Obtained by steam distillation from foliage and terminal branchlets of Melaleuca alternifolia.
Tea tree grows naturally in South Africa but to date there are little in the way of commercial plantations. Much of the countries output is wild harvested and can be certified as organic. Some young plantations have started but output is relatively small on a global scale.
From seed to harvest usually takes around 12-15 months and trees will grow to around 2 metres high. The tree is then cut from just above the ground and the leaves are steam distilled in a process that takes around 1.5-2.0 hours per batch of around 250 kilos. Tea tree will regenerate quickly and over the next 2-3 years will yield higher levels of oil each year and establish a stronger root network ensuring it becomes more resilient to adverse weather conditions. Some more mature trees can yield higher levels of 1,8-cineole, which is undesirable so re-planting can occur every 6-7 years.
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A good crop and stable yields are expected all through the year. The majority of tea tree production areas have received decent rainfall.
Organic Tea Tree oil – the demand for the oil is only expected to rise in the second quarter of 2022. There is plenty of stock build-up in the market, which will take 2-3 months to be absorbed. This excess stock is a result of COVID-19. Currently there is limited demand for organic oil in the market.
Conventional Tea Tree oil – A small buffer stock could remain at the end of the year, after meeting industry requirements. Production in South Africa is equipped to handle all orders. At present there is heavy demand for the oil in the market.
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