Acacia – Wattles

Of the over 700 species of Acacia native to Australia only a small number were introduced to New Zealand in the mid 1800’s.  Fodder Farm have three of the more common Acacia, the Australian Blackwood, Silver Wattle and Black Wattle available for sale. These trees are great multi-purpose additions to your landscape if used appropriately as they do have a reputation of being invasive. When used as a support species within a managed planting they can be contained and their nitrogen fixing properties will assist in feeding the surrounding plants. Managed plantings can consist of mixed shelterbelts, hedgerows or agroforesty (tree plantation which is grazed). By utilizing their forage-ability livestock can remove any suckers or seedlings to prevent further spread. As acacia are fast growing and soil-improving they are a natural pioneer species, often providing a relatively short-term land coverage after fires or other damage to existing coverage eg, Landworks, roading etc.

blackwood flower
Blackwood Flower

In a food forest situation, Acacia are used to provide shelter and nutrition to the heavy feeding food crops. Their ability to be coppiced or heavily pruned means height/size can be managed and the chop and drop method can be used to provide mulch and keep the nutrients in situ. Over winter the fluffy small white or yellow flowers of the evergreen Acacia’s are also useful bee fodder at a time when not much is available.

The edible flowers of the Silver Wattle and Blackwood are used to make fritters etc. While the gum of the Silver and Black Wattle is also considered edible and the seeds of the Black Wattle.  Other uses are erosion control, firewood and timber, the Blackwood has beautiful timber and a high tannin content. While all three are hardy the Black Wattle and Blackwood may be susceptible to heavier frost when young. The Silver Wattle is more suited to dryer sites, while the Blackwood likes good rainfall and will tolerate wet sites. The Black Wattle is good for clay or poor soils which need improving.

black wattle seed pods
Black Wattle seed pods

Silver wattle – Acacia dealbata

Fast growing and hardy, this evergreen shelter tree reaches 20m. Good for timber & fuelwood. Excellent for dry plains sites and Nitrogen fixing. Bright yellow flowers are great for bees.

Nitrogen Fixing, Shelter, Erosion, Control, Birds/Bees, Timber, Fuelwood, Coppicing, Fodder.

Australian Blackwood – Acacia melanoxylon

A fast-growing and evergreen spreading tree reaching 20m.  Prefers sheltered sites with good rainfall and tolerates wet soil. It is great for erosion protection with a suckering habit. Pale yellow flowers in late winter are good fodder for bees. Handles only light frosts when young.

Nitrogen fixing, Shelter, Erosion Control, Birds/Bees, Timber, Fuelwood,

Coppicing, Fodder.

Black Wattle – Acacia mearnsii

Provides fast evergreen shelter up to 12m. Will grow in clays and poor soils, it is non-suckering and nitrogen fixing. Suitable nurse crop for other species, like food forests or natives. Handles light frosts only. Excellent firewood tree.

Nitrogen Fixing, Shelter, Erosion Control, Birds/Bees, Timber, Fuelwood, Coppicing.

silver wattle
Silver Wattle Flower

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