G6800 Selecting Landscape Plants: Shade Trees | Page 11 | University of Missouri Extension

Revised June 2008

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Selecting Landscape Plants: Shade Trees

Honey locust (Gleditsia triacanthos var. inermis)

Large trees

Honey locust

  • Maximum height
    80 feet
  • Relative growth rate
  • Freedom from insect pests
    Very poor
  • Freedom from disease problems
  • Resistance to storm damage
  • Will grow on poorly drained soil
  • Will grow in hot, dry areas
  • Easy to transplant
  • Withstands city conditions

Native honey locust trees are best known for their long, stiff, branched thorns that are a constant hazard. They also produce long, flat seed pods that may be a nuisance. The improved thornless, podless varieties of honey locust are the only ones that should be considered for planting. Many of these varieties are available. They make exceptional shade trees. The lacy foliage gives a loose, open shade that is ideal for shading patios and for growing plants. In the autumn the small leaflets filter into the grass as they fall and require little raking. Unfortunately, honey locust is subject to attacks by mimosa webworms, and unless the insect is controlled it may nearly defoliate the tree by midsummer some years.

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