Shade Tree Types: Willow Acacia

Thu, October 23, 2014 12:57 PM | Danielle Corral

Following last week’s blog on the Desert Willow, we thought we’d introduce the other willow offered through the Shade Tree Program--the Willow Acacia. 

Native to Australia, the Willow Acacia is low maintenance, thornless, and fast growing with most mature trees reaching up to 40 ft high and 20 ft wide (pictured left).  The canopy doesn’t grow as wide/rounded due to the narrow leaves nor as low as other trees so they are, therefore, good in narrower spaces.  

Willow Acacias are evergreen, meaning they keep their green leaves year round, and during late summer to fall the trees bloom into creamy white puffball flowers (pictured right) followed by woody bean-like pods.

 

Care and Maintenance:

The Willow Acacia sapling you will receive comes in a 5-gallon base and tends to be 3-6 ft tall (pictured below).  Plant your sapling in a spot that will receive the full sun. During the first year, make sure to water deeply (at least 3 ft) and away from the trunk to avoid blow over during windstorms.  Deep, infrequent watering helps to develop a strong, anchoring root system.  Once the tree has become well-rooted, water it sparingly--every three to four weeks in the summer and every other month in the winter. Refer to our blog on How to Properly Water Your Tree for more information on watering techniques.    

Because Willow Acacias grow quickly and can develop thick canopies, thinning the canopy helps to reduce wind resistance, especially during our monsoon season.  After the first year, prune your Willow Acacia in fall or early spring to raise and thin the canopy and to remove dead or damaged limbs. Also, although we typically discourage staking because we prefer trees to develop a strong root system on their own, sometimes Willow Acacias will benefit from staking when young, as they can grow quickly and top-heavy. Please refer to our blog on How to Properly Stake Your Tree.

Willow Acacias might be a good choice for people who have less room to work with and want a low-maintenance, low-litter and fast growing tree. If you have a Willow Acacia or are thinking of getting one and have questions, please post them on our Ask the Arborist forum here and our volunteer Arborist, Erik, will answer them. 

 

References:

Erik the Arborist, on our forum:  http://vpaaz.org/STForum

http://www.horticultureunlimited.com/landscape-plants/desert-willow.html

http://www.mswn.com/plants/database/plant/acacia-salicina/

http://www.azplantlady.com/2010/09/wonderful-dilemmapart-2.html   

http://www.cvwd.org/conservation/lush_book/lush3_2.html

http://www.gardenguides.com/search?q=willow+acacia&filter=all 

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