Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie
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  • 201 Black Locust Grove

    Fairview farm site now a black locust grove.

    The trees in this grove are black locust trees. Their introduction on the west side of the farmstead was advocated by the Soil Conservation Service during the Dustbowl years of the 1930s. They were widely promoted for soil conservation. Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) reproduce both by pollen and via root suckers, so the entire grove that you see may in fact be just a few individual organisms. The Schumachers would cut and store this wood for the winter for use as fuel on the farm. Black locust is dense wood. A cord of black locust wood provides the same amount of heat as a ton of anthracite coal. Black locusts live about 60 years, so this grove is very old and nearing the end of its life span.

    As you pass the old maple tree on the right, note the wooden slats about 10 feet above the ground, now nearly grown over by the tree. We don’t know if this is an old deer stand or a playhouse of long gone farm children. The tree is dying and will likely soon have to be cut down for safety’s sake.

    Follow the path to the left until you reach sign #2.