At Native Forest Nursery we grow bare root seedlings and #3 container trees. Our container trees are grown in a #3 air pruned pot. This root making container eliminates nearly all potential for root wrapping. This allows for an excellent root structure and delivers an extremely healthy tree. The bare root seedlings at our nursery are grown in a sandy loam soil with high organic matter content, which provides an extremely healthy environment for our seedlings. Our bare root liners and seedlings are hand lifted, packaged, and kept in cold storage until you are ready to plant. Conservation uses for our products include reclamation, mitigation, reforestation, restoration, wildlife habitat improvement and wetland uses. Horticultural uses for our products include field liners, container liners, landscape plantings, budding stock, grafting stock and ornamental uses.

Family: Fabaceae
Latin Name: Robinia pseudoacacia
Foliage: Dark blue-green
Fall Foliage: Insignificant yellow
Bloom: White
Bloom Time: May to June
Shape: Broadly columnar
Bark: Dark gray with spikes
Sun: Full sun
Zone: Zone 3 to Zone 8
Size: 30 to 50 feet
Spread: 20 to 35 feet
Care: Medium, well drained soil

Today the Black Locust can be found throughout the uplands of the southeastern United States, where it is native, but has since been naturalized and widely cultivated throughout many of the eastern and central states, as well as in Europe, Asia, and southern Africa. This tree belongs to the family Fabaceae, and is binomially indexed as Robinia Pseudoacacia. It can reach a sufficient height of 30-50 ft. with a 20-35 ft. span. With a 3-8 hardiness zone rating, the Black Locust thrives in medium, well-drained soils (ideally loose and moist) and given direct full sun. Its brittle branches arch up to give the tree a broadly columnar shape, peaking in an oblong narrow crown. Though it rarely lives over a century, this species is resilient against both brisk and blistering weather.

The Black Locust’s leaves are deciduous, broad, smooth-ridged, and compound, suffused a dark smoky blue-green. The tree’s fragrant white blossoms closely resemble tiny sweet peas (no surprise, given that this specimen belongs to the botanical pea family) and appear briefly in May and June. They yield a great amount of high-quality honey—which is why the tree is frequently planted near beehives—and are used in perfumery. The Black Locust’s fall foliage is composed of sweet golden hues, a lovely contrast to its dry and spiked gray bark. The tree’s bark and seeds are toxic to humans.

Given its extensively fibrous root system and its ability to absorb nitrogen from the air, the Black Locust is normally planted for erosion control and to provide soil enrichment. Its rot-resistant timber is also appreciated for its hardiness and strength, commonly used in the making of floors, boats, fence posts, furniture, veneer, and mine timbers.

According to the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s garden historian, Wesley Green, the Black Locust is nothing if not an all-American specimen. Claimed to provide the strongest timber in North America, the wood of the Black Locust helped build the first settlement of Jamestown in Virginia. It also contributed greatly to the construction of the navy that decided the War of 1812 in President Andrew Jackson’s era. The Black Locust’s timber has been cherished as an ornamental street tree since it was planted to beautify Williamsburg, Virginia, in the 1730s.

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Mature Tree Photos: