Honey locusts are striking trees from North America, that have become popular world-wide. And it has been greatly improved as a result of that dispersal. As long ago as 1700 it was brought from the North American colonies to Great Britain where it became popular and from there spread to other colonies, notably South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. And no wonder, as this species is an airy, beautiful tree, which casts a light shade, particularly attractive in late summer with its flat, twisted seedpods. The compound leaves are made up of tiny little chartreuse leaflets that allow a fair amount of light in so grass can grow beneath the tree and in fall there is little clean up as the tiny leaves filter through the grass. There are also fragrant, greenish yellow flowers in spring. But it is a tree to approach with caution as it has lethal spines which arm its trunk and branches. However, most of the honey locusts planted today are thornless cultivars noted for yellow leaves. That ferny delicate foliage in bright yellow makes it fantastic when planted against darker green backgrounds. A notable cultivar is 'Sunburst', a thornless, fast-growing variety, with bright yellowish-green leaves. Also known as 'Aurea', the Royal Horticultural Society has given it its prestigious Award of Garden Merit. Also ‘Shademaster’ is an all-around superior form.

Honey Locust is an excellent street tree, because it can cope with compaction, drought, pollution, etc. And it will tolerate most soil types, including chalk and heavy clay. The species will grow to 70 feet or more but the desirable cultivars are typically small to medium sized trees that fit most urban gardens nicely. And these are not likely to be found in the large discount nurseries, but more likely in the select plant nurseries or from mail-order tree nurseries.

Honey locust


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