Sunburst Honey Locust – Gleditsia triacanthos

Sunburst Honey Locust Tree
Gleditsia triacanthos ‘Sunburst’
Family: Fabaceae (Leguminosae)

USDA Hardiness Zone: 3
Gleditsia triacanthos 'Sunburst'The Sunburst honey locust grows to 70 feet, with an open, spreading crown and dinstinctive horizontal branching habit. Free of the nasty thorns and messy pods of other more primitive locusts, the Sunburst nevertheless has a massive, shallow rooting habit that can heave sidewalks and curbs if not given enough room. [2]

The thornless honey locust has been an exceptionally popular tree for all types of landscapes. Small leaves on the open canopy allow pleasantly dappled light to reach the ground. The ability to grow grass under these trees has helped them reach the popularity they now enjoy. Unfortunately, numerous pests and diseases have infiltrated populations of honey locusts, and popularity has declined.
Sunburst honey locustThis Sunburst Honey Locust is 54 years old on May 10th, 2011 at The Morton Arboretum. It was planted in 1956.

Trees provide cover: Birds and small animals need concealed places for nesting and hiding from predators. The presence of wildlife can make your backyard or woodlot a special place for your family and children. As urban sprawl displaces many birds and animals from their natural habitat, it becomes even more important for home and landowners to provide green space and mini-sanctuaries for birds and other wildlife.

Trees provide food: Having a wide variety of trees that provide seeds, nuts and fruit for wildlife to eat is one way to increase your success in attracting wildlife. although artificial bird feeders can supplement naturally occurring foods, they can attract unwanted pests such as pigeons, Canada geese, squirrels, and even rats. Trees also provide food by attracting insects and providing cover for their activities; mating, egg-laying.

Japanese locust thorns

Japanese locust thorns; this ancient defense mechanism has been bred out of many modern species.

1. Colorado State University, “Sunburst Honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos ‘Sunburst’)
2. Sunburst Honey Locust, Morton Arboretum acc. 366-56*1, photos by Bruce Marlin

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