Chirping birds and flowering trees may seem out of place in Dubai’s desert but as buildings begin to emerge from the sand at the Expo 2020 site, so has some unlikely foliage.
From afar, the area looks like any other construction site. But upon closer inspection, flocks of birds can be seen swooping over the cranes and their chirps heard over the low rumble of cement mixers.
The birds hover over purple flowers on sage trees and perch on the branches of native palm and ghaf trees inside the large nursery supplying greenery to the 4.38 km sq site of the world’s fair.
The nursery cultivates new plants and cares for mature trees sourced from farms in Al Ain, Liwa and Mushrif Park in Dubai and provided by the emirate’s municipality.
More than 1,000 trees, including 300 palm trees, have been planted in the three theme districts that will feature distinctive pavilions representing sustainability, opportunity and mobility.
There are about 400,000 shrubs and 13,000 trees in the nursery, in the southern part of the site, and the team will take in an additional 450,000 shrubs and 4,000 trees in the lead-up to the fair.
The insecticide-free nursery is protected from pests, such as weevils, the nemesis of the palm tree, with a natural bait made from a date and water mixture. This liquid is put in buckets that are strapped to palm trunks to lure weevils into their watery graves and away from the precious fruit.