STA, 3 August 2020 - During the past few years public orchards have been planted across Ljubljana in the desire to make fruit available to locals from midsummer to autumn and create a pleasant environment for bees. Alas, the orchards have often been a target of vandalism and are not thriving as planned, according to the city.
Most of the orchards were planted near urban community gardens in Ljubljana, however the process has been slowed down due to vandalism. The city authorities will carry on planning and planting the orchards when the existing trees are old enough to bear fruit.
The orchards were meant to be venues promoting food self-sufficiency and for educational activities, for example pruning workshops.
The first orchard was created in autumn 2015, featuring 128 trees, only to be vandalised three times in 2016. No saplings survived the incidents unscathed. Young trees in most of the orchards are not developing as planned due to acts of vandalism, said the city.
The saplings are either uprooted and stolen or damaged. Ljubljana has replaced all the missing or broken saplings and reported the damage to the police, but the perpetrators remain unknown.
Last year and this year so far no saplings were hurt as the city imposed deterrent measures, including traffic warden patrols and campaigns raising awareness about the need to respect public space.
A total of some 600 fruit-bearing trees have been planted in Ljubljana so far, most notably trees producing apples, pears, plums, but also rarer types of fruit, such as persimmons, medlars, and quinces.
The trees will require a few years to develop their final size and bear fruit, but they are also hardier than those in modern orchards and need no support.