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Germany: Number of tree nurseries is shrinking
by Gabriele Friedrich
Tree nurseries cover some 11 hectares in area
As the Federal Statistics Office (Destatis) also reports, tree nurseries therefore have an average tree nursery area of 10.9 hectares in 2017 on a purely calculatory basis, whereas the figure was 9.7 hectares in 2012. It must be noted that all agricultural businesses with areas of at least 0.5 hectares, where tree nursery plants are cultivated (with the exception of seeding nurseries in forestry businesses), are subject to reporting requirements. Business sizes: Tree nursery areas of up to one hectare are reported by 240 companies, one to two hectares in size: 311 businesses, two to five hectares: 461 businesses, five to ten hectares: 282 businesses, ten to 15 hectares: 128 businesses, 15 to 20 hectares: 81 businesses, 20 to 50 hectares: 157 businesses, 50 hectares and more: 54 businesses.
Areas of the individual product groups in accordance with the current tree nursery survey in Germany. Chart: Heike Hoppe (click here to enlarge)
In general, the tree nursery survey is conducted every four years, this time after five years as an exception. Not all data between 2012 and 2017 can be easily compared, which the federal office expressly points out. From the 2017 reporting year, the tree nursery areas under high walkable protective covers are only surveyed in the total amount.
Ornamental shrubs make up the biggest wood group
In addition, compared to the previous surveys, there are new classifications in the groups of the fruit trees and roses. Conifer hedge plants and deciduous hedges are also recorded individually for the first time.
The biggest wood group includes ornamental shrubs and trees and makes up 45.2 per cent of the tree nursery area or 7,975 hectares. Here, in turn, deciduous trees and conifers are the key group, for instance for avenues, streets and parks, including specimen plants, at 3,423 hectares. This is followed by ornamental shrubs and deciduous trees without hedge plants at 2,074 hectares. Then come conifers without hedge plants at 1,316 hectares, rhododendrons and other ericaceous plants at 492 hectares, topiaries (deciduous and coniferous) at 450 hectares, ground-covers (deciduous and coniferous) at 183 hectares, creeping and climbing plants at 36 hectares.
Since this current survey, the hedge plants are stated separately. They make up 2,047 hectares or 11.6 per cent of the total area, including 1,133 hectares coniferous shrubs and 914 deciduous shrubs.
Production businesses opt for deciduous trees
275 tree nurseries cultivated conifers and deciduous trees as young plants for forest planting on an area of 1,829 hectares or 10.4 per cent. Here, the area of deciduous trees outweighs at a share of 54 per cent (988 hectares). The cultivation of young plants for Christmas tree cultures is not included in the cultivation of forest plants. Young plants for Christmas tree cultures are grown by 200 businesses on another 684 hectares of a considerable 3.9 per cent of the total area.
Fruit trees cover a total area of 974 hectares, making up 5.5 per cent of the total area. They are spread across 769 hectares of refined fruit trees, 169 hectares of fruit surfaces, 36 hectares of refined soft fruit, and 66 hectares of soft fruit propagated from cuttings.
Rose nurseries: refining is the focus
One trend is continuing among roses: Here, 121 hectares are dedicated to covers and 202 hectares to areas with rose refining. Five and also ten years ago, this figure was still about 500 hectares in total rose areas.
A considerable 3,814 hectares or 23.4 per cent is made up by other tree nursery areas. Green manures, fallow, temporarily stored live plants and mother plant sections are included in this, but not farm and commercial areas.
Some five per cent of the total area, about 969 hectares, were under high walkable protection covers in 2017, such as greenhouses and film tunnels for cultivating young plants. This number was collected separately for the first time. The total area breaks down as about 16,100 hectares in outdoor production and 1,550 hectares in container areas outdoors.
Most tree nurseries are in Lower Saxony, amounting to 403 businesses and an area of 4,713 hectares, which corresponds to about 25 per cent of the total German tree nursery area. In North Rhine-Westphalia (338 businesses, 3,840 hectares) and in Schleswig-Holstein (249 businesses, 3,354 hectares) too, tree nurseries have a comparatively high significance, as the statistics indicate.
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