Great Plant Pick: Golden locust

  • Wednesday, May 22, 2024 1:30am
  • Life
The sunshine glow of this tree remains consistently bright from spring until fall. (Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks)

The sunshine glow of this tree remains consistently bright from spring until fall. (Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks)

What: The brilliant lemon-yellow leaves of the golden locust tree — also known as golden false acacia, or robinia pseudoacacia frisia — are a beacon in the spring and summer landscape. The sunshine glow of this tree remains consistently bright from spring until fall. Each of its leaves is up to 12 inches long and composed of up to 23 oval leaflets. This creates bright shade beneath this lovely tree. The rugged branching pattern and deeply furrowed bark on mature trees are picturesque. In late spring and early summer, it produces hanging clusters of fragrant, pea-like white flowers. It is a remarkably tough tree, growing vigorously in poor soil and in polluted urban conditions. It tolerates heavy clay soil if there is adequate drainage, and with little extra water it sails through prolonged dry spells during Pacific Northwest summers.

Where: Golden locust adapts readily to a wide range of soil types, including sand and clay, as long as the soil is well-drained. It will grow best in full sun, but will tolerate light or open shade. The foliage color will be brightest with full sun. If placed in partial shade, the foliage will be bright chartreuse.

Size: Reaches 25 feet high by 15 feet wide in 10 years.

Care: Once established, it is drought tolerant. Gardening beneath golden false acacia can cause root suckers; remove them as close as possible to the underground root from which they sprout.

— greatplantpicks.org

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