Black Stump: Why And How To Remove Black Locust Trees From Your Farm
Many unpleasant events cause problems on Australian farms -- prolonged droughts, cyclones, cane toad invasions -- but one of the lesser known banes of the farmer's existence is dealing with invasive, non-native plant species that can grow in their land. Australia's problems with invasive plants can be just as serious as the far more publicised problems with invasive animal species, and even some trees can't be trusted.
The black locust is one of the most troublesome invasive tree species in the country -- so troublesome, in fact, that it is often considered an invasive weed in its native North America. And while a single black locust tree may not be much of an issue, leaving it to grow and breed can be a big mistake. Fortunately, many tree removal specialists are well versed in removing these obnoxious trees, and you should call on their services as soon as possible if black locust infestations are troubling your farm.
Why should black locust trees be removed from your farmland?
Two factors combine to make black locust trees the bane of a farmer's existence: rapid growth and rapid suckering. A single, small black locust sapling can grow into a fully mature tree in a matter of months, and this rapid growth is enabled by a sprawling root system that drains the surrounding land of water and nutrients alarmingly quickly. As you can imagine, this can present a serious problem for crop farmers, as black locusts growing near fields can significantly stunt the growth of even the hardiest crops.
A single black locust tree is bothersome enough, but the real problem is that black locusts rarely stay single for long. Although capable of reproducing with seeds, black lcosuts are also capable of reproducing via a process known as suckering; these suckers sprout from the root system of an established tree, and rapidly grow into another mature tree genetically identical to the first. A mature black locust can sprout multiple suckers in a year, but if the root system is disturbed a tree may throw up hundreds of suckers in a short space of time.
If these suckers are not removed quickly, they will grow into a dense thicket of mature trees, which exclude most other plant life in the area and form dense canopies that starve any remaining plants of life. These thickets can cause severe damage to crop yields, and are just as problematic for livestock farmers, as they can block access to pastures, waterways and other vital areas.
How can black locust trees be removed from your farmland?
As you can imagine, suckering problems can make thorough removal of a black locust infestation challenging at best. As such, you should also call in professional tree removal services when deal with black locusts, as amateur attempt to remove trees can often make the problem worse. These services can use a number of methods to remove any and all black locust trees and suckers from your farmland:
Cutting: If black locusts are present on your land but not encroaching onto fields or pastures, repeatedly cutting the trees down to stumps can prevent them from reproducing and stop infestations from spreading. This saves you the trouble of completely removing an infestation, but the cutting must be repeated at least once a year to make sure the trees are too weak to sucker.
Bulldozing and pulling: If you are dealing with a larger thicket of trees, but the trees are not yet mature, having the infested area bulldozed and the remaining stumps uprooted can be very effective. Be aware that even small amounts of root matter left in the soil can sucker into new trees, so you may wish to follow dozing up with other control methods. Planting soil-altering plants (such as soybeans) in the recently-dozed area can be very effective at preventing suckers from becoming established.
Herbicides: If you need to completely remove mature trees from your land, herbicides are the only truly effective option. To apply them, your tree removal service will first cut down the trees before drilling holes in the stumps and applying the herbicides directly to the interior of the hollowed stump. This allows the herbicides to penetrate the root system and prevent new suckers from replacing the fallen trees.