Obtained by steam distillation from foliage and terminal branchlets of Melaleuca alternifolia.
Tea tree grows in both New South Wales and Northern Queensland, almost entirely in modern day plantations. Some wild harvesting still occurs but this only contributes a small amount of the 650+ MT that Australia produces annually.
The industry is well regulated and as the original producer of tea tree, Australia standards are highly regarded as the best quality. The harvest period starts in May and lasts until November.
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 however the tree itself could live over 25 years.
Read more about this amazing essential oil by clicking on our Elementary Essential Oil link in the sidebar.
It has been a catastrophic time for the tea tree industry. Not just tea tree but growth of almost all crops has been adversely impacted. Severe drought continues to negatively affect crop growth. Furthermore, bush fires have affected many tea tree farms in northern New South Wales. Several farms have been struggling to deal with the situation. Adding to this, floods have also affected most crops on the northern coast. The negative effects of the drought and fire mean the industry may see a reduction in crop this year. Golden Grove Naturals plantations have not been negatively affected by bush fires.
Demand for stock is starting to pick up after a six month period of low stock movements. The existing stock is limited. GGN has implemented irrigation on plantations under management. The production in the coming months is projected to increase.
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