Engelsbergs Bruk UNESCO World Heritage Site
The property of Engelsbergs Bruk is internationally renowned for having produced superior grades of Iron from the 1300’s onwards, and in 1993 became a registered UNESCO World Heritage Site. The property now offers itself as a museum where over 50 buildings of various ages and functions have been preserved for the public to view.
However, having been such a major hub for Iron production, the soil profile has been significantly impacted upon over the past 700 years due to the disposal of slag (the waste product from iron production) around the site as infill. Slag can contain toxic amounts of micronutrients, macronutrients and heavy metals – generally containing high concentrations of iron, copper and zinc – and although plants require these for healthy growth, they can also be toxic and inhibit growth at high concentrations.
A variety of trees were planted at Engelsberg in 2010 including Ash (Fraxinus), Elm (Ulmus), Lime (Tilia), Oak (Quercus), Chestnut (Aesculus), Acer Maple (Acer platanoides) and White Beam (Sorbus). At the time of planting the trees were very healthy, but they soon underwent a rapid decline in health despite good planting technique. During the following five years, very little to no growth was noted on any of the trees, foliage cover was sparse and the leaves were dry, dull and verging on becoming yellow in colour. In addition, very few flowers were observed on any of the trees.
Following a series of root injection treatments (using Radigrow) and an application of 59 Degrees compost as mulch, the trees showed a dramatic increase in health over the subsequent months. Within a year of treatment the trees had put on a substantial amount of growth (6 inches in some cases). There was a much denser foliage cover, the leaves showed more vitality and many of the trees even produced flowers.
Soil samples were taken before and after the treatment and established that the increasing health of the trees coincided with the increase in soil biology. This shows that, even on a site with far from ideal soil conditions, by fostering a healthy soil food web, plant health can also be optimised.
Engelsbergs Bruk Tree Data
Engelsbergs Bruk Photo Evidence
Photos taken before and after treatment show the change in the trees vitality.