The black locust tree is valued as much for the high, filtered shade cast by its ferny foliage as for the brilliant shades of yellow and gold those same leaves add to the fall landscape. Robinia pseudoacacia is also a fast growing tree.
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Most cultivars feature green foliage which colors in autumn but there is one called 'Frisia' whose leaves emerge yellow-green each spring and retain this coloration until they drop in late fall.
No matter which cultivar of R. pseudoacacia you plant, its bright fall foliage is sure to stand out against the darker leaves of the evergreen trees and shrubs in your landscape.
Although the black locust is a large, deciduous tree, it does not create a maintenance problem. Its leaves, being comprised of many small oval-shaped leaflets, melt gently into the soil after they descend and do not need to be raked up.
If this is not enough to recommend it, the black locust tree also flowers.
The small, white pea flowers dangle from the trees in fragrant clusters and make quite a show when they appear. They are followed by bean-like pods which contain the tree's seeds.
Black locust wood is brittle and thorny. It is best to site the trees away from foot paths and outdoor play or seating areas.
The trees are also large (to 80 feet tall at maturity) and tend to sucker from their roots.
Siting a black locust tree in the center of a large lawn is an excellent idea for several reasons:
This is a hardy plant which will readily adapt to most soil types. Water it regularly until it has settled in (1 year or so) and developed some drought tolerance.
It acclimates well to both heat and cold. Plant it in zones 4-9 for best performance.
Robinia pseudoacacia only needs training when it is young to establish a strong framework. Once the tree has grown too large to prune easily, it will no longer require yearly pruning.
Locust trees are usually trained to a central leader: