Athel Pine

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Tamarix aphylla

Description

This is a spreading tree to 15 metres with pendulous, jointed branches. Young trees have light grey trunks and stems. Mature trees have a thick, rough, dark grey to black bark, and grey-brown stems, and can be up to 1 metre wide. They have strong deep woody roots. The plant is drought tolerant and fire resistant.

Leaves are minute, dull green and resemble pine tree needles. Flowers are small pinkish-white without stalks, growing on 3 to 4 centimetre long spikes.

Fruit is bell-shaped with a hairy tuft.

Seeds are numerous, cylindrical and have a tuft of fine hairs.

Habitat it forms dense stands along inland rivers and consumes water quickly, reducing watering holes. It is well suited to dry rangelands and is tolerant of saline and alkaline soils.

Weed characteristics are that the plant displaces all others. It can draw up saline water and deposit salt in its fallen leaves, preventing other plants growing under the tree. It forms dense infestations making it harder and more expensive to muster livestock.

Dispersal seeds are easily dispersed by wind and water and may also be spread by animals. It will also grow from suckers.

Declaration Details

Athel pine is a Class 3 declared plant under Queensland legislation and is also listed as a Weed of National Significance.

How to act

Large trees can be removed using a bulldozer, taking care to minimise soil disturbance. Along watercourses where erosion is an important consideration it is preferable to control trees with chemicals either by cut stump or basal bark

treatment of the initial trees and treat any regrowth with a foliar spray.