Orchard meadows in Wiesbaden

Orchard meadows in Wiesbaden

More than 40,000 fruit trees grow in Wiesbaden. But the old fruit trees are often no longer cared for and then die. With them, rare fruit varieties and an important habitat for native species disappear.

Endangered paradise on our doorstep

Wiesbaden, the capital of Hesse, is surrounded by rural suburbs where more than 40,000 fruit trees grow. Among them are many old and rare fruit varieties. However, the care of the old trees is exhausting and the fruit, while tasty, often looks different from what is on the supermarket shelves. How can anyone manage to deliver their fruit to REWE or Penny? As delicious and valuable as the fruit from meadow orchards is, in autumn the sad situation arises that supermarkets offer apples from New Zealand from cold stores, while on the doorstep not 300 metres away the trees collapse under their load.

Yet many old fruit varieties have evolved over hundreds of years and represent an important genetic resource for future generations. Various studies have shown that the content of antioxidants and polyphenols in old fruit varieties is up to 1/3 higher than in newer varieties. In addition, old apple varieties are particularly well tolerated by allergy sufferers. These include, for example, the Goldparmäne (developed in France around 1500), the Gravensteiner (known since 1669) or the Goldrenette Freiherr von Berlepsch (bred in 1880). 

Orchard meadows also have an important ecological significance. They provide a habitat for many endangered animals and plants: 1,900 or more animal species occur in meadow orchards. Of these, 90% are insects, such as grasshoppers, bees, bumblebees and rare butterflies. In addition, 60 different bird species breed here, including e.g. green woodpecker, little owl and nuthatch.

Preservation of the valuable orchard meadows

Naturefund is committed to preserving Wiesbaden's species-rich orchard landscape. In 2012, we started our first orchard project. This first outreach became more, because there was and is so much to do.

Since 2019, we have three full-time employees/staff members who spend the winter half of the year almost mainly taking care of the litter fruit conservation in Wiesbaden and part of the summer half of the year. To date, we have pruned more than 1,500 old standard fruit trees, de-bushed countless meadows and currently planted more than 200 new fruit trees.

We would also like to thank the many volunteers who actively support us in the care of our orchards. And of course a big thank you for the many donations. We could not do this work without you.

All projects

Height above sea level0 m
Importance for biodiversitylow