The Q&A Archives: Purple Robe Locust

Question: What is a purple robe locust? Is there a reason this tree snaps in half or has its branches snapping off?

Answer: It's a variety of flowering locust called Robinia pseudoacacia 'Purple Robe'. This deciduous tree is fast-growing, with a shapely crown; it reaches about 35 feet at maturity.

'Purple Robe' puts on a three-season color show: New reddish bronze foliage appears early in spring. Then from mid-May to early summer, 'Purple Robe' earns its name, bearing fragrant rosy purple blossoms in big clusters that hang delicately among dark green leaves. In fall, the leaves turn bright yellow before dropping.

'Purple Robe' is an excellent shade tree, especially in hot, dry summer climates, where it does well on little water after it's established. Locust can be grown in all climate zones. Although branches of 'Purple Robe' are less brittle than those of other locust trees, it should not be planted in windy locations.

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