We can access rootstocks at a relatively low cost. Our many members provide scion (tree cuttings) from a very wide range of varieties, so we are ideally suited to help people who have lost their fruit trees in fires or floods to recreate their orchards. Often we can provide varieties more suited to people’s needs or perhaps varieties they can’t access anywhere else.
A short history: Following the Black Saturday fires of 2009 we grafted fruit trees for the bushfire affected people in the Wellington and Latrobe Shires. We also grafted around 600 peaches, apples, pears and plums that were grown out for a year by the Murrindindi Shire predominately for the people in Marysville. We held another grafting workshop for the Black Saturday bushfire affected people in Calignee in 2010 after they’d had a year to recover. Since then we have held grafting workshops for people burnt out in the Abefeldy fire in the Wellington Shire in 2012, and the Glenaladale fire in 2014. In every instance the bushfire affected people have received the trees. The Wellington Shire paid for all the rootstocks (averaging less than $3 each) for the fire-affected people in their shire, as well as providing a support worker, a barbecue and sausages for the day The Latrobe Shire paid for the rootstocks for the first batch of trees grafted after Black Saturday in their shire, and the second batch at Callignee were paid for by a government bushfire recovery agency.
The rootstocks for the approximately 600 fruit trees for Marysville were largely donated. Some were paid for by money raised at H&RFN grafting days. The Landcare group helped organise the grafting for the bushfire affected people at Glenaladale, including a barbecue and sausages. On the day, trees were also grafted for the general public. These were sold for around $10 each and the profits from the sales of these covered the cost of the trees for the bushfire affected people.
We have learnt and shared many skills that allow people to have trees they couldn’t otherwise have.
This comprises two lots of four different apple varieties grafted to a single trunk at right angles, and would suit an espaliered tree trained to cover the corner of a building. Such an espalier could include varieties ripening over a six month period from the same section of a wall.
In conclusion: As best we can, we would like to make our diversity of knowledge and skills available to help people affected by flood or fire, and in doing so respond to the wishes of the locals as to how we can help.