Is the wattle tree in your garden a potential weed?

​Wattles can make beautiful trees, particularly when in flower, but if they are not native to the area they can become a serious weed in local bushland.

The City of Bunbury has been working closely with Main Roads WA and the Bunbury Cemetery Board to limit the impact of wattle weeds, which can quickly invade bushland and compete aggressively with other native plants for water, light and nutrients.

As they can create dense thickets of trees, wattles can effectively wipe out all other native plants and habitat for native animals.

Sydney golden wattle (Acacia longifolia), which is native to Australia’s East Coast, is the most problematic in Bunbury. It was most likely introduced to the South West as an ornamental shade tree or soil stabiliser.

City of Bunbury Environmental Officer Colin Spencer said removing the trees from bushland and road reserves was costly and labour-intensive.

“It is a tough and ongoing job but thanks to $22,200 in grant funding from the State NRM Program, supported by Royalties for Regions, we have been able to make a dent in the local population by removing a very large infestation of Sydney golden wattle from a wetland in Carey Park,” Mr Spencer said.

“We can’t manage weeds in isolation – all affected landholders big and small need to play a role.

“Seeds from one tree in a garden can be spread by birds and insects to other areas, starting new infestations.

“We encourage people to think about what they plant in their gardens as they may end up a weed in the bush next door.”

The City has produced a fact sheet to help with the identification of Sydney golden wattle, how to control weed wattles and provides a list of alternative trees suitable for planting in Bunbury gardens.

The fact sheet can be downloaded from the City of Bunbury website