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hedges, stones and animals

Finding a balance can be so easy!

A row of bushes, a heap of stones and two busy hands. You don’t need much to keep the ecosystem in balance, just commitment. A few simple instruments are enough to make great changes in the orchards that not only fruit production but also flora and fauna can benefit from. What do hedges and stones have to do with the ecosystem? We’ll show you!
Stone on stone
When stones become places to live
Stone on stone
We have done that for centuries: putting one stone above the other for building a roof or a house. So why shouldn’t we think of our friends living in the orchards as well? They are not at all picky. Hedgehogs, weasels, snakes, toads and useful insects like living in simple piles of stones. Cavities of dry stone walls also constitute perfect homes. Val Venosta’s apple producers know that well and thus create new habitats for their little helpers who feed on parasites by stacking one stone on top of another.

Hedgehog looking for an igloo

It’s right there, in the middle of an apple orchard in Laces: Elmar Platzgummer’s stone igloo. A small vaulted construction with different entrances, hollow inside, beautiful and stable outside. A miniature architectural masterpiece. But what is it exactly? It’s an igloo for hedgehogs where these aculeate creatures and other small animals can hide. Elmar doesn’t ask any rent but relies heavily on the appetite of his inhabitants that like eating parasites. After all, life in the ecosystem is a give and take.
Leaves, branches,
small guests
Wooden places of refuge
Leaves, branches,
small guests
What do you see when walking through Val Venosta’s orchards? Just a row of apple trees? Then you should better have a closer look. There’s much more life in our orchards than what you would expect. Various animals and useful insects do not only take refuge in the trees and orchards but also in the surrounding nature. At the edge of the tracks across the fields, along the banks and in the bushes along the edge of the path there are living beings that hide in the vegetation or take off. Hedges become lively arteries connecting whole biotopes to each other. Wetlands also offer refuge to many creatures. Val Venosta’s apple producers take careful measures to protect this precious coexistence also called biodiversity.

Living between the bushes

If you are in an orchard in Val Venosta and look around, you will not only see apple trees but also many bushes and hedges. You sometimes also come across brushwood piles. But why? Val Venosta’s apple producers do not see their orchards as mere production areas but as natural habitats. Insects, small reptiles, mammals and birds can nest and find food between the hedges. Hedgehogs like hiding in piles of wood and branches. Ultimately, this variety brings many benefits to the apple producers as well: Many of these animals are greedy of parasites and hedges reduce the drift of plant protection products.

Up in the trees

The upper floors are inhabited as well. Isolated trees facilitate guidance for bats and are indispensable nesting and reproduction places for birds at the same time. Birds of prey use the branches as natural perches because they can see their prey better from above. Many apple producers in Val Venosta install special aids to facilitate nesting and breeding and thus guarantee protected habitats and a balanced ecosystem. This also has advantages for fruit production and so the circle closes!
25-50 different plants
grow in every orchard
More than 4,000
soil animals
live in one square meter!
About 15 kilometers
of hedges
have been planted by Val Venosta’s apple producers


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