~by Texas Homesteader ~
Have you ever heard of a Honey Locust tree? Pretty name, MEAN TREE with long thorns! They grow everywhere on our NE Texas property. For the most part we consider them troublesome and invasive. But there are some really good features too.
When RancherMan & I found this little piece of paradise, we were smitten that’s for sure. As we looked over that old fence at the dilapidated 1880’s barn and overgrown property, we saw something beautiful. We saw where our future would be found. We saw HOME.
It’s been lots of work getting our property where it is now, and we’re nowhere near done.
You see, there’s a prolific tree growing here called ‘Honey Locust’. For the most part we find these trees troublesome. But out of a useless tree, at least there are some useful features
Honey Locust Tree USELESS Features
There are LOTS of thorns on a Honey Locust tree! In the photo above you can see this tree’s trunk is covered with an almost impenetrable mass of thorns all along the trunk and all along the branches too. And these aren’t regular sized thorns y’all. Some thorns are right at a foot long!
Those thorns are tough too. They’ll easily go through a work boot or flatten a tractor tire in a heartbeat. We’ve had cattle that were injured after stepping on those thorns.
Hard To Control
Want to cut them down? HOW??!! How do you get the chainsaw through the thorns.
And once you do, how do you grasp the cut limb to haul it off? And do you really want to broadcast those thorns as you drag a limb away? (I’ll answer for you. No, no you do not!)
Let me tell ya, much bloodshed has happened for me and RancherMan as we vow to rid our property of each and every one of these ‘Satan Trees’!
And the female trees also produce bean pods, a favorite food for many critters.
Of course they eat the bean pods and then deposit the seeds elsewhere in their scat. Many animals don’t digest the seeds so more trees are seeded this way. yippee…
Honey Locust Tree USEFUL Features
OK, we hate the trees y’all. It’s our fervent desire to one day rid our property of Every. Single. One. But they do have some useful features.
Honey Locust Flowers A Honeybee Favorite
The blossoms of the honey locust tree are favored by honeybees (and other pollinators as well).
It’s said that honey made from the blossoms of the honey locust is some mighty-fine honey indeed. We’re beekeepers so that certainly appeals to us.
Honey Locust Wood Is Good Firewood
Honey Locust wood makes pretty darn good firewood too.
According to the Forestry dept, a cord of Honey Locust is dense wood, weighing from 3800 – 4600 lbs & containing a whopping 26.7 MILLION BTU’s.
Honey Locust fares well in all the Forestry categories: Easy splitting, low smoke, few sparks, excellent coals, slight fragrance and excellent overall quality. (references below)
RancherMan & I recently harvested a Honey Locust that had died but remained standing. As it stood, it seasoned. Then one day a heavy wind blew it down, the roots no longer able to support it.
But since it remained standing until now the wood was still in very good shape for firewood. It’s very dense and it makes a nice hot fire that lasts a long time.
So RancherMan & I started by CAREFULLY cut away the fanning limbs (filled with thorns) to get to the trunk.
When nothing remained but the trunk I ran a sharp blade along the surface to dislodge most of the thorny masses.
When the thorns were dislodged we raked them away to keep us from stepping on them as we worked Then RancherMan cut the trunk into firewood-log-sized chunks and we split the logs.
I was amazed to see this in a piece of split Honey Locust wood. DANG, there are even thorns INSIDE the wood!
Honey Locust Tree Beauty
OK I’ll admit it. The tree is very pretty. Its leaves are dainty, the fall color is nice and the tree itself makes a nice shade tree too.
So although we’re still anxious to one day rid our property of thousands of these trees, at least in the meantime they do serve some purpose.
NE Texas Native Trees & Plants
- Honey Locust Tree – Useless yet Useful
- Identifying A Western Soapberry Tree
- Bois d’Arc – Beautiful & Functional Tree
- Jujube Tree Produces Sweet Fruits
- Wild Plum Tree Offers Plums For Delicious Jelly
- Keeping Bermuda Grass Out Of Garden Beds
- Foraging: Eating From The Land For FREE!
- Using Nature For Beautiful Natural Tablescape
Other Wildlife Posts
- Trapping Wild Hogs
- Wild Hogs: Making The Best Of A Bad Situation
- Trapping & Relocating An Armadillo
- Adding Temporary Protection For Wild Rabbit’s Nest
- Keeping Wild Birds From Eating Your Chicken’s Feed
- How To Keep Birds (and their POOP) Off Your Railings
- Itchy Chiggers – Separating Relief Fact From Fallacy
- How To Safely Catch & Relocate A Beneficial Snake
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