Alte Obstbäume im zeitigen Frühjahr
In the European cultural and historical landscape, orchards are probably the most species-rich biotope. They go back to the traditional form of fruit growing, in which tall fruit trees, as the name suggests, are scattered across the meadow. The fruit trees usually differ in age, species and varieties.

Ecological significance of orchards

The classic orchard generally stands on species-rich hay meadows. Accordingly, fruit trees complement the already very valuable and species-rich biotope. With their large number of flowers and many flower-visiting insects, fruit trees offer a large amount of pollen and nectar relatively early in the year. Cherries, plums and damsons can bloom as early as April, followed later in May by apples and the like.
Especially as the fruit trees get older, they themselves provide numerous habitats for a variety of animals. Smaller creatures such as insects, arachnids, etc. are found in cracked bark. If the trees still have (small) tree hollows as they get older, woodpeckers, bats or dormice can take up residence. The settlement of the critically endangered little owl, a typical resident of old and undisturbed orchards, would be particularly pleasing.
Orchard meadow near Gerolstein © Dr. Hendrik Albrecht

Orchards in residential areas and their climate-protecting effect

The classic orchard requires a lot of space. In residential areas, correspondingly large areas are probably only available in larger parks. Nevertheless, smaller orchards can also be created in residential areas, which are ideal for promoting and observing the local insect and bird life. In addition, such orchards can be freely accessible to citizens, so that fruit is also available “hand-to-mouth”. 
Although a few compromises have to be made in terms of ecological value, half-family fruit trees are suitable for such cases. Due to their lower altitude, they may not offer as extensive a habitat as the high tribes do. However, it seems questionable whether a woodpecker or little owl chooses an orchard in a settlement. Smaller mammals can also find shelter in smaller trees and the insect world and the typical settlement bird species are certainly not bothered by the slightly lower trunk and tree crown height.
Like the meadows and the naturally designed green spaces and gardens, orchards also contribute to climate protection. Additionally, trees generally have a positive impact on the local climate by cooling the surrounding air. This process, known as evapotranspiration, is related to photosynthesis, an essential physiological process in plants in which CO2  is absorbed and bound in exchange with water and oxygen.


The “hand-to-mouth orchard” in the residential area:
Suitable for e.g. E.g. very large gardens, schoolyard meadows, public green spaces
Planning: one fruit tree per 80-100 m²

The classic orchard consists of tall trunks. The use of half trunks can be useful in residential areas due to the slightly smaller space requirement and as an educational element, for example. B. a planting campaign is planned with students. Half trunks usually bear earlier, so that school children can literally experience the fruits of their labor.

Detailed instructions for planting a meadow orchard

Further measures: 

Further reading and links

For Kids:



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