Wattle Fever

Wattle in flower 008The wattles around town are in full bloom displaying masses of fluffy golden ,fragrant flowers . Much to the horror of hayfever and allergy sufferers
many of us find the wattles a welcome sign to the beginning of spring. It’s not too late to get one planted now for next years display and there are many varities to choose from.
Wattles belong to the Fabaceae family because they have a distinct characteristic and that is there seed pods. This family is commly called the pea family as they all have seeds inclosed in pods. There are 900 species in the Genus Acacia and they really are a stand out plant for Australias diverse conditions found in habitats from our rainforests to our most arid regions.
Wattles are a wonderful Australian native that really is quite famous in its own right. The Golden wattle Acacia pycanthra is Australias floral emblem. Even the queen is very fond of our wattle when she wonts to think of Australia she wears a Golden wattle brooch and her 1954 coronation dress was embroidied with the Golden wattle along with all the those other flowers of the commonwealth.
May gibbs has used wattle trees and gum nut babies in many of her stories. Her delighful characters are apart of many childrens early litracy years feuling there imagination with Aussie flora and australian wildlife. We are famous for our Australian bush world wide.
This Australian icon is one tough plant and the nursery industry has developed many varieteies for us to choose from. Available now is even a variety that has no flower but has become extremly popular in our landscaping for its soft weeping foliage and hardiness . The Acacia cognata is a small shrub getting no more than 50cm in height . Acacia ‘Limelight’ is a tall upright specimen once again with no flowers but has such lovely soft lime green weeping foliage and is a beautiful soft addition to any garden .
Acacia ‘Limelight’ will reach up to 2-3 metres and is a great screening idea and so fast to establish itself. Fast growing is what has made Australian natives popular.They are evergreen too so you can enjoy you’re Acacias all year round.
Pest and Disease issues
Something you may notice at this time of the year is the activity of a certain pest called the Wattle tick scale or Cryptes baccatus.
I found a fantastic display of this infestation in a friends garden. This scale is huge usually 5-10mm in length. The grey to white hard shells looks like balls one after another in groups of up to 50. They spend there life in these protective hard shells which makes them difficult to eradicate while they
suck the goodness from your wattle. While they are busy doing this ants will come and herd them up and down the wattle stealing the sugery secretions. Applying some pest oil will smother the scale insect and the ants will disappear too when the suger stops from there productivity.

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