By: Zoe Hunter

Gate Pa School pupils Maia Nathan, 8, and Tai Samuels, 8, plant the tree while Ken Knott, Mayor Greg Brownless, Bernie Hanvey and principal Richard Inder watch on. Photo/George Novak

Donors Choice charitable trust gifted $400 worth of fruit trees to the primary school on Tuesday.

Tauranga mayor Greg Brownless was invited to hand over the trees which were planted in the school’s orchard.

Gate Pa School principal Richard Inder said each class would be allocated a tree to care for as part of the school’s “garden to kitchen” initiative.

“It is teaching the children about gardening, looking at how fruit grows and where it comes from,” he said. “Hopefully as they grow into their adult life the children will be educated in gardening.”

Mr Inder said the charitable trust had donated a range of fruit trees, including plums, persimmons, apricots, apples and more.

“We are thankful to Donors Choice for donating the trees to us.”

Donors Choice chief executive Ken Knott said the charity approaches schools to offer funding for a class project that normal funding could not cater for.

“One of the teachers at Gate Pa had a green thumb and said they could really do with expanding their orchard,” he said. “The idea is we try to fund projects that have the most impact and fruit trees will last for generations.”

PLANTING FRUIT TREES:

  • Dig a hole that is slightly deeper than the root depth and which allows for 20cm clearance around the roots.
  • Mix some compost with the soil in the base of the hole, then place the tree and slow release fertiliser in the hole so that the graft is above soil level.
  • Create a small mound at the base of the hole and spread the roots out carefully.
  • Before back filling, position tree stakes. Partly back fill and firmly compact. Continue back filling and compact once or twice more.
  • Water well.
  • Bare rooted trees bought in winter must not be left for roots to dry. Plunge in water (for no longer than half a day) prior to planting.

Source: Bay of Plenty Times

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