Once again the Albany region is about to be invaded by the golden blooms of the Sydney Golden Wattle (Acacia longifolia). It has the reputation as one of the worst environmental weeds to invade the South Coast region. The first record for the appearance of this weed in Albany was in 1986. Now, only 30 years later, it is a common species in our local bushlands.

Sydney Golden Wattle is a small tree to 10m high and is native to NSW and Victoria. It was introduced to WA and SA as a shelter belt tree in revegetation projects. Unfortunately in high rainfall areas it is highly aggressive and is out competing the plants found in our native bushlands.

Its three main distinguishing features at this time of year include:

· Leaves ( phyllodes) that are 5 – 25cm long and have 2 – 4 prominent veins

· the ‘golden’ yellow flower head is cylindrical in shape and 2-5cm’s in length

· The leaves are bright bottle green so they stand out in the southcoast bushland

The main flowering period is June to 10. These then develop into thousands of seed pods which open in our summer months. Birds and ants then carry the seed and spread it through the bush. Seedlings germinate in winter. The juveniles quickly grow to maturity and become prolific producers of pods and seeds in 2-3 years. The trees can live for up to 25 years [in WA) and the seeds may remain dormant in the soil for more than 10 years.

The Southcoast Sydney Golden Wattle Network has brought together some key environmental groups who are working to reduce the impact of this weed. One of the main strategies is to ‘attack’ the weed on its outer population edges to stop it spreading further. Wellstead Community Resource Centre is coordinating a Sydney Golden Wattle‘ weed reduction’ programme across a 10,000 ha area within the Wellstead District. This is representative of one of the eastern population frontiers in the region. They received 0,000 from the State Natural Resource Management fund to carry out this programme which includes mechanical and chemical along with hand puling.

All members of the southcoast community are fully encouraged to actively contribute to the Sydney Golden Wattle weeding programme. The removal of seedlings can save our environment from the thousands of seeds that this individual plant can produce in its lifetime.

For further information on this aggressive weed please phone the City of Albany Bushcarer’s Team on 9841 4099.