Honeylocust is found throughout all of Ohio, being a fairly common resident of fencerows and open fields, but achieving its most favorable growth on the downslopes of streams and floodplains of rivers, where the deeper soils are moist to wet. Its fine-textured foliage makes it stand out when found next to trees with larger leaves that block more sunlight. This native of the Mississippi, Ohio, and Tennessee River Valleys has its large trunks and zigzag twigs adorned with thorns like no other large tree, although most forms found in urban areas, parks, and arboreta are propagated from thornless varieties.
Thornless Honeylocust is commonly planted as a shade tree throughout the eastern United States and southern Canada, prized for its urban tolerance, near seedless character, and filtered shade.
While also known as Thorny Locust, Common Honeylocust, or Sweet Locust, the native form may grow to 80 feet tall by 50 feet wide, with a medium to rapid growth rate. As a member of the Bean Family, it is related to other Honeylocusts, plus Redbud, Kentucky Coffeetree, Black Locust, and Wisteria, among others.
Planting Requirements - Honeylocust is very adaptable to a wide range of soil types (organic, clay, sandy, or rocky), soil pHs (acidic, neutral, or alkaline) and moisture levels (wet, moist, or dry). It is noted for being extremely tolerant to many types of environmental stresses (summer heat, reflected light, sweeping winds, drought, flooding, poor soils, compacted soils, high pH soils, winter salt spray, winter salt deposition, and air pollution). Along with Green Ash, it is the most widely planted street tree in many urban areas. It grows in full sun to partial sun, and is found in zones 4 to 8.
Potential Problems - Several major pests (webworms, mites, galls, and borers) and a few pathogens (mostly trunk and root cankers) can cause significant problems to Honeylocust, especially when many trees are planted in close proximity to one another (monoculture conditions), facilitating the rapid spread of pests or diseases. Trees may be weakened over successive years by repeated infestations of pests, especially the webworms and the borers. The best solution is to mix plantings in rural or urban areas with other tree species, promoting diversity and diminishing the problems mentioned above.