Forest Friday is looking at the QLD Silver Wattle – Acacia podalyriifolia.
“Knowledge is great, understanding is better”
This is a chance for us to explore the different trees we use in our permaculture designs. There is so much to understand about a tree before placing it in a system, and by giving a tree what it needs to thrive, the whole system can benefit from the many design and ecologic functions they provide. Savour Soil uses the QLD Silver Wattle – Acacia podalyriifolia in many designs, as habitat and food for fauna, reflective screen and wind break, but there is so much more to this tree.
- Subtropical and warm temperate
- Native Region is SE QLD and NE NSW
- Habitat was mainly Eucalytp woodlands
- Now found on road sides, open urban areas and riparian zones
- Seeds are propagated by fire and other disturbance
- Fleshy arils on the seed attract birds and ants who spread it
Needs, Tolerances + Susceptibilities:
- Drought tolerant, requires very little water
- Requires free draining soil
- Full sun to part shade
- Tolerant of frost
- Self Pollinating
- Native to soils derived from sandstone and granite
- Will thrive in many soils
- Susceptible to Longicorn beetles and sooty mold in humid areas
Charactoristics + Behaviours:
- Large shrub wide spreading
- Height to 7m but can be pruned to 2m
- Has a taproot
- Fast growing, short lived -10-15 years
- Smooth grey bark
- Prolific flowers and seeds in second year
- Seeds remain viable for 5 years
- Seeds designed to be attractive to birds, ants and small mammals for propagation
- Invasive in regions outside of QLD
- In South Africa it is banned as it outcompetes indigenous plants
- Weed of refuse areas – seeds in rubbish
- Could be toxic if ingested
- Lots of Pollen for asthmatics
- Prune to 2m as screen/ wind break
- Perfect along roads to reflects light and heat
- Prolific flowering during winter extending colour in the garden
- Unique silver foliage
- Perfumed yellow globular flowers from May to August
- Habitat and food for local fauna
- Flowers set in resin for jewelry
- Iconic leaf structure and flower used in Australiana design -Silver Wattle is a colour in itself
- Wattles in general are used for their quick growing wood, mulch, the seeds are a bush food, cut flowers in native displays.
- The gum of wattles is the adhesive for postage stamps
- It fixes nitrogen in the soil, prevents other natives growing
- Soil stabliser, roots designed for holding thin soil together
- Food for seed eating birds like Cockatoos + Parrots in particular the red winged parrot
- Food for insect eating birds
- Pollen for bees
- Leaves are food for larvae of fiery Jewel and wattle blue butterflies
- Good for bird nesting
- Currently using types of wattles to hold back salinity in degrading soils
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