This is an admirable hedge-plant and a tree of great value, and on the river bottoms of Illinois honey-locusts are found from eighty to one hundred feet high and four feet thick. Dr. "Warder, of Ohio, thinks this tree is very valuable on account of its rapid growth. He sold one acre of locust-trees fifteen years old for one thousand dollars. The wood is much used for paving streets. A locust in Omaha, planted twelve years ago, measured thirty-one inches four feet from the ground, and was thirty-five feet high. The thornless locust is best for forests, and the thorny variety for hedges. In the thorny variety the thorns are stout, often triple or compound; leaflets lanceolate, oblong, somewhat serrated; flowers greenish and very fragrant; blossoms the middle of June; pods linear-elongated, from twelve to seventeen inches long, often twisted; filled with sweet pulp between the seeds. It was named in honor of Gleditsch, a botanist contemporary with Linnaeus. Michaux, sent out by France twenty years ago, predicted that it would become valuable as a hedge-plant.
Mr. Helme says: " In 1S3S I found this tree growing on the Mississippi, from St. Louis to Wisconsin. Those on the Mississippi, I think, are not identical with ours, for they are less thorny and the bark a darker color." A correspondent from Illinois states that if they stand near the yellow-locust they are affected with the borer; but ours are not, for a few years since all the yellow-locusts in our city were destroyed by the borer, but the honey-locusts, standing side by side with them, were not affected in the least. They will grow on any soil, wet or dry, and receive no injury from cold at thirty-four degrees below zero.
Mr. Helme says: " Six years ago I set fifty rods, one foot apart, cut back the second year to one foot from the ground, and it would turn stock in four years."
To plant a hedge, gather the seeds in the fall; in April mix them with sand, keep them moist and warm until they sprout, then sow in drills two inches deep; set the plants when one year old, cutting to within two inches of the ground. At the end of two years cut back to three inches, after which trim once a year. A man with a pair of twelve-inch shears will trim eighty rods per day, and for a wind-break I consider it invaluable. Cut back once a year, and then trim the sides to keep them tidy.
I left ten rods of my hedge as an experiment, and it is now six years old and from twelve to fifteen feet high, and will turn all large stock.
A correspondent of mine says he has been successful in setting plants three feet apart. I have no doubt a good hedge could be thus obtained, for the branches grow at nearly right angles with the trees, and they would have more room and light in this way and be less apt to smother.
Another authority says: " I raised and set plants one hundred and seventy rods in the spring of 1871, have trimmed it once, and now it is acknowledged by all who have seen it to surpass any hedge they have ever seen. And now, in conclusion, I would say, for a hedge do not let it get over three feet high; and, furthermore, time will prove it to be the only successful hedge-plant for Michigan."