Acacia mearnsii aka black wattle

Discussion in 'Put Your Questions to the Experts!' started by MichaelU, Oct 6, 2016.

  1. MichaelU

    MichaelU New Member

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    Next to the thread about so-called "invasive trees" where the subject may be commented on in a general way, I would very much appreciate to hear about the experiences with very specific trees which appear on the list of "invasive trees".

    In the natural reservation close to our land, the black wattle is considered as a "danger to the native plant world". In fact, you can find black wattles here and there (our neighbours have them and there were already a few on the land when we arrived), but so far I haven't seen any signs that this tree would "take over" the area.

    Any comments are welcome

    MichaelU
     
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  2. JP L

    JP L New Member

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    I'd be very interested to learn your opinion on the black wattle Michael. I am currently considering purchasing a property that has a significant growth of back wattle across the property, probably about 1 hectare in total, mostly through two gullies facing northeast on a steep slope.

    I know the trees have spread somewhat but I don't believe they have been particularly invasive over a short time. Initially I thought it would be best to let this property go but have been thinking about thinning it out and utilising the timber for heating, and thought the nitrogen fixing benefits may play well into a 10 year plan for a diverse orchard. There looks to be good opportunity to capture water. Also, I thought perhaps the bees might like the black wattle..... I'd appreciate any thoughts you or anyone might have....

    Thanks JP
     
  3. MichaelU

    MichaelU New Member

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    Hello JP,

    I have been horseriding in our area where the black wattle is considered as "invasive" and found the tree in many places. Yet, it doesn´t appear at all to take away the space for the indigenous flora, since I could see many times native trees happily growing next to the acacias and the overall impression was that the black wattle simply naturalized here, having a positive impact on the local ecosystem.
    In your case, I would see the acacias as a positive rsource and possible backbone for a future foof forest/orchard.

    As far as I have read, black wattle doesn´t serve as a source of food for bees, but indeed is an excellent source for firewood, timber, tannin as well as a fast growing windbreak. It also allows coppicing and regrows vigorously after having been pruned.

    I planted some black wattles to have a comparison with all the other trees and they are by far the fasted growing trees in our system.

    Greetings

    Michael
     
  4. BajaJohn

    BajaJohn New Member

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    It is very hard to judge the environmental impacts of a species simply by "eyeballing" an area. It may take several years of careful observation and documentation to understand what is really happening.
    This article is a pretty comprehensive description of black wattle. One potential problem for permaculture is that black wattle releases chemicals that inhibit germination and grown of other species in a process known as allelopathy.
     
  5. MichaelU

    MichaelU New Member

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    Hello John,

    thanks for the link and thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    I have doubts about generalizing a tree species as "allelopathic". Again, personal observation shows that there are many individual black wattles around here where I live which have many different (autoctonous) shrubs/bushes/trees happily growing right next to them. Looks more like a natural guild supporting each other.

    English is not my mother tongue, I do not exactly get what you mean by "eyeballing". Basically I do not make any final conclusions about anything I observe and keep myself open to new information. So far, after being here for more than two and a half years and having passed by places where black wattle grows a couple of hundred times, the impression I get is that these trees in this specific area have simply naturalized and are "doing a good job" for the local ecosystem, means supporting biodiversity.
     
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