Leuven joins the fight against weeds using cork

A test project has been started in Leuven that uses recycled cork to prevent weeds growing around the base of trees. The project arose from a development that Sirris was already involved in. 

Because weed-killers have been prohibited for some time now for ecological reasons, the local authority in Leuven was looking for a sustainable alternative for keeping the weeds at bay in the exposed earth around trees. In this situation it’s not possible to burn away the weeds. A solution was found by using tree base rings made from recycled cork.  

This tree base ring, which has been developed within the framework of De Vlaspit vzw’s Pionier-K project, IGO Leuven and Sirris, and partly financed by the Province of Flemish Brabant, is a sort of carpet made from a mixture of cork granules and resin, which is then laid around the base of the tree. This allows sufficient air and water through, but it also prevents the growth of weeds. In addition the cork bedding looks neat and natural. 

The Leuven parks department is going to apply the tree base rings at various places in the city. The first tree to be given a base ring made from cork is the ‘Freedom Tree’ growing on Margaretha Square. If the initiative is successful, it will be extended over the coming years. 

Residents can contribute to the project by handing in old cork at domestic waste recovery centres or collection points located in municipal buildings.

(Source picture: City of Leuven)