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My goal this spring is to plant a tree in the backyard. The Honey Locust or Gleditsia triacanthos inermis is native, planted in my area, somewhat pest free and would do the job nicely.

When I mentioned this my arborist he said it was a poor choice as they would be dying from a new disease. He did not say what and I can't find any mention of new pests or diseases for this tree.

Does anyone know of a new pest or disease on the North American East coast, USDA zone 4, that would mean it would not be advisable to plant this tree?

  • What are the symptoms of the disease? If your arborist didn't say, can you ask? – Brōtsyorfuzthrāx Mar 26 at 23:34
  • @Brōtsyorfuzthrāx The arborist is good but not talkative. I will ask him when we get some work done this spring. – kevinsky Mar 26 at 23:51
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Can't find mention of anything new affecting this particular tree; you may have already read this particular link, but according to this https://web.extension.illinois.edu/hortanswers/plantdetail.cfm?PlantID=214&PlantTypeID=7, because this tree is widely planted, some of the problems it's prone to are now considered serious.

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The thorns make it undesirable around a home, even before it drops seed pods all over.

  • Yes, the species is well defended with thorns. The Inermis cultivars are thornless and sometimes promise seedless. I think this really means they have seed pods after many years of growing – kevinsky Mar 26 at 16:34
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    I've seen very old Inermis trees with massive thorns, but we're talking many decades, not years, after planting. They can also get quite large - the one in a nearby park (seedless and thornless, BTW) is about 50 ft tall and wide, with maybe only a 20-24 inch caliper. If you'd like something smaller with similar leaves, may I suggest a Kentucky Coffeetree (Gymnocladus kentuckea). Not seedless, but the immature seedpods resemble bananas, which is (appallingly) amusing when someone thinks that this tree is where bananas come from. – Jurp Mar 26 at 16:57
  • Yeah, the kentucky coffeetree pods look a lot like honey locust pods, too. If you're in a warm enough zone, you might also consider a carob tree, Ceratonia siliqua, which has similar, but far more edible pods. Then there's honey mesquite, Prosopis glandulosa (but I hear mesquite has dangerous thorns). Mesquite pods are also edible, and the wood and/or bark has uses. – Brōtsyorfuzthrāx Mar 26 at 23:39

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