THE TREES

An M9 stoolbed glowing in spring sunshine

Caledon Valley Nursery has M7, M9, MM109 and CG222 rootstocks in harvest in the mother block.

Harvesting the rootstocks

A scion orchard and further rootstock blocks are either planted or planned. The nursery makes finished trees in the production nursery on all these rootstocks from the mother block, as well as on M9 tissue culture rootstocks.

Tissue culture M9 rootstocks starting life in the production nursery

A speciality of the nursery is to make trees on MM109/M9 interstocks, with success being experienced by growers on these.

The M9 interstem flourishing on the MM109 rootstock in springtime

The nursery uses its best efforts to assist growers as they plan their tree planting needs, years in advance. An assessment is made of what future stock will be available and growers are able to place formal orders accordingly.

Even and water-efficient irrigation mist over stoolbeds

Rootstocks are harvested from the mother blocks and planted out in the production nursery in winter.

Stoolbed rootstocks starting life in the production nursery

At appropriate times in the course of their two year lifecycle in the production nursery the rootstocks are budded with the varieties chosen by customers who have placed formal orders. A contingency buffer of rootstocks is also budded with the same variety, to ensure that quality trees of good height and caliper are available for these formal orders.

M7 rootstocks about to be budded with Cripps Red for 2019 delivery

Collection of data at each stage in the life of the plant in the mother block and in the production nursery is an important process and there is a quality and stock control team dedicated to this, all year round.

A beautiful tunnel of uniform trees for 2018 delivery

The finished trees are graded prior and after harvest and tree size is communicated to customers. After trees have hardened off, in winter, they are lifted, tagged and heeled in according to grade, in moist sawdust, prior to despatch.

Heeling in the harvested trees

Tree despatch takes place from the middle of July to the end of August, with trees transported overnight in insulated trucks. For those trees destined for the Western Cape, Caledon Valley Nursery has teams that receive the trees, oversee the offloading process, count each order a final time and attend to the documentation.

Unloading the harvested trees at the heeling-in block

Caledon Valley Nursery is also very willing to help customers who have varieties that they wish to test for potential future commercial potential. The nursery takes scion material from these customers and makes finished trees so that the customer can bring these into production in trial orchards.