Wednesday, December 5, 2007

ISA HK/China --- A genuine Tree Murder in Sheung Shui

*** Our weekly Station Mail is for the information of Station Members only, but Station Mail has given up copyright & can be freely circulated. For administrative reasons, comments from outsiders are usually not entertained & may be circulated within our system locally & overseas. Please note Station Mail is sometimes given in Blog at , although images are usually not attached due to size. ***

Dear Station Members,

It was shocking for the Station Manager to see what are attached in this e-mail of those trees apparently 'murdered' for convenience in Kam Tsin Road, Sheung Shui when he went to work on Dec, 4, 2007.

The trees appeared to belong to the species of Ficus benjamina, which is a common ornamental species used in landscape. The trunk diameters ranged from 150 - 200 mm & these trees would be classified as semi-mature. They were apparently growing & developing well before being pulled out. Why they were displaced & dumped at this spot has been a mystery, & could be a matter of conflict with development or were replaced by another species. Any speculation would be as good as the evidence showed.

Since the Station Manager would pass through the same spot for work everyday, he did not see the trees being there in the evening of Dec 3 when he departed after work the same way. Therefore, it is likely that the trees were placed there during darkness of Dec 3 without too much public notice because this is a rather quiet spot at night. The whole operation appeared to be deliberate & well planned.

The Station Manager did hunt around to look for suspect but every door was closed in the surrounding with securities or guard dogs. For ornamental trees of these sizes, it might be only upper grade development would prefer to use & there are not that many of them nearby. It would be a shame if the rich would do something so degrading without a sense of social responsibility.

So, we have a genuine 'Tree Murder' here, well planned & well executed, apparently for the sake of convenience by somebody to save money & effort for the disposal. If nobody would remove them at the end, then it will be a Govt Dept eventually taking them away by spending the taxpayer's money. We may then ask why we should let someone take advantage of others by breaking the littering laws to get away for personal benefit?

Yet how can we catch the culprit?

The trees were still on the same spot at the time this Station Mail was issued at 8.50am on Dec 6, 2007.

best regards,

Sammy Au
Station Manager

Monday, December 3, 2007

ISA HK/China --- HK Tree News (Tree Grill removal by cutting roots)

*** Our weekly Station Mail is for the information of Station Members only, but Station Mail has given up copyright & can be freely circulated. For administrative reasons, comments from outsiders are usually not entertained & may be circulated within our system locally & overseas. Please note Station Mail is sometimes given in Blog at , although images are usually not attached due to size. ***

Dear Station Members,

Attached is a recent media report showing a tree grill removal operation with re-surfacing of the tree planter.

A reader wrote in to complain about the root cutting & coating on the cut roots, & queried whether it would damage the trees. The management replied since the tree roots were girdling around the tree grills, they had to be cut off so that the grills &/or the cement around it could be removed successfully. The management also emphasized that the operating method was provided by an 'approved landscape contractor' & the cut surface of the roots would be painted with protective sealant with soil cover afterwards. A curb & re-tiling would be carried out so that the trees would be given an even better growing environment.

As shown in the photo of the attachment, it can be seen that a gap has appeared at the root collar level upon the forceful removal of the tree grill attaching to it. Any qualified Tree Climber/Worker with chainsaw operating experience would recall such appearance similar to a Bypass Cut on any tree part to be removed & would hesitate to define the stability of the tree when something like this has happened in the wind. Wound painting is an obsolete practice belonging to the 1950's & research has shown that the protective cover produced by the sealant would encourage decay rather than stopping it due to the moisture contained.

It is noticed that no Arborist advice appeared to be sought & the service of Arborist might have been deemed unnecessary for tree work of this kind. The 'approved' contractor's advice was regarded as sufficient.

