Pronounciation: A-KAY-sha cras-pe-doe-CAR-pa
Sunset 8, 9, 12-24
Landscape Use: Xeric landscape design themes used primarily as a background, screen, or informal hedge plant. Also, with some judicious training it makes a nice multiple trunk small tree for dry patios.
Form & Character: Evergreen, upright and rounded, shrub to small multiple trunk tree, dry.
Growth Habit: Stiffly branched with a moderately slow growth rate to 15 feet tall with equal spread. In desert regions, the growth rate and ultimate size of leatherleaf acacia is much affected by the amounts of supplemental waterings.
Foliage/texture: Small grayish green phyllodes, sometimes glaucous, new phyllodes are bronzy brown, obovate to less than 1 inch, new growth has a copper tinge; medium fine texture.
Flowers & fruits: Flowers small, yellow, prominent stamens, powder puff appearance in both spring (most profusely) and fall (sporadic), strongly attract bees. Fruits in early summer are flattened and oblong, green changing to brown, prominent veins; "craspedocarpa" means vein fruit.
Seasonal color: Flowers during spring and fall, mostly heavily in spring.
Temperature: Highly adapted to lower Sononran Desert climate, heat loving and cold tolerant to 16oF.
Light: Full sun, tolerates western exposures.
Soil: Tolerant of alkaline soils, although the phyllodes tend to yellow somewhat in soils of high alkalinity and salinity. Chelated micronutrient fertilizers will correct this problem quickly but are rarely required.
Watering: Leatherleaf acacia needs little supplemental after establishment (I never water the leatherleaf acacia in my Phoenix yard) especially during the cooler winter months. If one is having to water this tough shrub (mostly because its theraputic...come on now, you can admit it), then water it every one to two weeks during the summer. More frequent irrigations will dramatically increase growth rate and 'rankify' it's otherwise tight, rounded form.
Pruning: Very little needed except to give shape.
Propagation: Seed, scarification needed.
Disease and pests: None, it's bullet proof!
Additional comments: Leatherleaf acacia is very tolerant of dry, harsh urban conditions. This tough large shrub is an excellent choice for a large background screening plant in xeric landscapes. Fruit pod litter is significant especially as this shrub matures. But if it's left in place then it will eventually make a nice undercanopy surface mulch.