Study acacias by distance education, learn about wattles, identifying acacia cultivars, propagating acacias, landscaping, horticulture and uses for wattles.

Course Code: VHT114
Fee Code: S2
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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Learn to identify, propagate, grow and use Acacias 

  • Species from Australia, Africa and beyond
  • Be amazed to explore diverse uses for Acacias - landscape plants, for timber production, fuel, food, tanning, gum arabic and more 
  • Self paced study, start anytime, study from anywhere
A unique course -Become an Acacia Expert!

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction and Resources.
    • Culture and Scope of Acacias
    • Plant/Acacia Taxonomy (classification and naming)
    • Acacia Ecosystems
    • Significant Acacias from Australia, Africa and the Middle East
  2. Physiology and Botany of Acacias.
    • Acacia relatives; and the Order Fabales
    • Understanding flower structure of Acacias
    • An inflorescence
    • Using Botanical terms to describe Acacias
    • Acacia foliage
    • Classifying Acacias according to foliage type
    • Classifying Acacias according to flower type
    • Acacia fruits (seed pods)
  3. Culture
    • Environmental considerations
    • Nutrition
    • Pest and Disease
    • Soil conditions for Acacias
    • Typical cultural requirements
    • Australian Acacias (review of size, foliage and flowering)
    • Weed management
    • Soil testing
  4. Propagation
    • Scope of wattle propagation
    • Seed treaments
    • Sowing wattle seeds
    • Seed storage
    • Acacia cutting propagation
    • Transplanting seedlings or cuttings
    • Potting up
  5. Acacias And Their Uses
    • As a landscape plant (windbreaks, screens, shrubberies, erosion control, soil enrichment, rock gardens, tubs)
    • Plant selection
    • Buying the right specimin
    • Using Acasias as specimin trees
    • Garden Design with Acacias
    • Creating landscape affects
    • Acacia species for different conditions
  6. Other Uses For Acacias
    • Timber
    • Tanning
    • Cut Flowers
    • Perfumery with Acacias
    • Acacias for human food
    • Acacias for animal fodder
    • Gum Arabic
  7. Pest & Disease of Acacias
    • Nature and scope of Pest and Disease
    • Pest and Disease problems detected on Acacias
    • Environmental problems
  8. Special Project
    • Problem Based Learning style project, to plan the establishment of a collection of Acacias for a specific location.


  • 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.

What can you Use Acacias for?

Most people grow Acacias as garden plants, but these plants are much more than that. They are useful for conservation and land rehabilitation, soil improvement, wind breaks, and in some parts of the world are a source of food, fuel, building materials and much more.
Some species are particularly valuable for construction, cabinet making and wood turning 
Blackwood (Acacia melanoxylon) is a particularly highly prized Acacia timber. This is considered a high quality timber and has been used extensively in making high quality furniture. Varieties of blackwood from the north west swamps in Tasmania have been tested in New Zealand with a view to selecting varieties for commercial production. Results have been promising. The blackwood is both fast growing and long lived; and these together with the wood quality are characteristics which make it a good prospect for timber production.  Acacia dealbata (silver wattle) and Acacia falciformis (hickory wattle) are the only other two species which in satisfying these same criteria, have been used in any significant way as a timber.
One disadvantage with blackwood branches heavily if growing in an open situation. It produces the most valuable timber when growing in a dense forest. In South Africa, blackwood has been grown in commercial plantations with pines or eucalypts. Young trees need protection until they establish. This has been achieved by planting Acacias among other established plants. These plants protect the younger plants but if their roots are already established deep into the soil, they don't compete too strongly for moisture in the soil. When planted in grass however, the grass competes for moisture and causes a reduction in the development of the blackwood plants. Another method of protection of course would be to use a man made tree guard.
Normally initial planting rates for blackwood would be around 1600 per hectare, however these could be thinned out to as few as 200 per hectare progressively as the trees develop. Pruning off side branches will help the crop develop and improve both quantity and quality of production.
The mulga (Acacia aneura) is used frequently for making fancy wood ornaments. It's popularity is due to the striking contrast in colour between the deep red brown heartwood and the yellowish colour of the sap wood. Aborigines use a number of different Acacia species for making boomerangs and other native artifacts.
Many wattles are also very good for firewood. Acacia mearnsii in particular is excellent, with a specific gravity of 0.7 to 0.85 and a calorific value of 3500 to 4000 kcal/kg. The ash content is a low 1.5%.
Acacia homalophylla (Myall Wood, an Australian species), produces a valued fragrant timber
Acacia formosa produces a timber called sabicu in Cuba.
Acacia seyal is considered to be the biblical “shittah tree”; that produced “shittim wood” used to make the “Ark of the Covenant”.
Acacia heterophylla is a valuable timber species from Réunion island
Acacia koa from Hawaii is another prized timber species.
Acacia mearnsii (Black Wattle from Australia). is cultivated as a plantation tree in South Africa.

How Might You Benefit from this Course?

  • If Acacias are a special interest; expand and deepen that interest.
  • Fast track business or employment opportunities working with Acacias
  • Learn from the experience of our team of horticulturists who have worked with Acacias in different countries and climates over decades
  • Save time -don't waste time and money traveling to classes
  • Take control over when and where you study
  • Take control over your speed of learning - halve the time to qualify if you want.
  • Learn to understand Acacias more, to make better decisions about using them, and get greater results growing them anywhere
  • Develop connections with individuals and organisations that have an interest in acacias
  • Become aware of opportunities to work with acacias
  • As a graduate, receive free career and business advice from our horticultural staff -yours for the asking.

Employment Prospects

This course can help with jobs in many different situations, including:

  • Public parks and gardens
  • Commercial and residential landscapes
  • Plant nursery production
  • National parks and public land reserves
  • Land care
  • Land rehabilitation
  • Environmental assessment
  • Landscape design and construction

UK Register of Learning Providers, UK PRN10000112

Our principal John Mason is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Horticulture

ACS Distance Education is a member of the Australian Garden Council, Our Principal John Mason is a board member of the Australian Garden Council

Member of the Nursery and Garden Industry Association since 1993

ACS is a silver sponsor of the AIH. The principal, John Mason, is a fellow. ACS certificate students are offered a free membership for this leading professional body.Provider.

Member of Study Gold Coast

Institute of Training and Occupational Learning (UK)

Principal John Mason is a member of Parks and Leisure Australia since 1974 and a fellow since 1998

Principal John Mason has been a member of the International Society of Horticultural Science, since 2003

Recognised since 1999 by IARC

Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

Adriana Fraser (Horticulturist)

Adriana has worked in horticulture since the 1980's. She has lived what she preaches - developing large gardens and growing her own fruit, vegetables and herbs and making her own preserves.
In 1992 she formalised her training by graduating with a certif

Bob James (Horticulturist)

Bob has over 50 years of experience in horticulture across both production sectors (Crops and nursery) and amenity sectors of the industry.
He holds a Diploma in Agriculture and Degree in Horticulture from the University of Queensland; as well as a Maste

John Mason (Horticulturist)

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; author of more than 70 books and edito

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