black locust


Currently the choice of durable wood is either chemically pressure-treated or old growth fir, redwood, cedar, or cypress. There is a need for a quality alternative source of lumber. Our organization is working to save the genetics of superior trees and start making them available in industrial quantities. We are making strides with Shipmast Locust and more recently, Catalpa.

Why Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia)?

USDA Factsheet on Blacklocust

  • extremely high durability
  • can be used for external purposes without toxic preservatives
  • very strong and hard
  • lowest shrinkage value for US domestic wood.
  • makes good charcoal
  • provides excellant honey nectar
  • It is also adaptable to environmental extremes such as drought, air pollutants, and high light intensities
  • Rapid growth, dense wood, and N2  fixing ability make it ideal for colonizing degraded sites
  • "The species has one of the highest net photosynthetic rates among woody plants"
  • Uses: The beautiful light to dark brown wood is used to make paneling, siding, flooring, furniture, boat building (substitute for teak), decking, vineyard or nursery props, fruit boxes, and pallets. It is also a preferred wood for pulp production
  • Sources: 6,7,8.

Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) produces a durable, attractive, and natural wood. "The durability factors of Robinia are very high, and the timber may be safely used for all external purposes without a preservative(6)"


The Tree: Black Locust reaches heights of 100 feet, with a diameter of 3 feet.

Distribution: Black Locust is native to the Appalachian Mountains from Pennsylvania to northern Georgia and Alabama and to the Ozark Mountains of southern Missouri, Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma. Also in southern Illinois and Indiana. It has been extensively naturalized in the United States and Canada(7).