Species Specifics: Honeylocust and black locust

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Picture of Honeylocust

Even the most productive pastures often benefit from weed and brush control. Learn how to identify and control two common locust species in pastures and restore productivity to your grazing acres.


  • Thorns from locust trees can puncture tires.
  • Locust trees can reach up to 100 feet in height.
  • Aggressive resprouting makes locust tough to keep out of pastures, but you can control them any time of year with individual plant treatments.


A thorn in your side is a phrase we’ve all heard, and with locust species, it holds true. Honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos) is a deciduous, fast-growing, aggressive, thorny legume tree. The bark is grayish-brown and furrowed with long scaly ridges. The leaves are alternate, oval and 6 to 8 inches long. Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) is very similar in appearance but has dark brown and deeply furrowed bark. Both species produce white fragrant flowers that appear from May to June.


While honeylocust is more common, both species are found in pastures throughout most of the United States. Honeylocust spreads rapidly from seeds, outcompeting native vegetation and forming dense thickets of trees. Black locust reproduces rapidly by root suckering and stump sprouts, which can regrow to form groves of trees.


When cut, locust can produce abundant new sprouts from buds around the trunk and along the root system. Because of this, it’s important to kill the stump.

For basal cut-stump applications, use DuraCor® herbicide at 16-20 fl oz/a with Remedy® Ultra herbicide 16-32 fl oz/a + Non-ionic surfactant 0.25% v/v. Spray the outer portion of the cut surface, the sides of the stump to the soil line and any exposed roots. You can use this same herbicide-plus-oil mix for low-volume basal applications to treat locust — and most other woody species — with trunks smaller than 6 inches diameter at the base of the tree.

You can make these treatments any time of the year, including winter months, as long as snow or standing water doesn’t prevent proper application. Late winter and early spring applications often provide optimum control. See the related article in this issue of Range & Pasture Steward for more information on low-volume basal and basal cut-stump treatments.


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® Trademarks of Corteva Agriscience and its affiliated companies. State restrictions on the sale and use of Remedy® Ultra apply. Consult the label for full details. Always read and follow label directions.

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