Wednesday, July 11, 2007

ISA HK/China --- China Tree News (Manufacture of Mature Trees & Tree Pruning Competition)

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Dear Station Members,

Attached are 2 set of news extracted from a China National Newspaper, one of which is truly shocking to the Arborist World.

1. Tree Pruning 'Competition' in Beijing

Never known in the Arborist World in advanced nations, some 60 landscapers from parks, landscape schools & research institutes in Beijing took part in a ' Tree Pruning Competition' recently, for demonstrating the 'Education & Standards' of the candidates of these organizations to celebrate the coming 2008 Olympic Games in China.

The Competition was divided into a written test & a practical test to ascertain the candidates for their abilities in mastering Tree Pruning. A winner was elected for his excellence in work.

This Station is never aware of any similar competition of this nature anywhere in the Arborist world. Although the knowledge of Tree Pruning maybe able to be tested in a written exam, but how it can be compared in a practical cutting session would intrigue even the most experienced Arborists in the world.

In order to be tested fairly in any competition by international standards, the competitors are required to enter into a race of equal opportunity at the same level, e.g. in a 100 m sprint, every athlete will run 100 m at the same time on the same track. When it comes to trees, it is almost impossible to find a group of trees to be tested belonging to the same dimension & same geometry. If not the diameters of the branches are different, the branching arrangement & taper will be different. To compete on unequal trees will be like competing to shaving fruits but some are shaving apple & some on pineapple. How do we decide a winner for this ?

Our brother & sister up north constantly invented ideas completely out of this world, but some of us in HK have become their dedicated followers. We really wonder why?

2. Manufacturing 'Mature Trees' with 'Young Trees' to ease market demand

This innovation is absolutely shocking to the Arborist World anywhere on this planet !!

In order to ease market demand for Mature Trees all over China, some genius in China have invented a method to manufacture Mature Trees from Young Trees. They are also applying for a National Patent in China for this 'exceptional' invention.

The method is simple. Two or more seedlings of 2 cm -3 cm will be stripped off the bark & be bundled together to form a bigger tree. The contacting surfaces will be disinfected & secured for fixed attachment. The new combined seedlings will be grown under normal maintenance for 3 to 5 years & then a new 'Mature Tree' will be formed. The inventors claimed that they have had success in production this way for species like Osmanthus, Lagerstroemia & Podocarpus, & over 5,000 of them are already successfully grown. It is also said that the manufactured 'Mature Trees' will have a higher aesthetic value than naturally grown trees. They would have a higher transplantation success because they have more fibrous roots. The inventors also claimed that buyers from all over China are rushing to placed orders because Mature Trees are becoming short in demand nowadays ...

From a scientific point of view, the description of the above manufacturing process seems to imitate that of Grafting which is commonly used in fruit tree production. Whereas in Grafting a scion will be inserted into a mother stock to form a union, the Chinese method is simply forcing the cambiums together to hopefully fuse a union to form one single tree. Even if successful, this process is not known scientifically to produce a strong attachment between the stems, because the union will not have the weaving effect of a normal branch attachment & may split by weight of the foliage in wind & rain later on. It may be seen as just another expression of 'Included Bark', although without bark.

Another query this Station would have is how to prevent the decay development among the wounds in the bundle even by disinfection. World research has shown that no chemicals can eradicate decay development in a tree permanently & the tree can only compartmentalize the wound, if successful. Our brothers & sisters up North are completely overturning international research in this aspect & claimed that they can achieve normal growth by bark stripping. Would it mean China has finally led the world in Arbor research for once ??

About 2 years ago, a Mainland Chinese gentleman somehow became a Professor in an US University & had invited two of his fellow friends who were both Professors working in the Dept of Forestry in Beijing, to apply to ISA HQ for starting up an ISA Chapter in China. Our Station at that time was young & not as influential as now, & we invited these Professors to communicate with us for a joint approach. We wrote to them but have never received any reply from any of them whatsoever. It may have been a good thing for us to hear nothing from them so that we could carry on the ISA way independently to now without their participation. Now our Station covers Mainland China as our territory besides Macau, & Taiwan. We are ready for an approach into China anytime when our regional partners are ready to go with us.

China is indeed full of surprises to shock the world in Arboriculture. No wonder we have followers of them in HK because some of their innovation are indeed 'exceptional'.

best regards,

Sammy Au
Station Manager