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Topic: Flowers & Ornamental Plants
Thorny locust trees
Thorny locust trees
Posted by K. Ray from Kansas City on 2001-03-20 13:38:01
have long thorns. (3-4 inches) I suppose
they are thorny locust. If we trim the
thorns off, will the thorns come back?
Also, do the thorns drop off?
They might be...'m definitely no botanist, but I think
Posted by Lia from ON on 2001-03-20 13:40:40
you need to wait until these trees leaf
out &/or fruit or flower before deciding
what they are. When they leaf out, take
a few leaves to your local county
cooperative extension service, or try a
tree ID book from your local library.
... ... ... At this season, though, the
shape of the tree or the branching habit
also might give you a clue. Winter
botany type books & tree ID books with
winter (i.e. leafless) forms might also
be available at your library or
extension service. ... ... ... As for
the spring or later clues : Tiny thin
oval leaves -- probably honey locust.
... ... ... Spring flowers with a scent
but not necessarily sweet in the rose
sense, later orange or red berries --
probably hawthorn. ... ... ... Hard
small orange-like fruits later in the
season -- probably Maclura pomifera,
commonly called Osage orange, which I
understand has been planted extensively
and has somewhat naturalized even to the
point of a sort of pest tree in the
midwest. Whatever these trees are, won't
you be putting yourself in for a LOT of
unnecessary work trying to cut off a
thousand thorns one by one? If thorns on
lower trunks or lower branches pose a
safety problem, you could trim just off
those. ... ... ... Just me personally,
I'd leave them alone and consider
these trees a fantastic bird habitat.
... ... ... Put feeders & birdbaths
nearby; plant "food" flowers like
coreopsis, perennial sunflowers, and
coneflowers; and add several of the
larger ornamental grasses.
Me again...This was meant in reference to the
Posted by Lia from ON on 2001-03-20 15:23:19
question about thorny trees possibly
being honey locust. In the meantime
ANOTHER possibility just occurred to me.
I'd have to go look this up, but I do
believe there are also thorns on some
species in the genus ROBINIA, commonly
called just plain locusts, as opposed to
the genus Gleditsia or honey locusts.
Posted by Jerry from St. Louis on 2001-03-20 15:25:36
Those are honey locust. There's a
similar cultivar w/o thorns that's
common in suburban yards.
Yes, you can cut the thorns off - they
won't regenerate. But, no, they won't
I've seen groves of these around KC. The
outer suburban parks (Blue Springs,
Grain Valley) are loaded with them along
with osage orange/hedge apple.
more on honey locust thornsKay,
Posted by Jeff from oh on 2001-03-20 15:37:24
A note about the thorns. I have 20+ of
these trees around my yard. This is what
Go ahead and cut the thorns off all you
wish. This will not harm the tree.
Thorns do fall off on there own,
however, only one or two at a time as
they get old. This is not a sheadding
like leaves in the fall.
Pickup and burn the thorns after
clearing off a tree. These sharp jabbers
will slice through a riding mower tire
like a hot knife through butter. They
can also pierce the sole of most any
shoe. (I've done this)
In the spring patrol your trees looking
for the above mensioned thorns that fall
on there own. I say burn them as they
brun quickly and it is the eaiest way to
get rid of them. They go right through a
plastic bag if you try to toss them.
Finally in contrast to what Jerry said,
they will regrow from the nodes on the
trunk where you removed the old thorns.
Although, not all my trees do this. The
good part is that all you have to do is
rub them off with your thumb while they
are still green. While green they are
quite pliable and soft. They only harden
in mid summer.
The last bit of trivia I have is that
during the civil war the locus thorns
were used as needles when steel needles
were not available.
Hope this helps.