Choosing a Honey Locust Tree

Gleditsia triacanthos

Will the Best Thornless Honeylocust Tree Please Stand Up!

A honey locust tree comparison page to help you decide which variety will best suit your landscape design plans. The types being considered here are Shademaster, Thornless, Skyline and Sunburst honeylocust trees.


Honey Locust (Gleditsia Triacanthos), Ruby Lace Variety
Honey Locust, Ruby Lace Variety
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Hammond's Nature Atlas of America describes the honey locust as a tree in bristling armor because of the sharp thorns borne by the trunk and branches of the common species Gleditsia triacanthos.

These thorns, which can grow to be a foot long, make this otherwise handsome and useful tree unapproachable so thornless varieties were bred.

It is these types (one bearing the cultivar name 'Thornless') which we will be comparing here.


Why Plant a Honeylocust Tree At All?

The leaves of the honey locust tree are made up of gracefully arching stems with up to 28 bright green, oblong leaflets arranged in wing-like pairs on either side of them.

These leaves occur on tall, spreading trees to 75 feet high and wide at maturity.

This leaf arrangement on trees of this size casts a light, high shade. The honey locust tree can be used as a focal point in the center of a lawn as grass will happily grow beneath it. Most shade trees have the nasty habit of killing the grass beneath them by casting a shade too dense to allow for the growth of a healthy lawn.

Its yellow fall color is the honey locust tree's primary claim to landscape fame.

Low maintenance is another of its strong suits. When the deciduous leaves drop, there is no need to get the rake as the small leaflets just melt into the soil adding valuable nutrients.

Gleditsia triacanthos is also a fast growing tree. A well-cared-for specimen can put on 2 feet of top growth per year.

Finally, the honey locust is an adaptable tree. It is an American native which can be found in inland areas of the eastern U.S. from gardening zones 4-9.


Honey Locust Tree Comparison Chart

Shademaster honey locust tree image from Nature Hills
Buy a Shademaster Honey Locust Tree
from: Nature Hills Nursery, Inc.

Gleditsia triacanthos f inermis 'Shademaster'

Height x Width 75 x 40 feet

Soil Any

Exposure Full to part sun

Drought Tolerant Yes

Maintenance Seedless and thornless. Not messy.

Fall Color Yellow

Zones 5-8

Skyline honey locust tree imagre from Nature Hills.
Buy a Skyline Honeylocust
from: Nature Hills Nursery, Inc.

Gleditsia triacanthos inermis 'Skyline' also called Imperial honeylocust

Height x Width 60 x 35 feet

Soil Any

Exposure Full to part sun

Drought Tolerant Very

Maintenance This cultivar is thornless and produces few seed pods

Fall Color Yellow

Zones 4-9

Special Features Rounded crown, exceptionally strong trunk and moderate deer resistance.

Gleditsia triacanthos f inermis 'Sunburst'

Height x Width 40 x 45 feet

Soil Any

Exposure Full to part sun

Drought Tolerant Yes

Maintenance Seedless and thornless. Not messy.

Fall Color Gold

Zones

5-8

Special Features 'Sunburst' is salt tolerant and may be used as a street tree. Also, its yellow new growth provides an additional season of color.

Buy a Thornless Honeylocust Tree
from: Nature Hills Nursery, Inc.

Gleditsia triacanthos inermis

Height x Width 75 x 50 feet

Soil Prefers moist, fertile, alkaline soil but will adapt to other types.

Exposure Full to part sun

Drought Tolerant Very

Maintenance Low. Thornless variety.

Fall Color Yellow

Zones 4-9

Special Features

Salt tolerance. Also, one of the few trees that can be planted on limestone soils.



More Beautiful Landscape Trees:

The Black Locust Tree in all its Golden Glory

Pictures of Palms in Residential Landscape Design

For Stunning Color Plant a Golden Rain Tree

The Foxtail Palm: a Stunning Ornament for Frost-free Gardens

The Crape Mrytle Tree: Lilac of the South

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