Visiting Erroll and Regina Duffill

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Sheryl:  Errol and Regina organise the Wide Bay Branch of the Rare Fruit Council which is centred on Maryborough. Our group has had an open invitation to visit at any time and particularly their annual break-up in December so this year, as Bob and I had purchased a roof-top camper for the old Prairie, we went up and spent the night there and enjoyed our visit very much. There was a short meeting, a good meal and also a plant auction and the break-up started with an orchard walk at 4pm. They have over 260 varieties of fruit trees on their house block along with Dexter Cattle, Goats and oil bearing native trees from which they distil oil (Melaleuca alternifolia, Backhousia citriodora, Leptospernum bractiata, L. petersonii, L. liversidii, L.darwinia & L. citriodora). They have grown a number of seedling citrus trees most of which ended up a thorny mess except for the Mandarins – Scarlett and Imperial. Their Imperial seedling is far superior to their grafted tree.  They are experimenting with the Lemon Scented Tea Tree (Leptospernum petersonii)  to keep bugs away from the fruit but think they were planted too far away from the trees they were meant to protect. Their next door neighbour has planted the trees in the same hole with great success.

Abiu  They have trouble keeping it going in winter. It gets loaded with flowers but doesn’t set fruit. Their 4th tree has been planted north of the chook houses to protect it from the prevailing winter wind.

Allspice Pimento        Worth putting in – if only for the smell of the leaves.

Herbert River Cherry Antidesma   They have 3 trees by this name and all are different – fruit is very sour

Avocadoes   They grow them on large mounds around 2 metres which were originally old burn sites.  The tree with Comfrey planted around its base has not done as well as the other two even though they were told that Comfrey would provide Nitrogen.

Bixia  red and yellow and planted in the same hole – used as a food colouring – also used in dyes and lipstick

Carambola  The seedlings do much better than the grafted trees.

Capsicum  This is a tiny variety which doesn’t get stung

Cherry of the Rio Grande   It flowered once 3 years ago but won’t fruit

Citron very nice tree – good for marmalade and has a lovely fragrance

Citrus     Because of the dry weather a lot of the Citrus have thrown their fruit.

Curry Leaf Tree  Used in cooking – berries are OK too. Ron Kummerfeld said if you’re getting root nodules growing above ground it’s caused by too much surface watering so just water once a week and not on a regular basis so the roots will go down deep.

Custard Apple Annonas Soursop love zinc – 2 gms per litre of water for a foliar spray. Sheryl You can also mix it with a bit of urea

Elderberry     Wash them, then dip them in batter then deep fry. You can also make champagne from the flowers and chooks seem to lay better on the berries.

Eugenia zeyneli          Lovely tree. Suppose to be the nicest of all the bush food

Governors Plum        Thornless type. Doesn’t need a pollinator and fruits regularly throughout the year.

Granadilla hasn’t done very well but the Sweet Lilicoi has. Gordon It’s one of the most beautiful fruit but you need two totally unrelated plants for pollination. They don’t pollinate on each other like Granadilla does. Even another plant at the other end wouldn’t be successful unless it came from another area.

Chempadek & Jackfruit   They have 2 different Chempadeks – one with completely edible fruit and the other with orange seed capsules. They are planted with the Jackfruit 2½ metres apart to serve as a windbreak and in dry weather they get 30 litres of water per week.  

Grapes   Birds don’t touch the grapes that are grown 3 metres away from a row of Grevilleas but the vine grown on the orchard fence gets attacked.

Jaboticaba      Yellow variety is well worth growing.

Malabar  Chestnut & Saba   Lovely nut but the parrots get to them first.

Mulberry        They have black/white and white Shahtoot and have just planted cuttings from a local tree which fruits from spring through to autumn.

Native Mulberry   very pretty tree with minute subtly flavoured fruit loved by some birds

Java Plum      Excellent fruit but the birds get most of them

Herbert River Cherry  Very upright grower – needs a pollinator

Tropical Plum   Golf Gold does very well and doesn’t need a pollinator

Lychee            Kwai Muck has to be nursed when young as it’s cold here in winter.

Madrona        Very slow growing tree compared to the yellow Mangosteen. The tree has been in for 5 years and is only ½ mtr high.

Mango            They grow 24 varieties. Their favourite trees are the Haden/Nam doc My/Ono (late profilic) and a dwarf Banana Mango – origin unknown which bears wonderfully tasty fruit in great numbers. Lenzie said he knew a chap who pruned one side of his Mango trees one year and the other side the following year. Fertilizer – twice a year with organic fertiliser eg Dynamic Lifter but because they are on wallum sand, they have found they get more success with Nitrophoska Special. Ono variety always bears but quality is not there.  Errol and Lenzie score their trees vertically fairly deep with a penknife. This is done to the grafted trees and it makes the trunks bigger which gives a studier base for the top growth.  Use a penknife and go in as far as you can. Gordon Tait doesn’t do it The scoring tip came from a professional mango grower. Ron said to leave the lower leaves on as it thickens up the trunk. Java Blue very healthy.  Some of the mangoes were splitting due to the dry weather.  The seedling R2E2 gets loaded every year with fruit but the grafted one produces less fruit. Lenzie said he knew a chap who pruned one side of his trees one year and the other side the following year. 

Marula   needs a separate male and female tree for successful fruiting but they have no idea which sex their tree is.

Chinese Gooseberry   Phyllanthus acidus   Errol has been told the fruit is too sour to eat but he finds them quite palatable. There’s a bloke in Childers making jam and he will take all you’ve got.

Sea Grape    Gordon says that if it has a red growing tip it’s a female and if it’s a green growing tip, it’s a male. Regina has read that you can make wine with it.

Sygysium oleosum     Lovely looking tree – looks beautiful in flower

White Sapote    Seedling type doesn’t get very big fruit – member suggested fertilising it generously with Dynamic Lifter. Ron Kummerfeld says they don’t like being pruned.

Grasshoppers    Mix up some molasses and water and spray your tree.

Sheryl  How do you get the Brush Turkeys to stop taking your mulch away?

Errol    Tell them Christmas is coming!!

Update from Sheryl:   This article was written in 2005 and Errol and Regina now feel that they would like to relocate closer to town so their property is for sale. Ph: 07 4129 6364

Article compiled by Sheryl Backhouse