If an Arborist was employed to provide technical advice in this case, as very likely as in Western countries or even in Singapore, it is likely that the Arborist would first study the damage occurred to the root system & whether the buried tree grill parts can be left in place with the excessive part cut off only, so that the stability of the tree would not be compromised after the operation. The Arborist would also study whether the re-surfacing with alkaline concrete & cement would alter the pH of the surrounding soil, & whether the renewed surface would add more weight to the existing root system for further compaction. It would be irresponsible for any Arborist to contemplate only aesthetics, & sacrifice the health & structure of the trees in longer term with potential risk of failure in wind to be created to the pedestrians & traffic below.

By now, ISA HK/China has already 83 Certified Arborists working in our territory. Besides the Civil Servants, we wonder how many of them have been asked to provide frequent tree care for our society. Are Arborists some kind of unwanted excess in our landscape industry? Then who should take our place & can they do our job ?

Or, should we carry on the same way as before to face the world ?

best regards,

Sammy Au
Station Manager

The ISA Mission - Through research, technology, and education, promote the professional practice of arboriculture and foster a greater public awareness of the benefits of trees. (

ISA HK/China --- Special Note of Thanks for ATCC Sponsorship

各位親愛的 '攀爬一族' 族人:


本族于發出 '亞太地區攀樹比賽' (ATCC) 的通知的當日內,收到 ISA HK/China 成員 Sam Chun 的以下信息,自願無償地奉献上港幣一千五百大元,作為本族參賽成員的差旅費津贴。

既知阿Sam並非本族成員,本身亦非 '爬手',此舉只能推測他乃發自熱血良心,寄望本族有人能夠為港為國爭光,改寫歷史。


阿Sam,你真好野,立盡大將之風,'攀爬一族' 會記住你!

'攀爬一族' 同人 敬禮

Dear Station Members,

Special note of Thanks to a Rare Good Man

Upon the notice of our participation for the Australian Tree Climbing Championship (ATCC) yesterday, we have immediately received a message form our Station Member Mr. Sam Chun to sponsor HK$1,500 for the event. We wish to express our sincere thanks for his selfless devotion.

It is known to us that Sam himself is not a Tree Climber & his intention to sponsor us for the ATCC should be entirely out of goodwill & conscience. This Station has never called for sponsorship & has started to calculate how much it would cost for our student climbers to come to the event. The sponsorship of Sam can be seen as a good beginning & as positive support of our Station to represent HK/China in a regional competition. It is anticipated that each student climber would cost around HK$15,000 to send & they have practically no income. It is likely that this Station will limit to sponsor only two student climbers within our best effort.

It can be felt that Sam devoted his sponsorship not for fame or fortune. In fact, this Station has never notified him that we would issue this Thank You note in advance. This Station wishes to pay respect for this rare good man with a kind heart & enthusiasm to see others bring home glory & honour to our society. On the other hand, has our territory of HK/China ever before sent out a tree climbing team to compete in any regional or international event? Is tree climbing not a sport or a profession to upgrade our tree practice?

Our society seem to dive straight like China to making quick cash by ignoring positive action to upgrade our standard of living. Quality standard of living can not do without good trees. Good trees can not happen without proper tree care. By the time we have built our city into a solid concrete mass & then want good trees, it may not happen anymore because it is always 'Mother Nature makes the rules, not us ...'

Thank you cordially Sam for your excellent insight. You might have spent a few percent of your monthly salary on this sponsorship, but your name will live within us in this Station for a long long time to come.

with kindest regards,

Sammy Au
ISA HK/China Station Manager

----- Original Message -----
To: Eurasian Garden Ltd.
Sent: Monday, December 03, 2007 2:57 PM

Subject: ISA HK/China (Professionals) --- Invitation to Participate in 2008 Brisbane Regional Tree Climbing Competition

Dear Mr. Au,

Though I am not able to become a team member representing ISA HK/China forthe ATCC, I would like to sponsor HK$1,500 to those Fung Kai Climbers who will take part in the Competition.

The amount I sponsor is only minimal when compared to the total expenses those young participants have to bear, but I think my move will eventually encourage a lot others to do the same.

Yours truly,