At Gulf Trees we have been growing local fruit trees for 25 years. We have put together a collection of plants that are well suited to the Waiheke to Northland area. We believe that fruit trees are something everyone should have. They are as important as a vegetable garden.
Before we propagate a particular tree for sale we evaluate it as follows:
1) Is it tasty?
Not all varieties are. Some are developed for looks or long shelf-life.
A lot of tasting and testing happens before we decide on growing a new variety.
It took us a good year to find the right feijoas.
2) Is it disease resistant?
Very important, as we won't sell fruit trees that need spraying.
If a plant gets diseased, the chances are you are growing the wrong plant or you have it in the wrong place.
Some of the showy commercial varieties depend on a spray programme.
3) Does its fruiting fill an important slot?
The idea is to get fruit production spread over a long period.
Early and late fruiting varieties are therefore very useful,
and for that reason we can have peaches for 4 months.
4) Does it bear well?
Good crops, regularly.
To satisfy these requirements, we often look to the older varieties, so-called heritage trees.
In the past fruit trees were developed for the home garden or farm, as opposed to the export market of today.
There are many hundreds of these old apple varieties still in existence, it's just a matter of finding which ones work well for us here on Waiheke, or else we look for local variations. Every now and then an interesting "roadside" tree turns up, something a bit early, late or especially tasty.
We are always looking for additional varieties. Let us know if you have a special fruit tree in your garden.
All the fruit trees are grown here on our property. They all have OrganicFarmNZ certification.
We are happy to give advice on planting projects, and will do free site visits to help with initial planning stages.
Rob explaining different stone-fruit varieties
The Gulf Trees Fruit Tree Catalogue
The trees listed below are our standard range. Their availability each year depends on propagation success and how many are already ordered. We often sell out in advance of the trees becoming available, so it pays to pre-order. The deciduous trees - pip and stone-fruit - are grown in the ground and sold "bare-rooted" in July. The other varieties are in PB bags and available any time during the planting season, usually April to October.
Just a note on names. Wherever possible we try to find out the original names for our fruit trees, but many of them are unknown. Sometimes they have been in families for generations and names are unclear. So if we aren't sure of what they are called, we name them after who the fruit came from, or where the tree was found.
(all prices include gst)
Available as bare-rooted plants in mid-July
All are grafted onto peach seedling rootstock. Grow to approx. 5m high.
Orion A very early peach, white fleshed, red blush. Ripe in late November! Not as sweet as the late season peaches, but such a treat coming at that time of the year when there is so little fruit available
Matiaia Ripe late January. A white fleshed fruit, red blush. Sweet and great flavour. This has been our most successful and popular peach over the years. It is a big favourite Waiheke amongst peach fanciers. Originally from a seedling at Jo Delamore's garden at Matiatia. A heavy bearer, we often have excess to bottle and it preserves well.
Golden Freestone Ripe early February. Golden fleshed. This is currently my favourite peach. Juicy, sweet, good cropper.
Te WhauA Waiheke roadside peach, ripe mid February. Golden fleshed. Often small but this is probably because it sets huge crops. Good flavour, and very welcome as it extends the peach season on into the late summer.
Golden Queen Ripe Mid March. Golden flesh and skin. What our mothers always bottled - we still do, and jars of Golden Queens are so welcome in winter. A very good eater too. Sweet, firm fleshed. From a local pioneer family on Waiheke.
Derek's Late Ripe early April. A late peach, originally a wild seedling from Derek Hindle in Palm Beach. White fleshed, clingstone. Great flavour, and the last of the peaches for the year. Enjoy it!
Grafted onto peach seedling, up to 6m high. Nectarines are sometimes problematical with brown-rot here on the Island.
I have tried a few varieties. Currently my favourite is:
Koanga Nectarine. Originally from Kay Baxter from Northland. A prolific cropper, juicy sweet and seems to be very disease resistant.
Grafted onto Myrobalan plum rootstock, up to 7m high on maturity.
This rootstock can handle damp clays. Some varieties may require another plum as a pollinator.
Franks Early From Frank Dromgoole at Day's Landing. Originally a wild plum on the Island. Frank says it is self fertile. A Christmas plum. Red skin, one of the very best early plums.
Wilson's Early Christmas plum, red skin, yellow flesh.
Early January Plum I thought this was Billington's, but the flesh is yellow. Ripe about New Year. It fruits extremely heavily and consistently every year. Small fruit, perhaps as a result of the huge crops.
Black Doris The first of the big dark plums. Lots of flavour, purple/black shin, dark red inside.
Omega The latest of our plums, ripe late February. Red speckled skin, firm red flesh, freestone.
Grafted onto peach rootstock. Approx. 5m high. After unsuccessfully trying various commercial varieties,
I have recently been trialling the old local ones. Several seem very promising. Limited availability.
I am developing:
Howard (Gee)'s Apricot
Available as bare rooted plants in mid-July
Grafted onto Northern Spy rootstock, a medium sized tree. I keep them pruned back to 4m high. A very hardy rootstock that works well on Waiheke clays.
