Harvest brigade

When trees and bushes are loaded with fruits and berries, the harvest brigade comes into action.

When the trees and bushes are loaded with berries, the harvest brigade from the ‘Groenwerk vzw’ will hit the roads. Under heavy attack from ticks or processionary caterpillars, they make their way through nettles, brambles and thorns to harvest the seeds of precious native plants throughout all of Limburg. Manually, they harvest several kilos of seeds, afterwards acknowledged growers will grow them into new plants.

Two years later, these local plants are ready to be used in natural areas, to plant hedges and forest edges, to repopulate forest areas, to create green buffer areas in an industrial region or to just enjoy, sitting in your own garden.

Long ‘live’ the Ash

Last year, the first cases of Ash dieback were found in Belgium. This is a fungal disease, it poses a serious threat for our Ashes. Branches die down, small, black (cancer-like) spots appear on the trunk and grow steadily larger. Finally, the top of the crown, or sometimes even the whole tree, dies. The Diagnose Centre for Trees of the Institute for Research in Nature and Forestry gathers all data on new cases.

Four in a row

The Agency for Nature and Forestry and the Institute for Research in Nature and Forestry have established seed orchards for several species already a few years ago. These plantations of carefully selected and genetically divers seedlings (gathered from different native locations), are now slowly starting to produce fruits. For the future, gathering the seeds here will save time, in comparison to the trips the landscaping teams now have to make to the native sites of the plants. The plantation at the ‘Lietenberg’ in ‘Zutendaal’ harvers since January  152 Guelders Roses and 179 Bird Cherries.

2011: conquering Flanders

This native story doesn’t end at the borders of the Province Limburg. All of Flanders wants to take part in the project and is preparing for a ‘local plant life’ market. Growers and merchants can register at the website www.plantvanhier.be, that way municipalities, nature organisations, farmers and individual households can directly contact the distributors. With the huge amounts of seeds that have been collected this year, the growing demand for “native plant life” can be covered within two years. Individuals can also buy their plants at the annual plant sale of ‘Natuurpunt’, ‘Orchis’, ‘Natuurhulpcentrum’ and ‘Heempark’ (national and regional nature organisations).