The wood is dense, durable and resistant to rot—making it ideal for a wide variety of outdoor applications. Black Locust’s rot-resistant qualities are due to the presence of tyloses and extractives. Tyloses are bulges of plant tissue that block cell vessels making them watertight. Extractives are compounds with anti-fungal properties found outside the cell wall of certain plants, including Black Locust, that foster water resistance. If properly dried, Black Locust has excellent dimensional stability and minimal shrinkage. The species has an extensive history of projects that document its durability. A study of Black Locust rot resistance still widely used today was published in 1949 by the U.S. Department Of Agriculture.
The Black Locust tree is native to the Appalachian Mountain Range, but has been widely planted in the eastern half of the country. The tree’s ability to sprout new growth by underground stems makes Black Locust,a rapidly renewable resource. The new shoots thrive, thus encouraging new growth if the mother tree is cut down. Black Locust is rarely seen alone as a single tree, it often grows in groves due to the scattered nature of the underground shoots. Black Locust is also a nitrogen-fixing tree species.
Domestic Black Locust or Robinia pseudoacacia is a sustainable alternative to endangered tropical hardwoods, such as Ipe or Teak. The Rainforest Alliance lists Black Locust among of the most preferred alternatives to tropical hardwoods for outdoor applications. The harvesting of rainforest tropical hardwoods is unsustainable; the event of bringing the wood to market is ecologically unfavorable.