Project will bear fruit for public
A project is underway in Matamata that will help grow the bee population and also provide an abundance of free fruit.
Transition Matamata has been taking scion wood from established heritage trees around the community for its Matamata Bee Fruitful project.
In July, the group started hunting for heritage fruit trees in the community, such as apple, pear and plum. They also started collecting the scion wood this month.
The scion wood, which is the top piece of the graft, had to be collected in winter, before the barren tree started to blossom.
Transition Matamata member Ben Troughton, who leads the project, said the aim is to plant heritage trees in schools, where in a few years time they will start producing fruit, which will be free for the community to enjoy.
While the trees are in blossom, they provide food for bees, which he says will also help increase their population.
They were able to collect enough scion wood to grow 150 trees, which is now being stored in a cool place.
Troughton said members of the New Zealand Tree Crop Associ- ation will graft the scion wood into root stock and then the trees need to be nurtured over the next 12 months until they can be planted.
Students from Matamata College horticulture class have come on board with the project and will be nurturing some of the young trees.
In 12 months the young established trees will be planted in 16 schools around the area and in one-to-two years the trees will start to produce fruit.
‘‘The fruit, once it comes into season will be free,’’ says Troughton.
‘‘There will be no restrictions, it will be there for anyone who needs it.
‘‘Fruit is expensive and there
‘‘Fruit is expensive and there is no reason why we can't grow enough for everyone to enjoy.’’
is no reason why we can’t grow enough for everyone to enjoy.’’
He said excess fruit could be given to a food bank.
The Matamata Bee Fruitful project will be on-going, meaning more trees will be grafted and grown every year.
‘‘If we start now, in 10 years, there will be an abundance of fruit,’’ said Troughton.
Transition Matamata is a non profit community group promoting energy conservation, sustainable living, and a strong and resilient local economy.
Steve Simpson takes a graft from a plum tree for the Matamata Bee Fruitful project.