Gevuina (Gevuina avellana)

How well established is this crop?

This is a very new crop to the Otago region. The plants should grow but information on markets, commercial returns, current growers, and any form of regional research may be difficult to find.

Background

The Gevuina (pronounced Giv-ween-a) nut tree has been marketed as a cool climate macadamia because of an apparent similarity in look and taste of the nut. The benefit to Otago is that they do not need the subtropical climate in which to grow. They are a native of Chile and Argentina and have been grown in New Zealand as ornamental species for over 50 years.

As well as producing a valuable nut the trees are also an attractive specimen. They are an evergreen with glossy green leaves and soft creamy white flowers. Floral artists have expressed an interest in using this in their displays. A lot more research needs to go into this tree before it could be considered a viable crop for the future but it does show some potential.

Climate

The native habit of Gevuinas is in the Andes of Central South America at a latitude of between 3544 degrees South. By comparison, Cromwell through to the mouth of the Waitaki is a latitude of 45 degrees South.

Winter Chilling and Frosts

The literature suggests that a Gevuina tree will tolerate frosts down to -8 degrees. Grower experience in this area suggests that this may be slightly optimistic. Tree survival on frost free slopes is much better.

Rainfall and Irrigation

Rainfall will not adversely affect growth of a Gevuina tree at any stage of its annual growth. In fact its native habitat is known for regular rainfall throughout the growing season. Supplementary irrigation is useful during the establishment stage as trees showing any form of water stress have died.

Wind

Even though they are a tree, Gevuinas are very like cut flowers when it comes to shelter requirements. A good rule of thumb when designing shelter is to multiply the final height of the shelter by 5. Use that measurement as the distance you position your shelters apart. For example, when using a 6m high tree species for shelter, you will need shelters every 30m.

Make sure the shelters running east-west are deciduous. This will allow sunlight into the blocks in the winter. Position all shelters at right angles to the prevailing winds. Talk to your local nursery when deciding on the right tree type for your property. They may also be able to help with design.

Soil

Although there are a range of Gevuinas specimens that will grow in a range of situations, the ones we have in New Zealand seem to grow best in good quality soils.

Fertility

No published work has been sighted on the fertility requirements of this crop. However, if they are like other nut crops, good fertility will equate to good nut yields.

Weed Control

Weed control under trees is essential to allow nut pickup. Grass in the rows is usually mowed. Be very careful if you are thinking of grazing between the trees. Sheep will and do eat the bark from around young trees. This kills the tree by ring-barking it.

Varieties

Different accession numbers are being trialled in New Zealand by Crop and Food Research. See the contacts section at the end of this datasheet. www.crop.cri.nz

Pests and Diseases

Root rots seem to be a problem with Guivena trees. Selecting good quality, free draining soils seem to be the key to avoiding this problem.

Layout

Trees are generally spaced approximately 5m apart.

General Management

It appears that pollinator trees are required to successfully set fruit on Gevuinas. Different accessions are available that enable this to occur.

Harvest

Nuts can be harvested from the ground.

Equipment

Something to mow the grass around the trees and some basic gardening equipment is most likely all that is needed. If larger plantations are made spray units and harvesting equipment may be needed.

Returns

Unknown as no nuts have been produced and sold at the time of writing this datasheet.

Contacts

If you are thinking of growing Gevuinas, contact the Dunedin Rural Development Group a part of the Dunedin City Council. They have a database of growers and other useful contacts

Phone 03 4890040

Also look at the Crop and Food Research website www.crop.cri.nz