Tallinn buys three hundred €5,000 shade trees

Veerenni tänav Tallinnas.
Veerenni tänav Tallinnas. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

In the fall Tallinn City wants to experiment with planting larger trees. Three hundred trees would cost about €1.5 million.

Vladimir Svet, the deputy mayor of Tallinn, said that streets with fewer trees create "heat islands" during the summer. "In addition to the other risks they pose, they are particularly problematic for pedestrians," Svet said.

"So, we were interested to begin experimenting with the practice of planting large trees — or shade trees — along the sidewalks this year," Svet continued.

He said that trees play a significant role in supporting biodiversity. "Birds, small animals and insects inhabit trees," the deputy mayor said.

In metropolitan areas, trees six centimeters in diameter are usually planted, while the city now plans to plant trees with trunk diameters ranging from 20 to 25 centimeters. "When we have all the contracts in place we will be able to answer the question of how tall these trees will be," Svet said, adding that planting should start in the autumn.

"They will be planted in almost all parts of Tallinn. For example, by the Loo bus stop, Läänemere, Mustakivi, Mustamäe and Merivälja roads, as well as Madala bus stop area," the deputy mayor said.

"In the city center we are still in the process of specifying their locations, as the situation in the center is more complicated due to underground networks," he went on to say. "Here, we are still in the planning stages, but I anticipate that by the end of summer, the plan will be finalized. We will almost surely have dozens of large trees in the city center."

Svet estimated that one large tree, including transport, planting and two years of maintenance, costs about €5,000. A few weeks ago, when presenting the draft of Tallinn's supplementary budget, Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart (Center) said that 300 larger trees would be purchased.

Although the precise amount is not known until after the bids are received, this could amount to about €1.5 million. A further €500,000 is allocated for the acquisition of smaller trees.

"It takes time for trees to grow and if we can bring larger trees to the city's streets, their value for the urban environment and for the people will be much bigger," Svet said, "Larger trees actually save money."

"On a street that never receives shade, the asphalt can begin to melt and may need to be redone at a cost to the city budget," he said.

"If this practice justifies itself in various locations, then perhaps this is also what we will start to ask of our contractors who build streets in the future. So that bigger trees are planted there too," he said.

A number of trees will also be planted along the streets of the city center that are currently excavated; however, these will be smaller trees. "If we want to increase these standards, we could also stipulate them in contracts. But we want to discuss this with the contractors once we have gained some experience with them ourselves," Svet said.


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Editor: Marko Tooming, Kristina Kersa

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