There seems to be a consensus among horticulturists that the best Honeylocust cultivar is 'Shademaster', otherwise known as Gleditsia triacanthos var. inermis ‘Shademaster’, and it is indeed an outstanding choice. Honeylocusts are thorny, deciduous natives of North America which grow 50 to 70 feet tall and almost as wide. ‘Shademaster’ is thornless and has better form than the species, being vase-shaped, similar to the American elm, but smaller. It has a moderate growth rate and its lower branches are held horizontally with nodding tips on older specimens. The compound leaflets are delicate and lacy making a soft, dappled shade below and since Honeylocusts are one of the last trees to leaf out in spring and one of the first to lose its leaves in autumn, it is one of the best trees under which to grow a lawn. The tiny dark green foliage turns golden yellow in fall. These leaflets are so small they vanish into the grass meaning there is no need for raking.

Once established, it is drought tolerant and maintenance free. It is hardy from southern Canada through most of the United States and throughout Australia, the UK and New Zealand.


Shademaster honeylocust

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