The Locust tree has become a common tree weed that nobody wants. It grows really tall. It often has no other branches other than the ones 60 feet up at nearly the top. It drops debris everywhere. It propagates like no other tree. And oh yeah, it is the tree most likely to fall directly on your house right from the base as the entire flat root system rips up from the ground and tips the entire tree over with no break in the actual trunk. I have seen it. It sucks.
When Hook Mountain Growers expanded the growing area it was necessary to remove 4 Locust trees from our property. The "green" part of me felt bad. Not that bad though as I realized I still had about 4 dozen other Locust on the property to prevent extinction of the species.
For the task I consulted with John Wickes arborists. They have been doing this type of work for 3 generations and are the best at it. Before having the trees removed and all proper permits lined up, I did some research on the Locust tree to see what we could do with it. At the time, I figured even firewood seemed like a good idea. I was pretty surprised at what I found.
Locust, especially black Locust, is some of the most structurally sound wood available and has been found to last 80 years. There are stories of farmers who use the stakes in their fields for 30 years and when they wear down they turn the stakes over and use the other side.
The reason for the natural rot resistance of Locust is due to the presence of tyloses in the wood which makes the wood very water tight. There are also natural extracts present which impart an antifungal property to the logs.
So the first step in utilizing the wood on your property would be to discuss with your tree removal team what size pieces you need and if you want them to save the chip for you.
I decided on 6 foot pieces as well as 3 inch thick pieces to use for stepping areas in beds. We also had them save us about 15 yards of mulch after the remaining tree pieces were passed through the chipper.
Here is what you can do with you locust wood:
Large Bed Borders
Steps for stairs down a slope:
Wood Chips for pathway:
Raised bed border:
and if you want to sand and stain the wood:
Hope that inspires some ideas for all us Locust haters!