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  • Writer's pictureKelly Robinson

Common Denver Trees : Honeylocust

Honey locust trees, also known as Gleditsia triacanthos, are a species of tree that are native to North America. They are known for their tall, majestic growth habit and beautiful, fern-like leaves. These trees are also known for their ability to adapt to a variety of environments, including urban areas.

Honey locusts are a popular choice for urban landscaping due to their fast growth rate, tolerance to a variety of soil types, and resistance to pests and diseases. These trees can grow up to 80 feet tall and 50 feet wide, making them a great option for providing shade in urban areas. They are also known for their attractive bark, which can range from a smooth gray to a rough, textured brown.

One of the unique characteristics of honey locust trees is their thorny branches. These thorns, which can grow up to 4 inches long, are a defense mechanism against herbivores and provide protection for the tree. However, this feature can also be a drawback in urban areas, as the thorns can be a safety hazard for pedestrians and children. Some cultivars of honey locust have been developed that have been selected to have less or no thorns.

Honey locust trees also provide important ecological benefits in urban areas. They are a popular food source for many species of wildlife, including birds and small mammals. Additionally, honey locusts are known for their ability to absorb and filter pollutants from the air, making them a valuable addition to any urban landscape.

Despite the many benefits of honey locust trees in urban environments, there are a few challenges that must be considered when planting them. One issue is their deep taproot, which can make them difficult to transplant, and their roots can also cause damage to sidewalks, driveways, and foundations if not properly managed. Additionally, honey locusts are susceptible to a number of diseases and pests, including the locust borer and the fungus anthracnose.

Overall, honey locusts are a beautiful and beneficial addition to any urban environment. They provide shade, beauty, and ecological benefits while requiring minimal maintenance. With proper care and consideration, honey locusts can thrive in urban areas for many years to come.

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