Become an Acacia Expert -learn to identify, grow and use Acacias; for landscping, soil rehabilitation-even food.

Course CodeVHT114
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

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Learn to Identify, Grow and Use a wide Variety of Acacias


Acacias occur naturally mainly in dry tropical or mild temperate regions.  Authorities vary on the exact number of species that exist, but more are native to Australia than anywhere else. Other species are as wide spread as Africa, America and South East Asia. Some occur naturally in snow prone areas, and can withstand very harsh winter conditions.

Acacias are mostly shrubs and trees. Some are very low growing and can be used effectively as ground covers. Growing Acacias in areas outside of their natural conditions can be somewhat unpredictable and variable.

  • Some have adapted well as garden plants, or as windbreak or screening plants.
  • Others have become weeds when transplanted beyond their indigenous area.
  • Some have other uses and a number are even farmed commercially to produce products as diverse as extracts for medicines, oil for the perfume industry, edible food products, and timber products for fencing, furniture and building construction.


This course builds your ability to both identify and use different Acacias.

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
    • Review of the system of plant identification, information sources, etc.
  2. Physiology of Acacias
    • Flower structure
    • Foliage types within the genus
    • Flower types within the genus
    • Acacia fruits
  3. Culture
    • Planting, staking, mulching, watering, feeding, pruning, etc
  4. Propagation
    • Methods of propagating Acacias.
    • Propagation of selected varieties.
  5. Acacias in the Garden
    • Landscape uses
    • Plant selection
    • Acacias for different situations (Cold hardy, drought hardy, humid climates, summer flowering, autumn flowering, etc)
    • The Design Process
  6. Other Uses for Acacias
    • Timber uses
    • Tanning
    • Cut Flowers
    • Food Source
    • Gum Arabic
  7. Pest & Diseases
    • Galls, Beetles, Weevils, etc
    • Environmental problems: Frost, Shade, Temperature, Wind
  8. Special Project
    • PBL project where you plan the establishment of a collection of different cultivars of Acacias suited to growing in a specified locality.

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • Describe the way in which Acacias are classified.
  • Determine how to find reliable resource information that relates to Acacias
  • Describe the physiology of Acacias
  • Determine cultural requirements that are common to Acacias
  • Determine propagation methods that are commonly applicable to Acacias.
  • Describe a variety of commercial uses for Acacias.
  • Describe a range of other practical uses for Acacias.
  • Identify and recommend treatment for a variety of health problems occurring with Acacias.
  • Develop an in depth understanding of one aspect of Acacia Growing.

Acacias have more uses than most people realize.

  • The most obvious use is as a garden plant; or perhaps a timber.
  • Acacias are also grown and harvested for a whole range of purposes.
  • Did you realize that Gum Arabic comes from Acacias?
  • Did you realize that some African tribes use Acacias as a major food source for livestock?
  • Do you realize, some Acacias are used to supply medicines?
  • Do you realize native peoples in Australia, Africa and other places eat seeds, flowers, gum and other things harvested from Acacias

    Want To Learn More .... This course offers a unique opportunity to do just that!


What are Wattles?

Wattles are plants belonging to the genus "Acacia" within the plant family "Mimosaceae",


There are over 700 species of wattles; a large proportion indigenous to Australia, but many others from Africa, Asia and elsewhere.

A Brief Overview

Appearance: Mainly shrubs and small trees. Pod-like fruits. Leaves fern-like (pinnate) or reduced to leaf like petioles (phyllodes).

Flowers: Soft cylinders or balls; mainly yellows or creams.

Features: Some are scented, some are commercial sources of tannin, timber, firewood and gums. A. pycnantha is the floral emblem of Australia.

Requirements: Generally adapt to a wide range of soils. Most prefer well drained conditions. There are varieties suited to most climates, mainly natives of Australia and southern Africa, many prefer full sun or filtered light, some do well in shaded but not dark conditions.

Culture: Propagate by seed (crack seed coats by immersing in boiling water, prior to sowing), light pruning may be useful to shape, otherwise avoid pruning, many are short lived (15 years or less), others are long lived (over 100 yrs).

Pest and Disease Management: Not a lot of serious problems, though wasp galls and borers are not uncommon. Use a systemic insecticide, when problem is detected.



“Wattles are commercially important plants in many ways, and many parts of the world, from Australia through Asia and the Middle East into Africa. They have unique value for land rehabilitation, and certain species are prized for timber, fodder and even food"   
Quote from John Mason Dip.Hort.Sc. FIOH, FAIH, FPLA, MISHS, Garden Author and Horticultural Scientist

Studying any one group of plants in such depth will put you on the path to becoming somewhat of an expert with wattles.
This can be a valuable thing for many professions; from nurseryman, landscaper or horticulturist to environmentalist or botanist.
For others, wattles may simply be a passion.

What you learn here may be building on knowledge you already have, or it may be setting a foundation to continue learning more and more about Acacias after you graduate.

If you work with plants in any capacity, this course will be an asset in your career.
If you work more specifically with Acacias, this course may be a unique opportunity to grow your awareness, knowledge and skills set in ways that you might not easily achieve elsewhere.



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Rosemary Davies

Leading horticultural expert in Australia. Rosemary trained in Horticultural Applied Science at Melbourne University. Initially she worked with Agriculture Victoria as an extension officer, taught horticulture students, worked on radio with ABC radio (c
John Mason

Parks Manager, Nurseryman, Landscape Designer, Garden Writer and Consultant. Over 40 years experience; working in Victoria, Queensland and the UK. He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world.
Robert James

B.App. Sc. (Horticulture), Dip.Ag., M.Sc., Grad Dip.Mgt. Over 50 years experience that includes, Nursery Manager Brisbane City Councoil, Grounds Manager (University of Qld), Lecturer Qld Agricultural College, Propagator/Nurseryman at Aspley Nursery, Hort
Adriana Fraser

Over 30 years working in horticulture, as a gardener, propagator, landscape designer , teacher and consultant. Adriana has spent much of her life living on large properties, developing and maintaining her own gardens, and living a semi self sufficient li
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