Name that Tree

By Gil Medeiros, Fairfax Master Gardener
Black Locust FlowersIf you selected Black Locust, you are correct!

You are probably wondering why the native Black Locust is not usually cultivated in its native range but is commonly used in cultivated landscapes in Europe. The problem is that the Black Locust is prone to several severe pest problems in the eastern U.S. but not in Europe. There are borers and leaf-miners, but the worst problem is infestation by the conk fungus (Phellinus robineae). It causes the tree trunks to deteriorate and fail catastrophically in windstorms, damaging cars, buildings and other nearby structures. Some extension services advise removal of Black Locusts, particularly from the sides of streets.

Black Locust Leaves

Black Locust leaves similar in appearance to those of garden peas

Here is another oddity: the conk fungus damages LIVE trees, but harvested locust wood is among the most durable and decay resistant on the planet! Go figure. It has been said that Locust wood will last longer than stone. Locust wood is commonly used for fence posts, the underground portions of which are subject to all manner of insect and microbial attacks.

And get this — Black Locust has become an invasive species in some parts of CHINA where it is cultivated for i