A nutty thing I’ve been doing is collecting our Locust Tree babies. They are springing up everywhere in the circumference of that dear tree. It’s the only tree that existed on our property when we first moved in, November 1997. It’s right by the property line, so not quite all ours, but mostly. It gives late afternoon shade, it shields that western sun from baking that front corner of the backyard. It gives shade earlier afternoon too, just less, and that grows to a huge swath by mid-late afternoon as the sun moves across the sky. Every year the tree gets bigger and the swath of shade grows.
That tree was a little skinny “weed tree” as I called it when we moved in. It has grown magnificently. There is an offspring of it that sits in the pathway of our backyard gate. It should have been moved last year, or the year before. Lethargy of mowing stopped Frank from mowing as often, obviously, and that tree sprang up. It got very big last Summer, and has some branches that stretch high into the heavens, nearly as tall as the garage roof which the tree is next to. It must still be moved. I have a space for it all planned out, and several other babies in that nursery actually growing since a few weeks ago there. I have hopes of a nice Locust Grove.
On the deck I have several bowls and jars of various sizes, glass. Water babies inside. That’s water and babies. I haven’t counted them. Numerous ones there are. Over a hundred easily. They won’t all grow up to be healthy trees. If they survive my care and are actually planted one of these days, I’ll have to cull some of them of course. I can’t really let them all grow to tree-hood. That would be immensly stupid on my part. We’d have a Locust Forest before too many years given that.
I don’t know what variety of Locust Tree this big parent is, but it’s wild. It was there when the developer wrangled the soil for this subdivision in whatever year that was, 1995 or 1996. It was left there. Amazingly. I’m glad for it. It has become my friend, that’s for sure.
The first year we were here it had pods hanging from it. Those pods dried out and rattled and fell all over the place. Messy, yes, but it wasn’t so bad. The next year and following years it did not make pods. I’ve written about this tree before, recently too I think. Anyway, it did bloom in the last year or two finally. This spring the seeds from that podding are sprouting abundantly. My eye spots every one of them that is in open area. It’s a curse almost. I dig them out with my fingers. I have dirt embedded under my fingernails this season. It’s a disease, dig out baby locust sprouts.
So I take them to the deck and plunk them into water. They send up two leaves with their thick sprouting trunk-ish self. Those two leaves open out then the real locust looking leaves come up from that middle and spread … frondy and beautiful. That’s the stage to which I’m putting them in water to. From there I’ll plant some of them. I don’t know exactly what I’ll do, but I must put them in the ground. I put some, years past, in a planter, and they all died because I forgot to water them for awhile. Bad me.
So I will probably ask Frank to Mantis me out a plot of ground for Locust Nursery, and then maybe I can grow some fine specimens and get good at growing them and knowing what to do and what to look for in a good locust sappling. Maybe someone somewhere would like some of them. I don’t know. All I know is, they are free trees. They grow wonderfully, become great shade trees. They aren’t ugly, they are thorny, they do bloom fragrant tiny white blooms eventually then set up big green pods that turn brown and then rattle as they mature and dry out. They fall in autumn and winter to the ground, and in the coming years those pods open up and the brown thick little seeds germinate, sprout to become new trees, as long as they aren’t mowed over.
They aren’t climbing trees. They have messy pods, but those pods aren’t gooey, just abundant when they are formed. They are easy enough to rake up and dispose of. I don’t know, as I said, what variety of Locust this tree is, but here it is nice looking, and has bloomed for us only once in 7 years. It must have bloomed in Spring 1997 since the tree had abundant pods on it that September when we first saw the house being built.
I’ll find a picture of the tree from way back then, and find a recent photo of it to compare growth. I’ll see about pictures of the seeds and seedlings too.