Honeylocust Trees Landscaping Uses


Plant Reference



May 3, 2023

Honeylocust Trees Landscaping Uses

Honeylocust trees are a popular choice for landscaping due to their versatility, beauty, and adaptability. These deciduous trees not only provide shade and visual interest but they are also known for their tolerance to various environmental conditions. In this article, we will explore different varieties of honeylocust trees, their benefits in landscaping, planting, and care tips, and some creative ideas for incorporating them into your landscape design.

Honeylocust Tree Varieties

There are several varieties of honeylocust trees, each with its unique characteristics. All Nursery available Honeylocust are thornless varieties, so there’s no need to worry about getting poked! Here are three popular ones:

Skyline Honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos f. inermis)

This variety has a spreading canopy that provides dappled shade, allowing the growth of grass and other plants beneath it. Skyline was bred with higher disease resistance than Shademaster, with all the same great features.

Sunburst Honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos 'Sunburst')

Sunburst is a popular cultivar due to its attractive, bright yellow foliage that emerges in spring and gradually fades to green as the season progresses. This variety is also thornless, making it ideal for residential landscapes.

Shademaster Honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos 'Shademaster')

Shademaster is known for its rapid growth and ability to provide dense shade. It has dark green, pinnately compound leaves that create a pleasant, dappled shade effect. This is an older variety compared to the others, but is still one of the most popular.

Landscaping Benefits

Honeylocust tree with green leaves

Honeylocust trees offer numerous benefits for landscaping, including:

Shade Provision

Honeylocust trees are known for their spreading canopy, which provides a generous amount of shade during hot summer months. This makes them a perfect choice for parks, picnic areas, or even your backyard.


With their delicate, fern-like leaves and attractive branching structure, honeylocust trees can be a stunning focal point in any landscape. The fall foliage color varies among varieties, ranging from golden yellow to orange hues.

Soil Improvement

Honeylocust trees have nitrogen-fixing properties, which means they can improve soil quality by adding essential nutrients. This feature can be beneficial for other plants in your landscape.

Pollution Tolerance

Honeylocust trees are known for their tolerance to urban pollution, making them a suitable choice for landscaping in cities or areas with high levels of air pollution.


These trees are highly adaptable, capable of growing in various soil types and tolerating a range of environmental conditions, including drought and salt spray. This adaptability makes them a low-maintenance option for many landscapes.

Planting and Care

To ensure the success of your honeylocust tree, consider the following planting and care tips:

Site Selection

Choose a site with well-draining soil and full sun exposure. Honeylocust trees can tolerate partial shade, but they will grow best in full sun.


Plant your honeylocust tree in early spring or fall, when the soil is moist but not waterlogged. Dig a hole twice as wide and slightly shallower than the root ball. Place the tree in the hole, ensuring that the top of the root ball is about two inches above the root flare. Fill the hole with soil, and water thoroughly to settle the soil around the roots.

Pruning and Maintenance

Prune your honeylocust tree in late winter or early spring, removing any dead, damaged, or crossing branches. Regular pruning helps maintain the tree's shape and promotes healthy growth.

Potential Pests and Diseases

Honeylocust trees are generally resistant to pests and diseases. However, they can be susceptible to certain issues, such as honeylocust plant bug, spider mites, slime flux, or canker. Regular monitoring and prompt treatment can help prevent these problems from escalating.

Creative Landscaping Ideas with Honeylocust Trees

Canopy of a honeylocust tree

Here are some ideas for incorporating honeylocust trees into your landscape design:

  • Plant a honeylocust tree near your patio or deck to create dappled shade for outdoor living spaces.
  • Use honeylocust trees as street trees or along driveways for visual interest and shade.
  • Create a natural privacy screen by planting a row of honeylocust trees along your property's border.
  • Integrate honeylocust trees into a mixed planting bed, along with perennials, shrubs, and other tree species for added texture and color.
  • Establish a honeylocust tree as a specimen or focal point in your landscape, drawing attention to its unique features and seasonal color changes.

Planting Honeylocust Trees for Optimal Growth

To ensure that your honeylocust tree thrives in your landscape, follow these planting guidelines:

Soil Preparation

Before planting, it's essential to prepare the soil properly. Start by loosening the soil to a depth of 12 to 18 inches and mixing in organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, to improve soil structure and fertility.


After planting, water your honeylocust tree deeply and regularly during the first growing season to encourage the development of a robust root system. After the first year, reduce watering frequency but continue to provide supplemental irrigation during periods of drought.


Applying a layer of mulch around the base of your honeylocust tree can help retain soil moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature. Use organic mulch materials, such as wood chips or shredded bark, and maintain a 2- to 4-inch layer, keeping it a few inches away from the tree trunk to prevent rot.


Honeylocust trees typically do not require heavy fertilization. However, applying a slow-release, balanced fertilizer in early spring can promote healthy growth. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for application rates and methods.

Arbor Valley Nursery: A Trusted Resource for Honeylocust Trees

Arbor Valley Nursery is an excellent source for high-quality honeylocust trees, providing a wide range of varieties to suit your landscaping needs. As a reliable and trusted nursery, Arbor Valley Nursery offers:

Expert Advice

The knowledgeable staff at Arbor Valley Nursery can guide you in selecting the right honeylocust variety for your landscape, taking into account factors such as climate, soil conditions, and available space.

Healthy, Well-Maintained Trees

Arbor Valley Nursery is committed to providing healthy, well-maintained trees that have been grown under optimal conditions. This ensures that your honeylocust tree will have a strong start in your landscape.

Information and Resources

Arbor Valley Nursery offers valuable information and resources on planting, care, and maintenance of honeylocust trees, ensuring that you have the knowledge to help your tree thrive in its new environment.

Rapid Response Delivery Service

With Arbor Valley Nursery's convenient delivery service, you can have your honeylocust tree delivered directly to your home or job site, making the planting process more manageable, while keeping you on schedule.

Honeylocust trees are a versatile and attractive option for landscaping, offering shade, aesthetic appeal, and adaptability. By selecting the appropriate variety and providing proper care, you can enjoy the many benefits of these trees in your landscape for years to come. Consider incorporating honeylocust trees into your next landscaping project for a unique and low-maintenance addition to your outdoor space.

FAQs About Honeylocust Trees

Q: Can honeylocust trees be planted in small spaces?

A: Honeylocust are a large shade tree. Be sure to research this variety's mature size and growth habit before planting in a limited area.

Q: Are honeylocust trees invasive?

A: No. The original species Honeylocust, Gleditsia triacanthos, could spread easily due to seed pods. However nowadays all commercially available varieties are thornless and nearly all are seedless.

Q: Do honeylocust trees have deep root systems?

A: Honeylocust trees have a relatively shallow root system, which can occasionally cause issues with sidewalks or other hardscape features. Be mindful of this when selecting a planting location.

Q: How long does it take for a honeylocust tree to reach maturity?

A: Honeylocust trees typically reach maturity within 30 to 40 years, depending on the variety and growing conditions. Some faster-growing cultivars can reach maturity in as little as 20 years.

Q: Are honeylocust trees suitable for all climate zones?

A: Honeylocust trees are generally suitable for USDA hardiness zones 4 through 9. However, it's essential to choose a variety adapted to your specific region for the best results.