Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Sowing the seeds of our own protection

A few weeks ago now I ordered some Silver Wattle seeds. 

Silver Wattle - Acacia dealbata - is a plant of our local forest. It is very pretty, especially when in flower with masses of yellow puff ball flowers against grey-green delicate fern-like foliage. But best of all it is somewhat fire retardant and that is the main reason I decided to put more in -  as a native buffer between our house and the Eucalyptus forest part of our property to the south and west of the house.

Contrary to the label, I found that the seeds popped up much more quickly than 10-21 days once they had been successfully heat treated. There hasn't been a great germination rate - probably less than 50%.

I also collected some seeds from the trees nearby but most of our Silver Wattles are quite immature and many didn't have seed pods so ordering them in was the way to go. The seeds collected locally have actually been harder to raise than those I bought. Odd hey? Shouldn't the local ones be better suited to local conditions?

Their baby leaves are so pretty and delicate.

A few weeks on and they look like this. They have been coping very well with the very hot weather and dry conditions -  they close up their leaves to protect themselves when they get dry.

It feels good to sow the seeds of our own protection -  that they are local natives and that they are nitrogen fixers as well is an added bonus. It wont take long before they are put to work protecting us -  they grow so fast. I am planning to mix them with another local native fire retarder - the kurrajong. I think it will be a very pretty forest to have at our backs.

Do you know of other fire retarders? I know that any deciduous plant is somewhat fire retarding so the fruit trees I am planning will be part of our fire protection plan as well.

Stay safe and fire-proof everyone. And thanks everyone for your thoughts and best wishes yesterday, they were really appreciated!


  1. Wow, I didn't even know there were fire retardant plants! Thanks for such an informative post, and I hope they grow well!

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    2. I am learning so much about so many things. You know when I said I was going to leave (paid) work, people thought my brain would go dead. But I learn so much everyday about new things, and things so crucial to everyday life.

      I will post a little more on fire retarding plants in the future as I learn more.

  2. Thanks for an interesting post.....I am very much hoping to tree change one day and the issue of bush fires is something that will require careful consideration when selecting location (Never the less I will definitely make a note of silver wattle) lets just hope you don't get to test out their effectiveness!

    1. Thanks for commenting Jodie. I can understand your concern, we are not only learning about fire retarding plants but also learning about the whole fire rating thing, the preparing the property thing and soon we will both put our names down to volunteer as well. It is a little nerve racking this year with such continuous dry heat. I think you probably always need to assume that fire can be a problem. I will post again about this subject as I learn more and start planting these little wattles out.

  3. Good for you, being pro-active in your long-term fire protection.

    I'm assuming you are back home now. How long did you have to stay away? How is Harriet? How is Greenskin?

    1. Oh thanks so much for thinking about us all. we spent one night in Wagga Wagga , Harriet in with lots of refugees from the Tarcutta and Oura fires. we went home the next morn when the three fires that were nearl went back to 'advice'
      Greenskin is alive but nothing much is producing- still too hot! Another hot one tomorrow and rain forecast Sunday! Let's hope!



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