April 2014 Newsletter

Central Otago Tree Growers

Welcome to the latest edition of the newsletter, the format has changed somewhat, so please pass on any feedback or comments to the editor.

The AGM was held on March 2nd, prior to the visit to Jon Dumble's property. We welcomed five new members to the committee; Linda Flude (Treasurer), Abigail Brooks (Newsletter Editor) and Helen Hillis, Megan Palmer and Jeffrey Feint as committee members.

A very heartfelt thank you to all the hard work done by Lawrie Stenhouse, Frankie Dean and Dominic Stayne who have now stepped down from committee. Ian Stewart will continue stay on as a much needed committee member, after all his work as newsletter editor.

Detailed notes from the AGM are linked below:

Central Otago Tree Growers Incorporated AGM minutes

Chairs report 2014

A visit to Jon Dumble's Property. Notes by Helen Hillis

I first visited Jon's property in 1 BC (in Hillis years, Before Children), so that makes it about 26 years ago. The trees have certainly matured but it is still as neat and ordered as ever. Nothing but recyclable material goes off Jon's place and the rest is turned to ash, composted, buried or used for heating in the house or garden.

Over the 35 years here Jon has supplied locals with blueberries (8kg picked yesterday), raspberries, herbs and vegetables, flowers, nuts and fruit. We started and ended the tour at the raspberry row and unfortunately the rain chose to accompany us for the duration.

Jon recommended the black raspberry for flavour and for jam-making as it contained some pectin. We wandered past the house where herbs, flowers and vegetables grew with self-sown dill and coriander, parsley for a customer's tabouleh, corn, 25 yr old asparagus with a bit of fusariam wilt but still going, climbing beans (Major Cook's variety) for a sliced, no-fibre bean, and black krim tomatoes.

We saw hard-pruned Freyberg and Gravenstein apple trees, the prunings of which made good kindling. The walnut Franquette is the best producing tree for Jon but the recent rain has encouraged disease. Walnut G26 was nearby. We walked by a Wiggins peach, Jon's favourite for flavour and very juicy, though susceptible to leaf curl. The three plums in a row were Black Doris, Purple King and Billington, the last mainly for pollination.

Jon has had no luck with almond production despite sourcing grafting material from the old, productive Roaring Meg trees 20 plus years ago, as the frost gets the flowers. The pear grafted from an old Queenstown hotel site has lovely Autumn colour but has fireblight this year. Some Rowans and Quinces also showed signs of this so some heavy pruning is in order. The quinces came from the original 'Remarkables Station' homestead, where the Hilton is now located.

As we passed the Chilean Firewheel tree Jon said it attracted the native birds, such as tui and bellbird. Chilean Beech, Claret Ash, Holly, Hawthorne and Pink Horse Chestnut were followed by an envious look at a laden, but unripe white-fleshed nectarine tree. The variety is unknown but grown from a stone from his sisters tree.

Jon is not fond of the activities of rabbits on his property and his current pest control method is poison in the holes, (from Otago Regional Council) and a wire cover over the holes. He has removed a lot of the hazel trees but the two we saw were Butler, a good cropper, and the pollinator Ennis. The Gleditsia tree had lovely long pods (female) which some farmers feed to stock. Jon also told us about growing tree lucerne from seed sourced from Lake Roxburgh town. A severe winter in the 1990's killed them but now nearly 20 years later, four young tree Lucerne seedlings have popped up at that site.

On a steeper part of Jon's property we saw pollarded Sweet Chestnuts, seedling Walnuts, five Indian Horse Chestnuts, a golden Rain Tree, Walnut variety Spurgeon, some Dogwoods, three Linden Lime trees and a Nyssa Sylvatica ('Tupelo') which has brilliant autumn colours. Under some suckering Poplars and in a neighbouring paddock we spotted the livestock; eleven ewes, three hoggets and seventeen lambs all looking very content.

Back at the raspberry patch talk turned to Poplars and in Jon's experience the Lombardy cannot be trusted, as after thirty years he had one blow across Littles Road in a Norwester wind, so removed them all, no doubt to fuel his fire and mulch the property. "One year seeding, seven years weeding" said Jon, so compost and mulch was the main weed suppressing system used on the place. Grazing and mowing kept the grass down between trees mainly.

Yellow Rowans, Snakebark Maples and the Bulgarian Rose (from Red Banks Research at Clyde) about finish my list and considering the rain sodden bit of paper I have been referring to for this visit, I maybe forgiven for missing something!

Thank you Jon. It was a great tour and much appreciated.

Upcoming Local Events

Field visit to Bronwyn Hunt and Paul Dodgshun plantings

Sunday, April 6th, 12:30pm

136 Hillview Rd

Alexandra, Otago

Treegrowers last visited here in 2010, so come back and see how things have fared.

Some pecans are carrying their first nuts and the young pistachio trees are getting established. We seem to be making progress along the propagation learning curve of both in this climate.

Things to see and discuss: Nursery, irrigation, solar power, apples, compost and mulch, soil fertility, home garden and orchard, pecan and pistachio plantings, shelter belts, chestnuts, chooks, hazels, pests, problems, successes and failures.


Look for Hillview Road off Dunstan Rd. We’re No 136, the first on the right after the seal ends at the top of the hill.

Join us for a pot luck / bring your own lunch. We'll have a meet and mingle and cuppa at 12.30pm or arrive for a look around at 1.30pm if that suits your travel plans better.
Please note that Daylight saving finishes on the previous day.

The Great Autumn Apple Drive

Saturday, April 12th, 10am-4pm

Rippon Hall, 246 Mount Aspiring Road, Wanaka

More details on what to bring and the format of the day can be found on the Local Food Wanaka Website

40th National NZTCA Conference

The 40th Annual Conference will be held in Ashburton on Friday 11 to Sunday 13 April 2014. The theme will be "Water - The Elixir of Life".

More details, registration and booking can be found on the website.

Further information:

Conference timetable

40th Annual Conference Press Release


If you have any suggestions for newsletter content, field-days or sites you think we would be interested in visiting (new properties, crops in their early years, mature plantings) please pass on details.

We are also interested in demonstrations, seminars and tutorials, please let one of the committee know if you are aware of anything running or topics that you are keen to know more about.

Also if you have expertise in any area and could offer a workshop, demonstration or seminar on tool safety or maintenance, irrigation, summer pruning, please let us know.


COTG Committee Contacts:

Ben Elms (Chairperson) benelms@paradise.net.nz

Paul Dodgshun (Secretary) paul@pecanz.co.nz

Linda Flude (Treasurer) lindaflude@yahoo.co.nz

Abigail Brooks (Newsletter Editor) abigail.brooks@gmail.com

Ian Stewart (Committee Member) ianstewart@ihug.co.nz

Helen Hillis (Committee Member) hillis4@xtra.co.nz
Megan Palmer (Committee Member) palmernz@hotmail.com

Jeffrey Feint (Committee Member) Margjeff@hotmail.com

Copyright statement

Articles in this newsletter may be reproduced provided that credit is given to the New Zealand Tree Crops Association and the author concerned.


Whilst care has been taken, NZTCA accepts no responsibility for errors or omissions, or for any consequences arising from reliance on information published.

Safety Declaration

For the purpose of field-days, the properties we visit are designated work places. As there are multiple hazards, please take particular care. Parents are responsible for their children and please ensure pets are kept under control.