The Q&A Archives: Dwarf Twisted Black Lotus

Question: We have eight Dwarf Black Lotus trees that came from Monrovia Nursery. We have noticed three things that are problematic regarding these trees: 1) They have grown much larger than was noted on the description card, 2) There are other growths that have large thorns on them that are growing either next to or around the trees, 3) The leaves are turning yellow and falling off which has become very messy. Please give me some suggestions on how to address all three of these concerns. Thank you for your advice in advance. Warm regards, Denise Harrison.

Answer: Twisty Baby Dwarf Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia 'Lace Lady') is a unique dwarf multi-trunked shrub with interesting twisted zig-zag branches. The contorted form makes an excellent small patio specimen and conversation piece grown in large containers. Prune long spurts of growth back to encourage twisting branches. Deciduous. Full sun. Moderate-growing to 15 feet tall and wide. If pruned annually you can keep this plant smaller than 15 feet. You can certainly prune them back now.

Twisty Baby is grafted onto standard locust rootstock. It sounds as though sprouts from the roots have been allowed to grow into the grafted shrub. You can prune to remove these growths without compromising the health of your plants. (Similar growths occur in roses which are grafted onto rootstock - you need only to watch for growth coming from below the graft union and remove them as they develop. If left alone, these suckers will overtake the desired graft!)

Locust trees do drop foliage during the summer and fall months. Aside from raking them up, there's really no way to keep them from collecting on the ground beneath the plant.

Best wishes with your landscape.

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