Weekend storm damaged dozens of trees in Tallinn's Kadriorg Park

Storm damage in the Kadriorg district of Tallinn, Saturday, October 7, 2023.
Storm damage in the Kadriorg district of Tallinn, Saturday, October 7, 2023. Source: Madis Hindre

The storm that battered large parts of Estonia over the weekend caused considerable damage to Tallinn's parks, with 20 trees brought down in Kadriorg Park alone. According to Tallinn's Urban Environment and Public Works Department, the reason for this was nothing to do with the condition of the trees, but instead a result of the strength of the storm and the warm weather this fall.

Kristiina Kupper, who is both the city's landscape architect and head of landscaping and environment at Tallinn's Urban Environment and Public Works Department, told ERR that the storm damaged trees in a lot of the capital's parks over the weekend. A total of 245 reports were received of fallen trees and branches, with the damage now being dealt with one case at a time.

However, Kupper was reluctant to confirm when exactly everything will be fixed.

Trees were damaged in Lillepi, Kalamaja and Kase parks, as well as in Kadriorg Park, where a total of 20 were brought down.

"A couple of were broken in the lower garden, but there were also some on the territory between Vana-Narva maantee and Reidi tee. Several old poplars came down there," she said.

According to Kupper, the fact that so many trees were damaged does not mean they were in bad condition. Instead, it was mostly due to the particular qualities of this storm. The wind was not only strong but also swirling. Added to that, the warm weather this fall has meant a lot of leaves have not yet fallen off the trees, creating a sail-like surface.

"The ground is also soft, so a lot of the trees were pulled out of the ground with their roots," said Kupper.

According to Kupper, the location of a broken tree in Kadriorg Park will determine whether or not a new one will be planted in its place. For example, new trees will likely be planted in the park area, but there is no point replacing those that fell on Narva maantee, because the root systems of the surviving poplars are extremely strong.

Kupper added that while the trees are checked regularly, it is not possible to see right into their trunks to assess any internal issues. Often it is a damaged root system that causes a tree to break. She warned homeowners that if there have trees in their garden, digging a hole just 50 centimeters deep may cause damage to their roots.

According to Kupper, there are no particular parks in Tallinn, where the trees are in any worse condition than the others. Above all, trees' health depend on their age and where exactly they are growing.

"If an old tree is growing in the middle of a park area, where it has plenty of nutrients, is in good health, and no excavation works have been carried out nearby, then in all likelihood, nothing will happen in the near future, unless some kind of pathogen is spreading," she explained. "However, in an urban environment, where there's heavy traffic, vibrations and excavation work - all of that can reduce the lifespan of a tree."


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Editor: Michael Cole

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