How to Prune Bristly Locust


Bristly locust has its name for a reason; this shrub's branches are covered with bristles. Native to the southern U.S., bristly locust has spread over much of the Southeast. While it has beautiful blooms, they are short lived. However, bristly locust is an excellent plant for dry, sandy soil or areas that have suffered from soil erosion. Hardy through zones 5 to 8, this shrub thrives in less than ideal conditions, but you need to prune bristly locust to keep it in check.

Step 1

Prune bristly locust at least once every season. Bristly locust grows rapidly and needs to be kept in check, lest it take over your yard. Pruning bristly locust in the late summer will prevent the branches from bleeding.

Step 2

Remove any dead or damaged branches. Bristly locust's branches are weak and break easily in the wind. Remove any branches that seem at risk for breaking. Remove all branches at the base of the shrub.

Step 3

Remove any suckers growing out of their bounds. Bristly locust sends out many suckers that may overreach their bounds if not controlled. Cut off the suckers at the base of the bristly locust.

Step 4

Trim off any dead flowers to prevent them from going to seed. Bristly locust will self seed if the flowers are allowed to turn into seed pods.

Step 5

Remove any seed pods on the bristly locust and on the ground if the flowers have gone to seed. Unless you want bristly locust crowding out other plants, it is best to remove the seed pods before they establish themselves.

Tips and Warnings

  • Bristly locust may become invasive if left to its own devices. Prune regularly to prevent this. Always wear gloves when pruning bristly locust. The bristles can be sharp.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Gloves


  • Bristly Locust Fact Sheet
  • Bristly Locust
  • NPIN: Robinia hispida L. Bristly locust

Who Can Help

  • Bristly Locust
Keywords: prune bristly locust, bristly locust, pruning bristly locust

About this Author

Hollan Johnson is a freelance writer and contributing editor for many online publications. She has been writing professionally since 2008 and her interests are travel, gardening, sewing and Mac computers. Prior to freelance writing, Johnson taught English in Japan. She has a Bachelor of Arts in linguistics from the University of Las Vegas, Nevada.