Bubuieci in August

If you plan to plant trees, August and September seem to be the best time to visit the places you want to make greener. This is the time when everything is looking real and blunt: the weeds, as high as they can get; the ground and rivers, as dry as they can get; and the trees and bushes that are growing there – as alive (or dead) as they can get during a summer season.

So, if you came to Bubuieci in August, you could first get disappointed – what is happening here? Where is the park? Where is the team who promised to care about it?

But, actually, the team was there – not once, not twice, not even ten times. Better not count.

The fact is, we decided to take as much care of trees as we can at the beginning, thus providing them with the necessary initial support. To do this, we cleaned the tall grass around the seedlings and used it as mulch, so that it cools the ground, keeps the moisture in it and gradually decomposes, improving the soil. In normal conditions – healthy trees and appropriate planting process – it’d ensure a very high survival rate (if we ignore for a bit the cattle and other perpetrators).

However, the nature did her retouch: the trees that were healthy enough and planted well survive. These are most of the small oaks, almonds and pines. Then, there are robinias, lindens and maples. Robinias were very weak from the beginning, but those that took root, are looking quite nice even on poor soil / planted late in spring. Lindens, dug by our teammates, were showing very good results in spring; but now many of them reduced themselves to a few leaves and buds – apparently, they didn’t appreciate the amount of sunshine. Maples – grew too enthusiastically when it was raining, but then began to drop off unexpectedly, possibly due to being planted too high (with some roots exposed) or due to bad root quality. At the same time, some of them are looking as if they are growing in another world, happy and green, and even producing new leaves in the middle of dryness. Then, the bird cherries (planted in a very weird way, we had to replant many of them) and poplars – also a combination of weak and strong specimens. The Turkish hazelnuts – the trees that were going to be thrown away from the nursery because they were too old; we decided to try to save them, and were rewarded by all of them sprouting leaves late in spring… now, not all of them look good, but they are probably conserving energy in order to revive again when conditions are more appropriate…

There are also trees that were few from the beginning, but every one of them is alive and growing now – apricots, ailanthus, sumah, walnuts, elm trees, blackberry and even one hazelnut. All of them were dug and planted by ourselves, our friends and family members.

So, we almost couldn’t choose the planting material, and we couldn’t control all the volunteers. Some of the trees are more suitable for these harsh conditions, some less – we mostly had to do with the trees that were donated to us, plant them in the best places available on the site and try to support them as much as we could.

But. What is important, we decided not to fight for every plant: if it wasn’t healthy and planted not really well, not in the proper place, it is very hard to save it. You can water a weak / badly planted tree every day, and still it can dry, or continue this agony for 1-2 years. Instead, we decided to let them pass a bit of natural selection first years, when the strongest survive, and complete them, step by step, with other healthy seedlings, obtaining great biodiversity at the end.

This autumn, based on our observations and learnings, and also being more flexible, we will concentrate on planting the live fence to mark the borders of the territory: only the strong, resistant trees and shrubs to protect the area against cattle. These will have to be the species that are most drought resistant, with thorns, and quick regeneration – robinias, wild olives, elms, lilac, blackberries, dog roses, etc. Later on, under their protection, the trees that are more tender will grow much better. Moreover, in the middle of the area, we are going to practice the massive seeding of all kinds of trees and shrubs, the seeds of which we’ll be able to collect in parks and forests.

That’s why our main emotions about the current view of former Bubuieci landfill are not sadness, but determination and inspiration – now, we know the potential of the place, the attitude of various trees and bushes that grow (or do not grow) there… and, with almost a whole year of experience working there, we are looking forward to continuing it in the best way possible.


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