The Acacia melanoxylon originates from Australia, but I have seen it naturalized all over California and all over Chile (both Mediterranean climates). It’s a large, evergreen tree with yellow, pea-sized, puff ball flowers. In San Francisco they bloom in late winter and make a huge mess.
I’ve heard some people say the acacia’s heavy pollen count drives them crazy. My allergist said that the acacia pollen is not a common allergen. I disagree. We were all sneezing our heads off the day we pruned this big guy
Some people like them, others don’t. I think they are a good choice for a large tree in San Francisco if they are well maintained. I’ve seen them trained as thick hedges; they make a good screen. The more you prune, however, the more they grow. So if you want to them to keep their shape, expect to have to get them pruned once a year.
Mikey (below), my friend and co-worker loves to use the wood for his furniture projects. He’s always on the lookout for an acacia takedown so that he can salvage the wood. The sap wood is a lush yellow and the heart wood is a dark brown with great venation. Gorgeous.
The goal with this tree was to open it up so that the client would have a view through the tree while maintaining sufficient screening. You can see in the picture below the fantastic view from the client’s upper deck through the tree from atop Bernal Heights.
We also wanted to tuck it back from two of the neighboring yards. The neighbors were all out that day, requesting the tree off of their property, or out of their views. Such a big tree in such a high density neighborhood means that everyone has a stake in what we do. Fortunately, in this case (but not in every case) these neighbors got along really well. Everyone in the end was pleased.