Technology & innovation

McGrath Nurseries Ltd pride ourselves in being at the forefront of technology and innovation in the business of growing fruit trees, selection, develoment and introduction of new fruit varieties, plant intellectual property protection, and innovative methods of adding value, all in an effort to provide the best service to our clients.

Improved methods of growing fruit trees:

Our drive for continuous improvement has moved McGrath Nurseries Ltd to be leading innovators in the production of quality fruit trees.  From the very beginning in the 1980's when we introduced ultra low-volume spraying, we have continuously improved our systems and machinery to be ahead of the curve.  

We work with leading researchers and chemical companies to continually improve our use of insecticides, fungicides, herbicides and fertilisers, and to reduce our environmental impact.  The changes in the past 30 years have been phenomenal as we have moved from organochlorine and organophosphate insecticides to integrated pest control and from broad spectrum fungicides to elicitor technology.  Our view of the soil has changed from a 'potting medium' to that of a living organism.  We have been at the forefront of these changes all of the way. 

Since the early days of our nursery we have been privileged to have a skilled full-time mechanical engineer and we regularly receive specialized visitors from all over the world to look at the innovations we have made with nursery machinery.

Our nursery was the first nursery to fully adopt chip budding, advanced scientific methods of feathering, and color coding of trees along many other innovations.

Selection, development and introduction of new fruit varieties:

Varieties introduced by our nursery have significantly changing the shape of fruit growing in New Zealand.

We were the first nursery to rigorously reselect stone fruit varieties.  The packout gains from our selections have proven to be significant to our clients/growers over time.

In 1989 we became actively involved in the importation and promotion of varieties.  Our success include:  Sunrise, Sweetheart, Stacatto, Gilmac, Luisa, and others.

McGrath Nurseries Ltd was the prime mover in the evaluation, introduction and eventual commercial development of the CG rootstocks in New Zealand. We saw the need for dwarfing, woolly apple aphid, phytophthora and fireblight resistant rootstocks. number of selections were introduced and a text book style multidisciplinary cooperation between science and commercial interests was used to carefully evaluate the rootstocks and eventually release Geneva® 202 in 2006“”. The commercial license is shared with Waimea Nurseries. Geneva® 202 currently enjoys about 40% market share in New Zealand.  These rootstocks give both environmental and commercial benefits to our clients and the country.

Plant intellectual property protection:

We are currently the agents for approximately 100 varieties of prunus, malus and pyrus, coming from a wide diversity of programmes. These range from small private breeders and individual owners of varieties, through to large publicly owned breeding programmes and government departments.

We continue to innovate with the development of Starletta®(13N0739), Honeycrunch®(Honeycrisp c.v.) and KORU®(Plumac c.v.) and we are currently assessing more new varieties and are always seeking new and exciting material. 

Innovative methods of adding value:

When we first began growing trees PVR did not exist in New Zealand.  

We have been involved in the evolution from free varieties through PVR and Trademark protection with tree based royalties, to the current development of controlled production systems utilizing sophisticated marketing and in-market partnerships on an international level. They have been exciting times.

We are now involved in the innovative marketing of fruit and our knowledge and experience has followed the growth pathway from Gilmac and Sweet Valentine to Starletta®(13N0739), Honeycrunch®(Honeycrisp c.v.) and KORU®(Plumac c.v.).

Better service to our clients 

Growing the highest quality trees, of the best varieties, and innovative marketing methods, all combines for McGrath Nurseries Ltd to provide the best overall service to you, our clients.

Few organizations worldwide bridge the knowledge base of nursery production and propagation, plant varieties, fruit production and fruit marketing with the depth, skill and passion of Mcgrath Nurseries Ltd.

Our passion for improvement through technology and innovation continues as McGrath Nurseries Ltd moves into it’s fourth decade.

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