Australian Native Courses




Develop a broad understanding of Australian native plants; their identification, culture and use. Emphasis is placed on the horticulturally important genera. This is an accredited module in the Proficiency Award 4 in Horticulture.
There are eight lessons as follows:
1. Introduction - plant identification, characteristics of Australian flora.
2. Cultural Techniques.
3. Eucalypts.
4. Native Trees - Casuarina, Lophostemon, Angophora, Callitris, etc.
5. Acacias.
6. Melaleucas, Callistemons & Leptospermums.
7. Grevilleas.
8. Ground Covers And Small Shrubs.

Fee Code: S2
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Learn about the identification and botany, and culture (planting, watering, feeding, propagation)
of the wattles. Around 50 species are studied in detail. You also learn about the commercial uses of Acacias as building materials, food plants, for tanning, craft, etc. There are eight lessons as follows:
1. Introduction and Resources.
2. Physiology and Botany of Acacias.
3. Culture - planting, mulching, pruning, etc.
4. Propagation
5. Acacias And Their Uses - Windbreaks, erosion control, soil enrichment, tubs.
6. Other Uses For Acacias - Timber, craft etc.
7. Pest & Disease of Acacias
8. Special Project

Fee Code: S2
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Focuses on smaller growing natives
(eg. wildflowers, clumping plants, etc).
1. Introduction.
2. Growing Conditions - planting, feeding, pests & diseases, etc.
3. Heaths And Similar Plants. (eg. Thryptomene, Bauera, Astartea)
4. The Daisy Family (eg. Helichrysum, Helipterum, Celmisia).
5. The Legumes (Pultenaea, Kennedya, etc.)
6. Other Groups (Boronias, Crowea, etc.)
7. The Monocots (Native grasses, Native iris, Anigozanthus).
8. Special Assignment - in depth study of one plant or group.

Fee Code: S2
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This course first teaches you about different types of Australian flora, plant identification, information sources, planting, feeding, soils, pests & diseases, watering, propagation and transplanting. The remaining lessons then deal with selected varieties of trees, windbreak planting, agroforestry, tree maintenance and tree selection. There are eight lessons as follows:
1. Introduction and Resources
2. Culture - Soils and nutrition, pruning, planting techniques, etc.
3. Propagation - Seed, cuttings, grafting techniques for natives.
4. Important Groups Of Native Trees (excluding Eucalypts).
5. More Important Groups - Eucalypts
6. Other Varieties - Rainforest trees, native conifers.
7. Making The Best Use Of Native Trees. Landscaping, biological control,
special planting techniques.
8. Special Assignment - On one plant or group.

Fee Code: S2
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Learn which ferns occur naturally in Australia, how to identify them, where to obtain accurate information on them, how to propagate them, growing and using ferns in baskets, terrariums, and landscapes.
There are eight lessons as follows:
1. Introduction & Resources
2. Culture - Planting, mulching, watering, pest & disease, feeding etc
3. Propagation
4. The Most Commonly Grown Varieties. Maidenhairs, tree ferns, stags, elks, common ground ferns.
5. Other Important Groups - Blechnum, Nephrolepis, Pteris etc.
6. Other Varieties -Hares foot ferns, Bracken, Fans.
7. Making The Best Use Of Native Ferns. In containers, in the ground, indoor plants, growing and showing etc.
8. Special Assignment - On one genera of ferns.

Fee Code: S2
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The following is an Extract from the book "Growing Australian Natives" by John Mason, published by Kangaroo Press, 1997.

ACACIA Mimosaceae

Number of species: More than 800 named plus many unnamed species native to Australia. It is the largest genus in Australia.
Natural habitat: Throughout Australia in a wide variety of climatic and soil conditions (though only a few from tropical rainforests).
Flowering: There will be a species flowering somewhere in Australia at any time of the year with the heaviest concentration of flowering times occurring between late autumn to late spring depending on the species and where it is planted. Some Acacias are amongst the most spectacular flowering native plants. Flower colours are almost universally shades of yellow, ranging from pale through to golden.
Hardiness: Most are very hardy.
Habit: Ground covers, shrubs and trees.
Foliage: Varies greatly in shape & size. Colours are generally green to bluish-grey or silver. Acacias may have either:
1) Bipinnate true leaves
2) Phyllodes which are modified leaf-like structures that carry out the functions of the true leaves which are absent at maturity in most species
3) Cladodes which are stems that carry out the functions of the leaves. Both true leaves and phyllodes are absent. Growth: Usually rapid.
Lifespan: Generally short-lived though some of the larger woody types (eg. A. decurrens and A. elata) can live a lot longer.

#Suited to most soils. Some are sensitive to high phosphorus levels.
A. spectabilis sensitive to boron deficiency.
Many are sensitive to over-wet soils.
#Borers are a major pest. Crusader bugs can also be a serious problem.
#Caterpillars are a problem on some feather-leaved types.
#Pruning is risky, often resulting in die-back although many species will respond well to light pruning immediately after flowering.
#Respond well to watering in dry periods.
#Propagation is by pre-treated seed ie. prior to sowing, place seed in a cup & pour boiling water over to soften the seed coat. Allow the water to cool before removing the seeds for immediate sowing.
The germination rate of seed after treatment is generally good. Seed can be sown in propagating mix, or direct seeded into soil or open ground. Seed stored in dry conditions will last for many years, but may acquire protection from insect and fungus attack.
(See the section on seed propagation earlier in this text for more information on seed raising and germination techniques.)
Some Acacias have also been successfully propagated by cuttings, however this method is generally difficult. Usually those species with smaller leaves and phyllodes strike better than species with the large bipinnate leaves.


Growing Australian Native Plants
By John Mason
Perhaps the best value for money Australian native plant book around. Covering 1400 cultivars, 260 genera and 94 colour photos: not to mention chapters on propagation, landscaping, pests, culture & more.

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Australian Native Plants
Covering both identification and culture, it presents more than 35 different naive plants. Various cultural techniques are explained including planting, staking, pruning, mulching and watering. A wide variety of native genera are shown including several species of Grevillea, Acacia and Eucalyptus. Details of each species are then presented, such as, propagation, pruning, pest control, uses & appearance.