On one side of our yard is a small, woodsy, naturalized area. There used to be a larger area like this in the back yard, but we increased our usable acreage after we moved in by clearing out all that brush and flattening out the ground there. And because of that, we have these lovely remnants.
Do you see them? Do you see those evil things? Here, let me help.
See them now? Locust trees. Black locust, I think. Doesn’t the name even sound gross? ick. During the spring, they do have pretty flowers. And then the flowers die off and get all over my fresh mulch. And then for the rest of the summer, I am fighting the runners.
Yes, that’s right. Runners. So I can’t even just dig/pull the bastards up, because they are growing from a big network of interconnected roots from old stumps that are now cut off or buried, and still living existing trees. And even when I can grab a root and pull it up out of the ground as far as I can, I inevitably get to a point where I can’t go any further because it’s IN the raised bed (UGHHHH), intertwined in another plant, under a landscaping tie, or something else.
The side garden is riddled with the things, and all I can really do is cut them back every couple weeks. So there are about 5 or 6 spots in this garden where there’s a group of little mini stumps from me cutting it back there so often. The plants grow stupid fast. The above shot is probably 2 weeks of growth. Even better? They have thorns. And the way the saplings are, you can’t just snap them off barehanded (even if you do want to risk the thorns), so you actually have to snip them.
I think there’s not a whole lot I can do. Searches over the years have led to this info, more or less: “Non-chemical control of black locust is largely ineffective because of the plant’s vigorous re-sprouting ability. Cutting or burning generally increases sucker and sprout productivity. Most management efforts have concentrated on use of chemical controls. However, seedlings may be hand pulled if the entire root is removed. Repeated cutting or mowing may achieve some level of control but likely will not result in eradication.” And I’ve already been fighting them for like 5 years, so I have little hope.
These horrible trees, along with bermuda/wire grass (which I will get to in another post), are one of my main garden foes. What are yours?