Climate change and Sustainability get a high profile in the ornamental horticulture industry

AIPH Technical Advisor, Dr Audrey Timm, speaks to Leen Ruijgrok about award-winning Acer campestre ‘Street Pillar’ at IPM Essen 2023. 

With 1,330 exhibitors from 46 nations and 40,000 visitors from 100 countries, IPM Essen 2023 gave centre stage to climate change and sustainability themes.

IPM Essen is the leading international ornamental horticulture trade fair. Held in January at Messe Essen, it is the meeting place for established businesses and the showcase for new products and services. The show is also an opportunity for debate around important topics, such as the Green City session organised by the Federation of German Tree Nurseries (Bund Deutscher Baumschulen). The seminar “Tree. City. Climate Adaptation” was organised as part of the European Nurserystock Association (ENA) campaign “More Green Cities for Europe”. The event highlighted current experiences in production, implementation and maintenance of urban greenery, especially urban trees. From the discussion in the seminar, it was clear that concerns about planting methods and maintenance strategies are shared broadly. For the best opportunity for urban trees to survive and thrive, detailed attention and investment need to be given to the below-ground environment, which is too commonly lacking. The cost of establishing a tree in a city space extends beyond the purchase price of the tree. Part of the challenge is also selecting the right tree for the right climate and setting.

Boomkwekerij de Bruyn, an established IPM Essen exhibitor, offers a catalogue of more than 1,000 species and varieties, making this Benelux producer one of the most species-rich tree nurseries. As part of their climate-resilient tree selection, De Bruyn catalogue features trees that have strong horticultural, ecological, and aesthetic value. Each tree has unique features that help to adapt to new trends, changing design mindsets, and architectural forms, and is selected for the climate resilient tree list based on its ability to survive hotter temperatures and dryer conditions that are increasingly experienced in cities. Their claims about tree performance are based on their observations and experience on the 150-hectare nursery site.

Exhibiting at IPM Essen 2023, Boomkwekerij De Bruyn presents their Climate resilient tress to the trade. 

Each year at IPM Essen, innovative plants are judged by an expert commission. In 2023, 63 new products in eight categories from 33 exhibitors were on show, and only six novelties were awarded. Leen Ruijgrok of Boomkwekerij Ruijgrok was very proud to win one of these awards for a new variety of Acer campestre ‘Street Pillar’. This tree stood out from a batch of wild seedlings planted at the nursery 15 years ago, showing narrow, compact and slow growth with a dense crown, which makes it very suitable for planting in small places, including flower boxes. Other advantages are drought and wind resistance, winter hardiness, tolerance of road salt, and not sensitive to mildew and spider mites. Leen said that the success of ‘Street Pillar’ has prompted the nursery to increase production on all four of their nursery sites (Germany, Poland, France, and Holland) to be ready for high demand.

Industry organisations have an important role to play in supporting producers. ENA represents over 20,000 nurseries that produce on more than 100,000 hectares, and their Green Cities strategy served to connect producers with government initiatives to promote green cities and urban tree planting.

This article was first published in January 2023 FloraCulture International magazine.

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