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One-and-a-half million plants

The western side of the new land will be protected from the sea by 7.5 kilometres of dune and beach. In the first half of 2011, the contractor PUMA has planted the first 4 kilometres of the dune row with marram grass. Most of this planting was done by hand. The roots of the marram grass will retain the sand of the new dunes, preventing erosion.

1.5 million plants

On Maasvlakte 2’s soft seawall, a total of some 200,000 to 300,000 m² of dune will be planted with marram grass. A team of eight to ten people will be doing this work by hand, for a period of three months. The contractor expects to plant the last kilometres, including the section of dunes near the Slufter, in the fall of 2011. All in all, the entire seawall will be planted with a total of some 1.5 million marram plants.

Marram grass

Marram grass is a strong plant that is well able to withstand wind and salt. Its roots are 6 to 9 metres long and will retain the sand of the Maasvlakte 2 dunes. Marram grass can be planted both in the early spring and later in the year. To plant the marram, furrows are dug with a machine in the soil of the flat sections and gentle slopes. On steeper inclines, this work is done by hand, with a spade. The planter then plants the marram grass in the furrows by hand and stamps it in place with his foot.

The marram grass comes from densely vegetated dunes along the Dutch coast. Provided this does not create open spots, healthy marram grass can be ‘cut’ here, i.e. removed. Seven to ten cuttings are bound together in bushes to form a new plant that can be planted at Maasvlakte 2.