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.

Habits:

  • 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
  • Evergreen
  • 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
Design Function:
  • 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
Products:
  • 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
Ecological Function:
  • 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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