[permaculture] what makes black locust last so long?

paul wheaton paul at richsoil.com
Mon Aug 25 13:59:21 EDT 2008

I have asked this question about 20 times in all sorts of different
places.  Any time anybody seems like they might possibly know ...

So I ask it again here.

In case nobody knows, I hope that somebody might carry this question
with them and maybe some day spot an answer.

So we know that black locust wood lasts a long time.  Old time farmers
would call it "stone wood" claiming that it would last longer than
stones when used as fence posts.

Why?  Does it have some anti-fungal property?  Anti-microbial?  I've
heard some people say something about it could be because it is just
so dense - but that doesn't seem right either.  Other dense woods seem
to decompose fairly rapidly.

Would it be less than wise to use black locust as a garden border
because of some alelopathic effect as it decomposes?  Or would it
somehow make an excellent garden border because it will last 30 years,
and what little of it that does rot will pass on the n-fixing it did
when it was alive.

I've been trying to get an answer to this question for three years ...
maybe I'm asking it wrong, or researching it wrong ... or something


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