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Black Locust Trees
June 06, 2016

What an amazing week of weather we just had.

Warm and warm again.

We do need some rain in the Great Lakes region, as most of it missed us.

Humidity was uncomfortable for a couple of days, but most of the week, windows were open and we enjoyed the fresh air and sounds of nature.

Karen goes to the doctor tomorrow (Tuesday) to have he knee checked out, as she still is wearing the brace.

This past Thursday we visited the doctor that heads up Yolanda's case.

Prayerfully, extra therapy will be scheduled, a script is being issued for a new brace to help stretch her ligaments in her calves and feet.

She is becoming more difficult to stand and transfer.

Also, orders are in for a new wheelchair. All this will take time, as appointments (several) will be made at 'Mary Free Bed's' Orthoseat and Orthotics.

Another exciting summer for us, but this is in a positive way.

I am still a bit fatigued and look forward to a couple of days with my girls Up North next week.

I will remind you I will be gone for a few.

Boy are things growing.

Plants and wild creatures are changing daily.

Just a couple weeks ago, we were getting whiffs of the intoxicating lilacs in bloom.

This past week, the sweet aroma of 'Black Locust Trees' filled the air.

You guessed it.


Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia):

All pictures were taken this past week.

Native to the southern Appalachians and the Ozarks, where it occurs on slopes and forest edges.

It has been planted in the lower 48 states and parts of Canada.

Noted as spreading in jack pine barrens in Michigan as early as 1888 and in several location in my part of Michigan.

This tree tolerates a wide range of soil conditions,

As a legume, Black locust fixes nitrogen and soil nitrogen levels are higher under old trees.

It produces more leaf litter and that litter has much higher nitrogen concentrations than most native tree species.

Black locust was planted and harvested for its wood to make fence wooden fences.

Like cedar, Black locust makes its own toxins and anti-rot chemicals.

Fence post can last up to one hundred years, making this a valuable and renewable resource at one time.

Black locust however, is not a good yard tree, or a tree to have on the farm where animals graze.

As beautiful as they look for two weeks, they have their issues.

Pictured is a thorn, or barb the tree bares at every leaflet.

This species of tree spreads by seed and root system (clone).

Creating a thick patch and and out competing native plants for life itself.

As you can see by the pictures I took last week, Black locust can be a true sight and smell that is captivating.

Black locust contains several toxic components in its leaves, stems, bark and seeds.

Ingestion results in both gastrointestinal and neurological effects which are particularly acute in farm animals and may be fatal.

In low nutrient habitats, this facilitates invasion by weedy, nitrogen-loving non- natives, which slows and sometimes alters patterns of succession.

Although it initially invades disturbed areas, it also poses a particular threat to prairies, savannas and open woods.

Eradication can be a challenge for you.

Identification and Habit:

A deciduous, medium-sized tree ranging in height from 12-25 m (40-82 ft) and 30-60 cm (12-24 in) in diameter.

It has a narrow crown and an open, irregular form with contorted branches.

Black locust has an extensive network of lateral roots and forms dense clones.

Leaves are alternate and pinnately compound with 7-21 leaflets per leaf.

The rounded leaflets are 2.5-5.0 cm (1-2 in) long and the leaves are up to 35.5 cm (14 in) long. Bark/Stems: Black locust has green stems, smooth brown bark when young.

It has paired spines on the twigs at the leaf bases that mature to about 1/2 inch long.

As it ages, the bark of mature trees becomes thick, tan to gray-brown, scaly and deeply furrowed with flat ridges.

Reproduction and Dispersal:

Black locust reproduction is primarily the root system, although it can also reproduce by seed.

It sprouts from the roots and forms clones, particularly in sandy soils.

It also sprouts easily from stumps in response to damage.

Trees begin suckering at four or five years of age.

A fibrous network of roots connects a black locust grove, with the oldest trees in the center and younger trees around the periphery, In late-successional communities, black locust becomes rare, as the species is shade-intolerant.

It grows rapidly and matures early; some trees may produce seed at six years of age.

Heavy seed crops occur at one or two year intervals. The seeds have a hard, impermeable coat and require scarification to germinate.

They are heavy and fall close to the parent tree, although birds may move them over longer distances.

Research suggests seeds may remain viable for a century of more.

Trees begin suckering at four or five years of age.

A fibrous network of roots connects a black locust grove, with the oldest trees in the center and younger trees around the periphery, In late-successional communities, black locust becomes rare, as the species is shade-intolerant.

Similar Species:

Honey locust (Gleditsia triacanthos) has leaves with smaller, more numerous leaflets.

Leaves may be doubly compound; a single leaf has multi-leafletted leaflets branching off a central axis.

Its clustered flowers are not conspicuous or showy.

With the development of thornless Honey locust trees, they have become a popular Tree along suburban streets and the backyard.

Forming shade canopies and the tiny leaves that mow or rake, right into the yard or garden, (adding nitrogen).

Bristly locust (Robinia hispida) The southern native is a shrub, with brushlike hairs on its stems and fruit.

Its showy flowers are pink, not white and its leaves have 13 or fewer leaflets, while black locust may have up to 21

I could share much more with you, but then I get even longer winded, besides, it gives you a chance to do some research.

A thought for you........

Because a plant says its native, doesn't make it native to your region.

Well, it is time to fly for now.

Before I go, here is your positive thought for the week.

God Bless.

"Common sense is the knack of seeing things as they are, and doing things as they ought to be done."

Harriet Beecher Stowe

The bible is full of wisdom and verses on seeking wisdom and common sense.

"My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight, preserve sound judgment and discretion;"

Proverbs 3:21

On the lips of him who has understanding, wisdom is found, but a rod is for the back of him who lacks sense.

Proverbs 10:15

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life.

“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.
One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed,
arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority,
lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”

He continued,

“The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope,
serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy,
generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.
The same fight is going on inside you –
and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute
and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson

PS. If you enjoy these letters, please forward them to friends, family and co-workers.

Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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