Gardening

The Acacia Tree: [Characteristics, Planting, Care, Irrigation and Substrate]

Acacias are graceful trees that grow in warm climates such as Hawaii, parts of Africa, Mexico, and the southwestern United States.

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The foliage is usually bright green or bluish green and the small flowers can be creamy white, pale yellow, or bright yellow.

Acacia can be evergreen or deciduous, depending on the species.

Characteristics of the Acacia tree

Botanical name: Acacia.
Family: Fabaceae or Robinia
tree type: Ornamental.
Approximate height: Between 10 and 20 meters.
Sun exposure: Lots of sunlight.
Land Type: Fits any type.
Pruning: It does not particularly require regular pruning.
Source: Africa and Australasia
Animal toxicity: Yes, and for humans.
Blade type: Perennial.
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Acacia makes up a large genus of shrubs and trees in the subfamily Mimosoideae of the pea family Fabaceae.

Originally, it comprised a group of plant species native to Africa and Australasia, but has now been limited to containing only the Australasian species.

The name of the genus is Neo-Latin, taken from the Greek ἀκακία (akakia), a term used by Dioscorides for a preparation extracted from the leaves and pods of the fruits of Vachellia nilotica, the original type of the genus. In 1623, Gaspard Bauhin mentioned the Greek ἀκακία of Dioscorides as the origin of the Latin name.

Depending on the species, they can reach between 10 and 20 meters in height.

Acacia wood: Useful?

Acacias are interesting simply because of their shape and their highly ornamental leaves, but they are also widely used as a food product and for their wood.

Acacia wood is sometimes used for flooring, and the tree’s oils have been used as flavorings in chewing gum, mints, beverages, and frozen desserts.

Acacia gum arabic is used to make glue and medicine.

How do we prepare the land for growing acacias?

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Acacias require well-drained soil, as their roots are delicate and susceptible to excess water.

Like other legumes, acacias establish symbiotic relationships with soil bacteria to fix atmospheric nitrogen, making them suitable for poor quality sites.

That is why they grow well both in cultivated fields and on vacant land.

However, plowing the area before planting the trees will provide optimal rooting conditions and promote healthy development. Regardless of their location, acacia trees will need to receive full sun to thrive.

How do we fertilize these trees and how often?

Acacias respond well to a small amount of nitrogen fertilizer.

However, it should not be added to the soil when sprouting seeds are initially planted in pots or when acacia is planted outside.

How do we water the acacias?

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Although acacias are capable of withstanding dry conditions, prolonged periods of drought will negatively affect the growth of the species, especially when it is a young tree or shrub.

Conversely, overwatering Acacia could have detrimental repercussions on the growth phases, including root rot.

Acacias survive best with infrequent, deep watering every one to two weeks. Once the tree is established, less water is needed, but irrigation of some kind is still important.

Don’t wait for the tree to wilt or show signs of lack of water to water it.

We recommend setting up a drip irrigation system to water our acacia trees.

Plant an Acacia tree step by step

Step 1: Preparation of Acacia Seeds

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Acacia propagation from seed is fairly straightforward.

Before germinating the seeds, you should chip away at the hard seed coat with a pin or sharp file, then soak it in near-boiling water overnight.

You can also buy seedlings at a garden store to save yourself some time (if you are planting seedlings, skip to step 3).

In general, germination should begin in February or March, so that the seedlings can be transplanted into the garden in the summer.

Step 2: Germination of Acacia Seeds

Sow the seeds in a tray with a seed mix (buy or mix 3 parts river sand and 1 part peat moss).

Plant them 60 centimeters apart and 60 centimeters deep.

Place the tray in a warm, humid environment that is partially shaded. Keep the soil moist by misting it regularly. Germination should occur within several days to a month.

Step 3: Transplant the Acacia seedlings

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Once the seedlings have reached more than a centimeter in height, transplant each one into its own 5-centimeter pot.

Place several handfuls of stones in the bottom of the container to facilitate the drainage of the water. Acacias prefer well-draining soil and a full day of sunlight, but seedlings should be introduced to sunlight gradually.

