Project will bear fruit for pub­lic

Matamata Chronicle - - Your Local News - REX­INE HAWES

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.

SUP­PLIED

Steve Simp­son takes a graft from a plum tree for the Mata­mata Bee Fruit­ful project.

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