Bonn · After the World Climate Conference, there is not much lawn left in the Rheinaue. By the end of April, a nursery will have hauled in 59,000 square meters of turf to make it green again.
It is a mammoth task for the Gräfe garden nursery in Mehlem: 14 employees of Hans Gräfe are laying 59,000 square meters of new sod at the Rheinaue. When Gräfe called the Dutch supplier to order the sod, there was amazement at the size of the order. “Up to 10,000 square meters is already a big order for them, we wanted almost six times that,” said Gräfe.
In November, large exhibition buildings were erected for the World Climate Conference Cop 23 at a cost of 117 million-euros. Where those buildings once stood, there is not much of a lawn remaining. But this will change by the end of April. At least if the weather does not disrupt the work. On rainy days like Tuesday, workers have to take a break because the lawn, which has the same quality as sports turf, has to be laid on a largely dry ground.
Sunny days with over ten degrees are “optimal”, according to Gräfe, allowing his employees to finish 3,200 square meters in a day, using about 60 tons of sod. Each roll of sod weighs 20 kilos and covers one square meter. After two weeks, the sod is fully attached.
Between four and five o’clock in the morning, the sod is “peeled” fresh in the Netherlands (that’s the technical term) and it reaches its destination in the Rheinaue around 8 am.
"The sod must be laid after two days at the latest," says Gräfe. He is a bit worried about this weekend, because frost is in the forecast. If the ground frost lasts longer, the sod cannot be put down.
Rhine in Flames coming soon
The upcoming event of Rhine in Flames is creating some pressure in terms of timing. Thousands of visitors are expected in the Rheinaue for the big event on May 5. But the lawn should be accessible by then. That was the agreement between the city and the Federal Ministry for the Environment, which held the climate conference and is also paying for the costs of restoring the Rhine.
"We have promised the most environmentally friendly conference of all times and that also means that the Rheinaue should shine again in its old glory," said Franz Emde from the Federal Ministry for the Environment. The area where the tents stood behind the WCCB Congress Center near the banks of the Rhine and the grounds where the world globe was located, will also be refurbished. But they are not considered as urgent as the areas that will be used for Rhine in Flames.
From the perspective of the city, everything is going according to plan. Deputy spokesman for the city, March Hoffman said that he expects the lawn will be ready for the start of the outdoor season. In mid-May the flower beds will be planted with summer flowers.
Orig. text: Philipp Königs, Translation: ck