Thursday, January 10, 2008

ISA HK/China --- Procedures for proper Pruning work

*** 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,

Public outcry continued at the Topping event at Nam Cheong Estate & some even called it a 'Tree Butchery'. While the event was being condemned by the public, we the Arborist Professionals should understand how a Mature Tree Pruning should be properly carried out in a correct manner. Here is how such event is commonly conceived in advanced nations.

When a group of trees are considered to be growing out of proportion which would require some action, the management should first seek the advice of an Arborist, like a person consulting a doctor. Arborist is Tree Doctor. He/she would diagnose the problem & recommend treatment, which may including Pruning. A detailed Tree Inspection, & possibly a Risk Assessment if required, would be carried out usually with Tree Climbing for canopy inspection, & an Arborist Report with the Certified Arborist Cert. no. printed on for liability is required to be submitted to the authority for approval of the work. Remember the Arborist Profession is a legally sensitive one. Any Negligence can lead to Civil Action which is currently uncommon in other landscape professions in our territory.

When Pruning is chosen to be the option, the Arborist would design what type of pruning such as Cleaning, Thinning, Reduction, Raising or Vista is/are necessary. The Arborist should understand the differences of each of these options & the consequence of the choice. The Arborist should also design the pruning method & procedures. He/she then would either do it himself/herself usually with Tree Climbing, or supervise it if it is to be carried out by a contractor. Most landscape contractors in our territory would not understand how to prune trees to international standards at present & the Arborist should be in charge on site at all times to instruct & supervise the work, or even climb to demonstrate the work, since it will be his/her liability to do the job right.

When the pruning job is completed, another Arborist Report with comparison of the trees before & after, & reasons for the pruning action should be stated out for liabilities, if the case would be further pursued by others in future.

It can now be seen that proper pruning is not everyone's cup of tea. The public & media are watching all the time. Mistakes can lead to outcry & explanation must be ready on hand to justify the action. This is the cross any Practising Arborist has to bear.

Therefore, the Arborist Profession is a unique one of its own. It requires knowledge, experience & practical skills to handle & solve realistic problems. Credentials only justify the standard, not the work.

This is what makes the Arborist Profession such a necessity in western nations.

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. (

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