Wednesday, August 23, 2006


These are pods from a Honey Locust tree outside my kitchen window. This is known as a bumper crop, highly undesirable (to me) when it comes to pods. I guess I should count myself lucky that this isn't a native variety which has wicked thorns as an added bonus. An arborist told me 20 years ago that this tree was dying. I think he was wrong about that though it did develop a huge gall at the base of the trunk which just gives the squirrels a leg up. I've read that Honey Locust are short-lived trees, only attaining an age of about 125 years. Maybe that's what the tree-man was talking about.

At over 60 feet tall and about 50 years old, it has good years and bad years for pods. A good year being one with no pods. There was an article in the paper the other day explaining why it varies from year to year, something about perfect seeds and imperfect seeds. I read it three times and still didn't understand it. But the bottom line is these pods are going to turn brown and crispy and fall off the tree. They start coming down in autumn and they continue all winter. During high winds they'll strike my skylight like little kamikaze bombers until it sounds like I'm under attack. Good thing I'm not fanatical about a tidy yard or I'd drive myself crazy cleaning up after this tree.

Not to mention the miniscule leaves. Here's the promo on those: "In autumn, the small leaflets filter into the grass as they fall, requiring little raking." Right, unless you have a 20 x 20 foot concrete patio a few feet away, and where the first September snow makes them stick like glue. But they're a nice fern-type shape, and a million years from now they'll have made great leaf fossil imprints.


weeds between the cracks said...

Quite an amazing number of pods! Lots of nature's toys to pick up when they fall to the ground. I had a weeping maple that was messy and dominated my old small backyard--all I did was pick up after that tree. No, you can't be a fanatic about tidiness when living with some trees.

Carol said...

I also have a honey locust tree, which is both thornless AND seedless. I planted it because it is a "light shade" as far as tree shade goes. My only complaint... it seems that there are little suckers coming up from the roots in various spots around the lawn and nearby flower bed.

LostRoses said...

Weeds, I totally agree. And I love that you refer to those pods as "nature's toys". I've never heard that before but it's very appropriate!

Carol, I've never had any trouble with suckers but I'm sure that's because the tree is expending all its energy on pods!

Annie in Austin said...

I like small-leaved trees, too, and used to grow European Mountain ashes for the dappled shade and small leaves, which composted in the underlying mixed border, and helped everything below the tree grow well. We never had to clean up the berries - robins and waxwings were happy to help with that chore!

LostRoses said...

Annie, Oh I miss my Mountain Ash! It was a victim of fire blight and I haven't seen a Cedar Waxwing since the darn tree died. The red berries were so bright and colorful, not to mention those sleek and lovely birds.