The Thornless Honey Locust is a large deciduous tree, reaching heights of up to 30'-70' and as the name implies it does not have the thorns of the its parent plant Gleditsia triacanthos. It is a member of the bean family and has short trunk and open, spreading crown. The fine-textured pinnately compound leaves give it a delicate silhouette. Place it in the full sun in moist, organically rich, well-drained soil and make sure you have enough room for its mature size.
This flowering tree casts light shade allowing grass to be planted underneath and when the tiny leaflets drop in the fall it results in an easy clean up. It transplants easily, tolerates poor clay soils, salt, drought, black walnut, and is resistant to damage by deer. The wood from this plant is very dense, durable when in contact with soil, and it is capable of obtaining a high luster finish making it a good choice for lumber or furniture projects.
The honey locust, is native from Pennsylvania to Iowa south to Georgia and Texas. It typically grows 60-80’ (less frequently to 120’) tall with a rounded spreading crown. Inconspicuous, greenish yellow to greenish white flowers appear in racemes in late spring. Flowers are followed by long, twisted and flattened, dark purplish-brown seedpods (to 18” long) which mature in late summer and persist well into winter. Seedpods contain, in addition to seeds, a sweet gummy substance that gives honey locust its common name. Best grown in organically rich, moist, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerant of a wide range of soils. Also tolerant of wind, high summer heat, drought and saline conditions. Zones 3-8.
- Scarify the seeds by nicking or sanding the seed coat.
- Soak the seed in water for 24 hours.
- The seeds like moist, well-drained soil. Prepare a mixture of half potting soil and half sand, perlite or vermiculite. Put the soil in a pot. Water the mixture so that it is moist but not wet.
- Put the seeds on the soil.
- Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil.
- Water the seeds.
- Place the pots in an area in full sun or part shade.
- When the seedlings are a few inches tall, they can be transplanted.