Dispersed Urban Orchards #DUO

Navan’s History of Orchards

In the not-so-distant past almost every estate and farm in Navan would have had an orchard. Growing fruit trees and bushes was common in urban gardens, too. As times changed, these orchards gave way to buildings, grass or other crops. Making jams, jellies, and preserves became a thing of the past as urban gardens became almost synonymous with short lawns that cannot support local wildlife. We want to embrace our local heritage by planting Blood of the Boyne apple trees alongside native species such as Wild Cherry, Hazel, and Rowan, providing food for us and for wildlife to feast on!

What is a Dispersed Urban Orchard 

ORCHARDS are little forest gardens where fruits and nuts grow on trees and bushes. Navan’s DISPERSED orchard involves our whole community! We are inviting people from across Navan to plant fruit trees in their gardens, and, with permission, to also advocate for planting more trees on their estate greens, parks, sport club grounds and other open areas in Navan. We are focusing our efforts on improving the connectivity of urban wildlife-friendly habitats - so that animals can safely move between food and shelter providing habitats. We want to  attract more pollinators to the area to pollinate the orchard tree flowers so they can turn into fruit! By planting trees in a dispersed way we hope to eventually create a bountiful food supply for bees, birds and other wildlife and help biodiversity throughout Navan. 

The Navan Dispersed URBAN Orchard is for everyone Navan town. You don't need a lot of space and trees can be chosen to suit the space available. Smaller varieties can even be grown in containers. If you'd like to get involved, get in touch today.  

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How you can get involved!

  • Get your estate involved! Rally your neighbours and Residents Association and fill in this form (2021) to sign up for receiving apple trees and other native trees to plant in your Dispersed Urban Orchard!

  • 2022: We will be adding new estates to the Navan DUO in August 2022. Get in touch and we will send on some more information!

  • Plant/gift a native/fruiting tree in Navan. Tell us where it's planted so we can add it to the Navan DUO connectivity map!

  • Help identify established orchards within Navan and potentially any old Irish varieties of apple. 

  • Help identify if there are apples or other fruit currently going to waste in Navan town.

  • Help host a workshop on growing and maintaining (pruning) apple trees (our first two workshops have been held at Solas Glan community gardens, but we are keen to work with people on Navan town too).

  • Help host a workshop on food waste, juice making, or cider making.

  • Arrange a local foraged goods or apples only cake competition.

What other benefits do urban trees provide for us?

Planting trees is a great action to combat the biodiversity and climate change crisis. Navan’s trees provide us with many ecological services such as:

  • Clean air from pollutants and absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

  • Improve soils, reduce erosion, minimize rain runoff and prevent flooding.

  • Support a rich and diverse range of wildlife with food and shelter for thousands of species (and humans, too!).

  • Provide important connectivity between wild areas in an urban setting.

  • Increase the value of our homes and make our town more attractive.

  • Improve our community, our health, and our wellbeing.

 

All Wild About Navan supported Orchards making up the Navan Dispersed Urban Orchard will be asked to adopt some simple, biodiversity-promoting actions to support local wildlife as your grow your trees. This can be achieved by: 

  • Leaving a small area around your tree unmown. Mowing the grass will deplete nutrients in the soil as the plants will need to use more to regrow. Mowing can also damage trees.

  • Leaving “untidy” and wild areas - the kind that nature intended - to attract local wildlife like birds, hedgehogs and pollinators to our town. Bees love dandelion flowers, and birds love eating on their seeds!

  • Leaving some strips of long grass near the Dispersed Urban Orchard grow as “long-flowering meadows” (mown twice a year) or “short-flowering meadows” (mown every 6 weeks after a first cut in April): longer grass will allow wildflowers to bloom which will in turn attract pollinators to the area. Bumblebees love to shelter and overwinter in tussocks of long grasses!

  • Not using pesticides or herbicides. The areas around our trees can be mulched if the tree is young or left to grow long in the case of older trees: the wildflowers this will attract will look beautiful! (see photos)

  • Planting more pollinator-friendly and wildlife-friendly plants.

  • Providing safe habitats and passage for birds, hedgehogs, frogs, bats, and other fauna. Be mindful when you trim or strim, e.g. do not remove bigger bushes/trees/ivy during the bird nesting season, and check areas of longer grass for hedgehogs before strimming.