Gravenstein/Oratia Beauty The first variety to ripen in our collection. Ripe mid/late February. Green skin, red striped. Crisp fresh flavour, if eaten soon after picking. Can go soft if left, but it cooks up beautifully. Just in time to make pies with the blackberries! Very vigorous tree. We solar dry them very successfully, as there is still plenty of hot weather when they are ripe.
Lobo Mid season apple. The first of the dessert apples. Large fruit, big crops. Bright red skin, finely spotted. Sweet and crisp.
Freyburg Mid season. A cross between Golden Delicious and Cox's Orange. A fine eater, full of subtle flavours. Green/gold skin.
Red Spy Mid March. An old variety, from Hine Belin. A flat apple with a dark red skin (almost black when fully ripe) and pure white flesh. A beautiful sight. It has a crisp, winey flavour. We also bake these. They are superb cooked and puff up pink and sweet.
Golden Russet Ripe early march. Golden Russet is a description as I am not sure of the name. Some suggest it is Telstar. Anyway it is my personal favourite, a flat russet apple, with golden and red skin. Beautiful flavour. Just the best eater!
Captain Kidd Ripe Mid March. A russetted red streaked apple. Dessert variety. Crisp and sweet.
Giant Geniton Ripe early April. A green apple, turning yellowish with red streaks when ripe. This variety is a huge cropper for us. As a result the fruit are not giant, but may be if they were thinned. We have so many of these apples that we store them in a cool place and eat them into the winter.
Granny Smith A late ripening apple. Green skinned apple, both a cooker and an eater. It can hang on the tree, slowly turning yellow, until the shortest day if not eaten by birds. An important apple for prolonging the season.
Other Fruit Trees
In bags, so ready to plant at any time.
Olives $15.00 each
In Pb5 bags. Olives certainly grow well on Waiheke. We regard local olive oil as a basic food source. If you can fit say 12 trees into your garden you should be self-sufficient in this great product. There is a choice of local presses. Keep them pruned back to 4-5 m high for ease of picking. We have tried many varieties over the years and have now reduced them to 5 varieties, all would be classified as oil varieties, having a total oil content of over 20 %. If you want to pickle some, just use the oil varieties. I find it hard to tell different varieties apart, and generally leave that to the taste experts.
Frantoio Certainly one of the best. From Tuscany. High in oil and a regular cropper. Comparatively large fruit.
Koronieki A Greek variety, that makes up a large part of their yield. A smallish, pointed olive. High in oil and a heavy bearer most years. The experts get quite excited about the flavour of Koroneiki.
Hinu Origin unknown. We found this one on Motuihe Island, so it may be 150 years old. Hinu means "oily" in Maori. A friend and I surveyed the Motuihe grove in the 1990s and named this one for obvious reasons. Big crops.
J5 From a famous tree at Poutu on the Kaipara. Moderately oily, very good producer.
Fossil Bay From the Delamore's early olive grove on Waiheke. High oil content, great cropper. The special thing about this tree is that it ripens earlier than most, meaning you get a high proportion of black fruit, which are higher in oil. This boosts your yield.
Feijoas: $15.00 each for cutting-grown, $12.00 for seedlings
In pb8 or pb12 bags. It took me a lot of tasting to find what I consider to be the best Waiheke feijoas.
It is best to have more than one variety of feijoa for pollination purposes. These two work well together.
They probably have other names, but I call them:
No. 1 Ripening in early April. This is a moderate sized fruit, very high yielding. Thin skinned and very good flavour.
No.2 Later than no.1 and a larger fruit. A bit thicker in the skin, just as good taste-wise.
Figs $15.00 each
In pb8 bags. Having tried many varieties I have found none that compare to:
Kay's Black FigRipe throughout March. From Kay Baxter's Northland collection. This is a smallish dark skinned fig, almost black when ripe, with a shiny varnished look to it. Dark red inside, sweet and full of flavour.
Bananas $18.00 each
In pb12 or 18 bags. These are so easy to grow and reward you with heaps of fruit,
as long as you feed them well and supply a bit of summer water. Need good shelter and sun.
Misi Luki typeThese are short "lady-finger" type bananas. Very sweet and so much nicer than the commercial cavendish varieties. You can get over 150 bananas in a bunch if you look after them well.
Cherry Guavas $12.00 each
In pb8 bags. Medium size shrubs, hardy and can be use for shelter.
Red guava Smallish fruit, very full of flavour. Beautiful eaten straight off the tree, or use in desserts.
Yellow guava Less tart than the red one, and bigger fruit, perhaps sweeter. Generally a smaller tree than the red guava.
Red Tamarillos $5.00 each
In pb3 bags. A quick growing sub-tropical. One of the best things about autumn! A real Northern NZ staple. They fruit prolifically after about 2 years. They tend to be short-lived these days. I think there is a new psyllid pest around. But keep planting them at different stages for replacements and you will be well rewarded with lovely fruit! Best in warm sheltered areas where they respond really well to mulching and watering over summer.