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James Ruse Agricultural High School

James Ruse Agricultural High School

Gesta Non Verba

Telephone02 9871-7126


The Orchard

The Washington Navel is the variety of choice in the citrus orchard. A sweet, seedless, fresh market variety is harvested in late autumn/ early winter. Year 9 focus on this topic in Semester 2 and Year 7 enjoy a juicing practical activity too.

We have always used drip irrigation in this orchard, however after replacing the lines in 2018 we decided to raise them above the ground, so we could detect damaged sections in a more timely manner, before tree stress was observed. It is also at the correct skirting height to assist students in pruning the trees. It is currently being linked to an I-Core water sensing system which will in time use probes to measure soil moisture levels and automatically irrigate the orchard, using water more efficiently.

The Peach Orchard has undertaken a few changes in recent years. We have replaced most of the Florda Gold Peaches with the Sherman’s Red variety. Trees were grafted onto the disease resistant rootstock Golden Queen. We have recently constructed insect proof netting as a necessity when the withholding period on the pesticide we originally used changed, rendering it an unfeasible practice. Fruit Fly are the major pest in the peach orchard and lay their eggs when the fruit is almost ripe. However the withholding period on the pesticide extended to 42 days and therefore fruit would be overripe by the time we could pick it. The first harvest after the netting was constructed was in 2017. We were able to leave the fruit on the tree until fully ripe and of a larger size, producing a better quality fruit at harvest in the spring time. Most peaches are sold through the canteen fresh. Some years we are able to value add and make peach jam or sorbet sold in waffle cones at lunchtime in summer.