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A moment from the tree planting event, Source: Riga Municipality

Riga bets on large trees for its greening plans

Riga bets on large trees for its greening plans

The first seedlings were planted on 27 May by an Italian landscaping company

On 27 May, there was a planting activity of the first large tree seedlings in Riga opposite the residence of the Italian Ambassador to Latvia. The Italian connection does not end there since it was a company from that country, called Verde Srl, that won the open tender ‘Planting large plantations in the greenery of Riga city streets’ announced by the Department of Housing and Environment. The contract provides for the greening of 154 streets of the capital with large trees.

There is a reason why larger trees are preferred

Once the seedlings take root and mature, they will be transplanted to the city streets by the end of the year per the plan's provision.

The Deputy Mayor of Riga Edvards Smiltēns, who was present at the planting gave further details: “Our common goal is a greener, livelier, more people-friendly city. Therefore, these large plants intended for landscaping 154 streets are by no means the only trees that will be planted in Riga this year. 

"Rīgas meži" plans to plant 525 bushes and about 50 trees in the city parks this year. When renovating the streets, the Traffic Department will plant a total of 36 trees in the foreground of Āgenskalns Market, Elizabetes Street, Merķeļa Street and Stabu Street. Trees will also be planted in Čaka Street and Ģertrūdes Street. In turn, as part of the Skanstes neighbourhood restoration project, it is planned to plant more than 1,000 trees this autumn and next year”.

It takes nine to twelve years to grow a large tree. The choice in favour of large seedlings was made taking into account previous experience when smaller seedlings were planted in the street greenery but did not always survive. 

The street is an aggressive environment, so a larger plant that is more resilient has a better chance to grow and survive. In addition, large plants are more visually noticeable, and they can be less injured in winter when clearing the snow, pointed out specialists from the department.

Tree species were selected according to the surrounding landscape of the street. As there are already many linden trees in Riga, other trees are being planted for the second year in a row, such as red maples, bog oaks, and Japanese katsuras. Diversification of the street greenery is necessary not only for the diversity of the landscape but also to avoid tree deaths in the case of specific diseases.

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