English (Black wattle); Kamba (Munyoonyoo); Kikuyu (Muthanduku); Kisii (Omotandege).
General distribution in Kenya:
|Distribution of Acacia mearnsii in Kenya|
|© Maundu P. and Bo Tengnas. (2005). Useful trees and shrubs for Kenya, World Agroforestry Centre.|
General Information about the Tree:
Mean annual temperature of 9 - 200C;
Mean annual rainfall, between 500 - 2, 050 mm annually;
Soil type: A. mearnsii does well in deep, well drained, light textured and moist soils. It thrives in well-aerated, neutral to acid soils, loamy soils, soils derived from shale or slate and it is highly intolerant of alkaline and calcareous soils. Soils with lateritic pan close to the surface are the most unsuitable. It is spread in agro-ecological zones I-III
Propagation and Tree Management
- Fuel; though originally distributed for tannin extraction, its an important source of firewood and charcoal.
- Timber; produces good quality poles, posts and tool handles.
- Apiculture; produces many flowers which makes it a suitable source of bee forage.
- Fibre; It produces good quality fibre (bark) and also it can be used for rayon.
- Tanning; it is a source of tannin dye stuffs.
- Erosion control; black wattle on slopes controls soil erosion.
- Ornamental; Black wattle is an attractive tree due to profuse flowering and hence ornamental.
- Shade or shelter; it is a windbreak, shade and shelter belt in plantations
- Nitrogen fixation; it is an effective nitrogen fixer.
Pests and Diseases
In wetter conditions of above 3,000 mm of rainfall annually it is susceptible to attacks by insects and fungal diseases. Diseases and insect pests associated with black wattle include; damping-off, white grubs, grasshoppers and cutworms for S. Africa and in Australia, the leaf-eating fireblight beetle (Pyrgoides orphana) is a serious pest.
Loranthus termites and a number of other insects have been identified to cause problems in Tanzania. In Brazil, beetles girdles twigs and branches causing great havoc.