ORIHUELA city hall is going to spend €674,313 on looking after its palm forest over the next two years.
Half of this outlay will be co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (Feder), confirmed Orihuela’s Environment councillor Damaso Aparicio.
Outside company Actua, Servicios y Medio Ambiente SL will prune, maintain, conserve and protect the trees, including those in the city’s streets and schools.
This includes protecting them from plagues including the red weevils that constantly endanger the palm trees’ survival, Aparicio said.
One of the contract’s principal features combines phytosanitary and biological treatments, together with endo-therapy where the trunks are injected to rid trees of the invasive weevils.
The palms must be pruned regularly to ensure that they do not become top-heavy and the branches of dates will be removed before these can fall to the ground.
Dates from trees that have not been chemically treated will not be wasted as they can later be processed and packaged for consumption.
Nor will the pruned branches be taken a to a rubbish dump they were in the past. Instead they are to be shredded and turned into compost that will be taken back to the Palmeral.