Perhaps the perfect combination blooming tree/windbreak/privacy hedge is the honey locust tree. It also has some interesting lore.
Also known as Honeyshuck, Sweet Locust and Sweet Bean Tree, the highly adaptable Honey Locust Tree is a popular and useful ornamental. It tolerates the poorest of soil conditions, including salt, while also withstanding heat and drought. The Honey Locust Tree grows quickly, reaching a height of 60 to 100 feet with an average 50 foot width. It roots deeply and is long lived, commonly attaining an age well over a hundred years. It may be transplanted with ease. All of these characteristics make it a valuable windbreak, as well as providing needed shade in a relatively short time.
Tree Windbreak Function
The Honey Locust Tree, with its stiff thorns, planted and trimmed as a hedge, makes an impenetrable screen against intruders and also serves as an excellent privacy screen. The thorns are so hard, they’ve been used as nails in times past.
It is deciduous, with small bright green leaves and sweetly scented cream-colored flowers appearing in late spring. Bees find the nectar appealing, which can help draw bees to your garden. Leaves turn a luminous yellow in fall and compost quickly after falling.
Native Americans found the fruit of this blooming tree, a pod filled with a sweet pulp to be a source of food. The wood of this tree was also a favored material for bows. The pulp inside the pods has been fermented to make a beer, while the seeds may be roasted as a coffee beverage. Native American lore says that the Thunder Spirit’s son was known by his ability to comfortably lounge in the branches – and thorns – of the Honey Locust Tree.
The wood of the Honey Locust is tough and durable and makes excellent furniture pieces, although due to its limited supply, you’ll not readily find it in lumber yards or furniture shops. Being rot-resistant, it works well for posts and fencing.
With careful management, a stand of these flowering and blooming trees can yield a continuous supply of good firewood. It also provides good fodder to a variety of wildlife as well as domesticated farm animals.
All things considered, the Honey Locust Blooming Tree has many virtues besides its use as a windbreak or privacy hedge. This tree is resistant to Gypsy moths. Check with your nursery for its resistance to other pests in your region, as it varies.
In addition to its functional uses, it makes a pretty sight in spring and fall.