Potsdam/Beelitz (dpa/bb) – Garden lovers can not only benefit from the summer climate, but their flora is starving. Green spaces and flower beds in parks and at the State Horticultural Show are also suffering from the lack of rain and heat. Many trees, especially the older trees in Sanssouci Park in Potsdam, have already been affected. “The consequences of the drought of the years 2018/2019 are still being felt. And the trees are merciless,” spokesman for the Prussian Palaces and Gardens Foundation Frank Kallensee said on Friday.
It did not rain enough in the spring to make up for the losses of previous years. The ground has dried up and the level of the water table is still far too low. Due to the effects of climate change, the maintenance of the parks, which are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, has become significantly more complex. Drought increases the likelihood that old trees in particular, including oaks, beeches and lindens, are in danger of dying, Kallensee said.
Unlike forests used for logging purposes, there are stands of much older trees in historic parks. Above all, the trees over 100 years old and over 30 meters high in the approximately 300-hectare park are considered to be at risk from heat and drought. Their roots often do not reach the water table.
The Prussian Palaces and Gardens Foundation, which manages around 590 hectares of green spaces and parks in Brandenburg, reacted to the deteriorating irrigation conditions. For the Sanssouci park, for example, approximately 600,000 cubic meters of service water per year are available, which must not be exceeded. In order to limit consumption, the water features are only used to a limited extent, as pointed out by Kallensee. The large fountain in front of the Palace of Sanssouci is lit.
There are around 80,000 trees in all of the foundation’s parks in Berlin and Brandenburg. According to the Castle Foundation, 122 trees have fallen in storms this spring alone, and treetops have been snapped off 38 times.
The lack of rain and summer heat, as expected for the coming week, will force the gardeners at the State Garden Show (Laga) in Beelitz (Potsdam-Mittelmark) to work a lot more. “The heat and the dryness mean increased care for the beds,” said Laga spokesman Enrico Bellin.
At temperatures above 30 degrees, the need for water increases. However, the site has been designed in such a way that irrigation facilities are available everywhere. An automatic system is used for watering, especially at night. “Drip irrigation in a large part of the beds brings water directly to the roots of the plants to keep consumption as low as possible,” Bellin said. Much less water evaporates overnight.
Ground cover plants in flower beds should also reduce soil drying out. “An example of this is the densely overgrown perennial beds at the State Horticultural Show.” However, with high temperatures, it is inevitable that some areas will also need to be watered during the day. The state horticultural show on its 15 hectare site draws its water from its own well.
Laga’s motto is “garden festival for all the senses”. It has had over 240,000 visitors so far. 450,000 are expected by the end of October. Halftime is next Saturday (July 23).
© dpa-infocom, dpa:220715-99-34463/3