The Oak in New Zealand
Himalayan Oaks have been used successfully as shelter belts in a kiwifruit orchard. They require minimal trimming and root pruning, in contrast to the traditional Casuarina or Willow which are high maintenance.
The trees are fast-growing and do not appear to suffer from any serious pests or diseases. Their deep root system with its ability to draw water to the surface makes it an ideal tree to plant in conjunction with the shallow rooted and more drought prone native shrubs.
Whilst the oaks do best where there is a level of summer moisture, they can also handle very harsh, dry summer sites. Anecdotally cattle and sheep do not attack the bark.
In their first 3-4 years it is important to remove lateral branches that compete with the leader, otherwise the oak can take on the shape of a rounded bush.
Due to the dense nature of the timber, it would be ideal for use as a veneer or for making furniture.
The oldest Himalayan Evergreen Oak specimen in New Zealand was planted during the 1950s, at the Eastwoodhill Arboretum west of Gisborne.
Following the establishment of the Ranichauri Eastwoodhill Trust, the importation of acorns from the Himalayas, and collection of locally produced acorns, there are now several thousand oaks planted from Kaitaia to Bluff.
Trees planted in New Zealand
Rob Hall Mountaineer Memorial
Rob Hall, NZ mountain guide, died in 1996 on Mt Everest. He stayed on the South Summit with an exhausted client then was trapped up high in an unexpected storm.
As a memorial to Rob, friends Sally Lane and Matt Dodd kindly donated a Himalayan Oak sapling sourced from Ranichauri Eastwood Hill Trust. The trust generously offered a further two trees for the occasion. In 1997, the three saplings were planted in Christchurch’s Victoria Park, a beautiful area above the suburb of Cashmere. The (as yet) unmarked trees are located just above the soldiers’ memorial.
The trees, from acorns sourced from the Himalaya, are a fitting reminder of the strong connection between New Zealanders and the Himalayan range and its mountain people.
During the winter of 2000, Garth Eyles a regional conservator with the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, purchased 80 oaks for planting at Lake Tutira. The trees have proven to be valuable for land stabilisation and have thrived on the slip prone sites.
Many of the trees now exceed 6m in height and have a butt circumference of 40cm at 1.8m above ground.
Selwyn June donated a Himalayan Oak to the Hamilton Gardens in 1997. It was planted in a sheltered garden bed at the bottom of a slope.
The tree has had respectable growth after 18+ years in the ground and is now estimated to be 15 m tall with a spread of 8 – 10 m. The trunk has a diameter at breast height of 39 cm.
Sir Edmund Hillary helped plant 10 oak trees in the school grounds as part of a conservation project run by the Ranichauri Eastwood Trust (himalayanoak.com). The proceeds went to the Ranchauri district to help with reforestation.
David Cranwell donated a number of trees to the Eastwoodhill Arboretum in 1997 which are now thriving.
We are not asking you to save the world – just to make a stand
The Oaks grow large! You may not have room for a tree in your garden so we can plant your tree for you, give you the GPS location and you can visit to see its progress! Planting a tree can be a special way to mark important occasions such as a marriage, birth of a baby or the passing of a family member or friend.