Tree sale really does bear fruit

SARAH MCCARTHY
Last updated 05:00 09/08/2014

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Thanks to looking back, Southland can look forward to a future full of blossoms, nectarines, cider - and much more.

The South Coast Environment centre's heritage tree sale runs until August 16.

Open Orchard co-ordinator Robert Guyton said the annual event, now almost a decade old, meant thousands of heritage fruit trees were now thriving in Southland orchards and beyond.

"Southland is leading the way with heritage fruit trees," he said.

Because so many fruit trees were kept in the region instead of being dug out, budding buyers had a huge range to choose from, and they could graft these to create new heritage varieties.

"Southland has a greater variety of apples than possibly anywhere in the world," he said.

Many of the trees that thrived in the south appeared to be extinct in other parts of the world, and there had been a great deal of interest in Southland from overseas, he said. "Southland is a living museum."

Closer to home, many of the older Southland families were buying new versions of their old trees for their children and grandchildren.

The trees, available from the South Coast Environment Centre in Riverton's main street, were ready to go straight into the ground, he said. Volunteers were on hand to help pick a tree, wrap it for transport and give tips on planting and pruning.

The sale specialised in apple trees but pear, apricot, peach, nectarine and some nut trees were available, and all thrived in Southland soil.

Guyton said he loved it when the tree sale rolled around. People brought in their children and they chose a tree together that they would plant and watch grow. "It's a really heart-warming activity."

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- The Southland Times

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