Truffle Tree Planting

Truffle Tree Planting

I have an apology to make… sorry I have not been committing to writing my blog lately! It is not that your following and interest into what we are up to is appreciated, but really I have been so excited that it rained and the soil is still warm that I have been madly planting our trees infected with the winter black Perigord truffle.

At our new base property in Waipara there was 23mm of rain on the 19th December. Followed by an extended nor-wester wind season, very hot days and no rain. The result was basically dust mixed in with lime. Somehow Waipara kept missing out on the rain that was falling 10km down the road in Amberley until April 13th and 14th when we finally got something to brag about 24mm of rain.

So you guessed it I am planting. It helps that we have insurance with the irrigation installed, sprinklers punched and all systems go so I can give the soil a good soak before planting to ensure the trees are happy.

I am sure a lot of you will be doing the same already or about to embark on your own planting. Many of the people who buy trees off us have been “working the land” for years and could teach me a thing or two, but there are others who are little more uncertain, plant their trees with no plan, and then surprisingly never find truffles…

To successfully grow truffles many factors come into play and (in most cases) all need to be meet sufficiently;

  • site suitability and preparation
  •  a healthy tree with high infection quality
  • ongoing husbandries and management
  • capability of dog and handler to find the truffle
  • suitable weather for truffles

Five out of six of these factors you can control, or have a part in controlling and the last you can still pick areas wisely.

I get a little frustrated, and even a little sad, when I see trees we have supplied plonked into the ground and then left to fend for themselves, and then told no truffles have been produced.

Every site is different and needs certain areas worked on so this is not a generic plan, but this is what Kings Truffles have undertaken so far with the new Waipara truffle development:

  1. Soil test for establishing a starting bench line
  2. Grazed with sheep and cattle heavily for several months
  3. Mowed the grass
  4. Cleared fallen willow and cut back overhanging branches, removed poplar trees, and un-dammed creek where flood prone
  5. Sprayed out entire area (had certain weed problems so worked out better for us to spray the whole area rather than just rows)
  6. Ripped the whole paddock
  7. Applied top quality lime
  8. Went over with a tiller several times to break up soil and work in lime
  9. Installed irrigation
  10. Soil test
  11. Started planting
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