Start by placing them near a window so they get a couple of hours of sun a day. Make sure to only water when the top two inches of soil is dry. Acacia trees prefer a dry environment, and overwatering them will be detrimental.

Step 4: Transplant Acacias to the Garden

Acacias do not make good container trees, so transplant them into the garden as soon as the temperature is consistently above 65 degrees.

Its root system develops quickly, so if possible, plant the acacia in a position where it has room to grow to its full height.

If the fast-growing roots have started to curl, trim the curls.

Dig a hole twice the size of the pot and fill it with soil to the original level.

acacia tree care

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If you live in a dry climate, water once a week until the tree is mature.

Mulch can be applied to help keep the soil moist, but keep the mulch away from the trunk and stems as it can cause rot.

A low nitrogen fertilizer can be used, such as a standard bonzai fertilizer.

Prune the tree in the fall, when it has finished blooming.

Different uses that can be extracted from the sap of the Acacia

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The main part of the acacia that is harvested is the sap from the bark, which is known as gum arabic or gum acacia.

This gum is generally harvested from Acacia senegal, as this species is praised for having better properties.

Acacia senegal trees have to be under water stress before they can produce gum.

That said, it is important to decide in advance the purpose of growing an acacia so that the necessary conditions for the collection of gum or ornamental value are met.

Acacia flowers are also harvested for scented oil that is commonly used in perfumes. Most species of acacia are evergreen, but the flowers bloom from November to February.

Pests and diseases that can affect the Acacia

Acacias are mostly low-maintenance trees.

Prune each year to remove dead or damaged wood.

Cut the suckers down to the ground and remove any branches that rub against each other. Regular pruning will minimize branch breakage and serious damage during wind storms.

Diseases that affect Acacia

The most serious disease affecting acacias is anthracnose, which causes leaf spots and can eventually weaken or even kill the tree.

Quickly pick up the leaf litter and dispose of it.

If anthracnose is a problem, spray the tree according to the package directions with a fungicide labeled to treat anthracnose.

pests and insects

The most common insect pests that bother acacias are aphids, thrips , and whiteflies.

These insects have sucking mouthparts and cause damage by sucking juices from stems and leaves. Most of the time, they move on their own. If the damage is severe, spray the leaves of the tree with a constant stream of water to remove them.

You can also spray acacias with neem oil to suffocate insects.

Large trees are difficult to treat with horticultural oil. Make applications on a cool, cloudy day because the oil can burn the leaves if applied on a hot day.

Disadvantages of acacias

As garden plants, acacias are not without their flaws.

These bushes and trees are known for their short life, dangerous thorns, attracting ants, and spreading with carefree aggressiveness.

In fact, in some places they are considered invasive species.

However, as something of a botanical femme fatale, the acacia seduces unsuspecting plant lovers with a truly spectacular display of gorgeous and often highly scented flowers.

How long does acacia live?

Acacias have an average lifespan of 60 years, although with proper care they can even reach 90 years.

How long does it take to grow acacia?

It takes about 10 years to build its entire structure.

How long does it take to produce fruit?

It is a species capable of beginning its production process between 5 and 8 years of age.

Can it be grown in a pot?

It is possible to work it in a pot, although this will influence the final result of the plant in terms of its dimensions, since it will be smaller than garden acacias.

How many times does the acacia produce fruit?

It is a plant that can maintain flowers throughout the year, being able to obtain fruit 2 to 3 times a year in its ideal climate.

Should acacia be pollinated to obtain fruit?

Pollination must be carried out for the fruits to be obtained. This process is carried out with the intervention of insects.

How cold can acacia tolerate?

It can tolerate cold up to 5 ° C. This means that it is not possible to have it in an area where frost occurs.

How many acacias can be planted per hectare?

The possible average of acacias that are possible to work in one hectare is between 100 and 200 copies.

How much heat and/or drought can acacia tolerate?

It is capable of tolerating periods of intense heat that exceed 35° C, but it is better that they are not kept in these conditions for a long time.

And it is a drought-resistant species when it is well established as an adult tree. In youth it is better to keep it with irrigation.

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