The orchards of Senningen

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The history of fruit culture

Dur­ing two gen­er­a­tions, the Sen­nin­gen orchards had been a real mon­ey-spin­ner for the local farm­ers”. This was the for-word of a leaflet in 1984 and per­fect­ly reflects the impor­tance of the local fruit grow­ing activ­i­ty of once.

Sen­nin­gen and Nieder­an­ven in the mid­dle of the orchards.

Fruit grow­ing had already been intro­duced in our regions by the Romans and devel­oped in the Mid­dle Age monas­ter­ies. But it reached its activ­i­ty peak in the 19th cen­tu­ry. In Sen­nin­gen, at the end of the 19th cen­tu­ry large orchards had been cre­at­ed most­ly by unem­ployed work­ers, who had lost their job in the local paper mill. First farm­ers still had to bring their har­vest to Lux­em­bourg City with wag­ons and hors­es, but then lat­er on at the begin­ning of the 20th cen­tu­ry, they could use the new small rail­way line “Char­ly”, a very easy and effec­tive mean of trans­port at these days.

The fruits from Sen­nin­gen were also appre­ci­at­ed abroad. Dur­ing World War I the Ger­man army bought on a reg­u­lar basis apples, plums and pears. They loaded them on the trains in Rood/Syre to bring them to Ger­many.

After World War II, the fruit grow­ing activ­i­ty lost of its impor­tance. In 1902, at its peak, you could count in Sen­nin­gen, Sen­ninger­berg, Ober­an­ven and Nieder­an­ven around 27.000 fruit trees. In 1992 only 7.121 trees have remained in the Nieder­an­ven munic­i­pal­i­ty and two thirds of this crop is too old.

The rea­sons for this regres­sion are numer­ous. The agri­cul­tur­al restruc­tures, the drop­ping prices for native fruit, the trans­for­ma­tion of orchards’ ground into con­struc­tion ground and cer­tain­ly also the change of the con­sumers’ atti­tude may be list­ed as the most impor­tant respon­si­ble facts.

Dur­ing these last years seri­ous efforts were being made to stop this regres­sion of orchards in the region. The Lux­em­bourg State strong­ly sub­si­dies the set­ting up of orchards and a spe­cial plan­ta­tion plan had been start­ed by the com­mu­ni­ties of Nieder­an­ven, Schut­trange, Con­tern, Sandweil­er and Weil­er-la-Tour (SIAS), where spe­cialised fruit tree-cut train­ing cours­es are offered to all per­sons inter­est­ed in orchard man­age­ment.

Different grown fruit species

In Sen­nin­gen only the native vari­ety of fruits were grown, as they bet­ter resist against dis­eases and only need a min­i­mum of care. Among the apples the species “Ram­bour” and “Let­ze­buerg­er Tri­umph”, “Trans­par­ente Blanche”, “Reinette des Verg­ers” or “Boskoop” are the most grown. As for the pears one used the “Curé” and “Let­ze­buerg­er Most­bir” most­ly. But also plum, cher­ry and prune trees were plant­ed.

Lëtzebuerger Renette
Reinette des Verg­ers Quetsche Lëtze­buerg­er Most­bir

The intro­duc­tion of hybrid and oth­er species from abroad did cause more prob­lems, as the trees were not so resis­tant against dis­eases. That is why main­ly the high stem trees were plant­ed, as they do not need spe­cial care, enrich the local land­scape and pro­duce vit­a­min-packed fruit.

The importance of the orchards

The plan­ta­tion of young fruit trees guar­anties the future of the orchards.

Orchards are an impor­tant com­po­nent of our envi­ron­men­tal land­scape. They sur­round our vil­lages and enrich the struc­ture of the nat­ur­al scenery in all sea­sons. They offer more and more fruit and a pre­cious habi­tat to the many local fau­na and flo­ra species.

The half-open habi­tats are of a cru­cial impor­tance for the for­est and for the open field species.

The diver­si­ty of birds is one of the most facts linked to the pres­ence of orchards. You have for exam­ple the pres­ence of the wry­neck, the lit­tle owl, the hoopoe or the green wood­peck­er.

As orchards near­ly nev­er need to get fer­til­ized, you can still find those fau­na and flo­ra species that have already dis­ap­peared on oth­er grounds. That is why the orchards rep­re­sent a very pre­cious habi­tat for ani­mals and plants in dan­ger of extinc­tion.

Wry­neck Green wood­peck­er Lit­tle owl

Char­ac­ter­is­tic bird species of the orchards

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