Shajar, a new family destination dedicated to trees. Photos: Shihab
Shajar, which translates to “trees” in Arabic, spans 1.6 million square feet of lush greenery, inviting visitors to enjoy a peaceful stroll among 130,000 plants. The best part is that it is free and conveniently located right in the heart of the United Arab Emirates.
The Aljada community in Sharjah has opened one of the largest daycare centers in the country and Khaleej Times offers readers an exclusive sneak peek into this otherworldly facility. The educational and family attraction from developer Arada offers visitors the opportunity to learn more about how trees are grown.
The more than 50 different species of trees have been carefully selected and cared for to adapt to the local climate. Those who wish to visit it only have to register on the development’s website to access it for free. Here’s a preview of what you can expect as you tour Shajar:
Before starting the tour, the welcome center informs visitors more about the benefits of trees, the effects of deforestation and biodiversity issues, while encouraging them to take action against climate change.
The first stop during the tour is at the climate-controlled greenhouse, where thousands of trees are propagated. Plant propagation is the process by which new plants grow from various sources, including seeds, cuttings, and other plant parts. Plants like Cottonwood Hibiscus, Neem and Indian Cork Oaks are grown here for six months.
Once the plants are strong enough, they are moved to the seedling area, which is in the shade. This is so that the seedlings can be protected from direct sun with enough natural light to flourish. Each seedling has a supporting bamboo stake to help it grow straight where it will grow for six months.
The average age of the trees in this third stage is between one and two years. Here the trees are planted in larger pots to give them more area to grow. They are trimmed to encourage healthy canopy growth.
Once the trees reach a certain height, they are moved to open spaces where they continue to thrive and grow, until they are transported to various Arada facilities in the United Arab Emirates.
After the tour, visitors have the opportunity to plant their own Ghaf trees in pots. These will germinate in the treehouse before embarking on the journey of growth and finding a permanent home.
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