makes black locusts more efficient firewood than other trees. On the other hand, it becomes challenging to cut this variety.

Different Cultivars of Black Locust



Robinia pseudoacacia ‘Lace Lady’ or commonly known as Twisty Baby black locust is one of the cultivars to take into account. It can grow as a tree or a shrub and tend to reach up to 6 meters tall with a comparable-sized spread.

If you want to grow the twisty baby in a container, it is more likely to reach around 1.5 meters of height only.

The name of this type of locust trees comes from how its limbs curl and contort, offering a highly extraordinary appearance. To promote more twisting, you just need to prune back the plant in winter every year.

Twisty Baby locusts feature dark green foliages that introduce an interesting, contrasting background to the scented white summer flowers.

Besides, you can find other cultivars of this type of locust trees below.

Purple Robe Black Locust



This striking variety of black locusts also offers a highly ornamental property thanks to its appealing aesthetics.

When its foliages are young, they hint a touch of purple. Then, as the leaves mature, you will see them develop into a profound bronze color.

The blossoms of this locust tree contrast the leave in a good way with their rich shades of purple and pink.

Frisia Black Locust



Scientifically known as Robinia pseudoacacia ‘Frisia’, this type of locust trees is generally cultivated for its ornamental attribute.

It generates brilliant yellow foliages that sometimes change into a shade of lime green. Thus, you can enjoy wonderful, extraordinary leave colors in your garden.

Compared to another black locust tree, this cultivar is a bit smaller in stature since it grows up to 12 meters tall with a spread of around 25 ft.

Skycole Locust Tree



Skycole is a type of locust trees with robust woods and dense leaves. It thrives exceptionally quickly, and you can discover it in some parts of the United States.

Even though this tree is capable to grow comfortably in nearly all conditions, it will cultivate better under sufficient sunlight and woodlands.

In most instances, Skycole Locusts thrive well across streams. Meanwhile, the hardiness zone of this plant varies from 4 to 8.

When mature, this locust tree can reach anywhere between 12 and 15 meters while the width may spread up to around 25 ft.

Similar to another type of locust trees, Skycole is both resilient and deciduous. It will sustain in poor soil environments, air pollution, droughts, as well as high salt levels.

This tree comes with small, green foliages that have a mild hint of blue. The leaves tend to be compound and can reach up to 10 inches.

Moreover, Skycole Locusts also generate beautiful white flowers that feature a dash of purple and pink.

You may find the flowers of this type of locust trees hanging in a cluster measuring around 10 to 30 cm in length.

Final Thoughts



Finally, you have already known some of the different variants of locust trees available out there. It is worth noting that most of them can survive for more than 100 years.

The lumber of locust trees is strong as well, making them hard to cut when mature. Therefore, many people frequently use it for manufacturing furniture or firewood.

If you are interested in growing one, remember that any type of locust trees will enjoy a wide space with enough sunlight.

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