Public will benefit from fruit trees

Waitaki residents will reap the fruits of a new programme by the Waitaki District Council which has planted about 300 trees in parks and reserves during the winter.

About a third of those are fruit and nut trees - apples, plums, greengages, apricots and almonds - which will provide spring colour from blossoms, adding to other exotic trees.

"Certain fruit trees survive very well in a challenging environment and will also provide the community and holiday-makers with the pleasure of walking to their local reserves and enjoying free fruit," the council's recreation manager, Erik van der Spek, said.

Most have been planted at Omarama and Kurow, where fruit trees grow wild along the side of the road from discarded fruit.

The planting is part of an ongoing maintenance and improvement programme for parks and reserves throughout the district.

In the past, the council has received annual plan submissions urging more planting, including fruit trees.

Mr van der Spek said trees had been planted in areas from Kurow to Oamaru and south to Palmerston.

Some had been planted to replace those which would eventually be felled because they had exceeded their normal lifespan.

The planting has been done by Whitestone Landscape Services, a division of Whitestone Contracting Ltd, using funding from the council's parks department.

A maintenance programme has also been put in place to care for the new trees, including regular watering in the summer and pruning to ensure they remain healthy for their first years of growth.

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