Thursday, June 5, 2008

ISA HK/China --- China Tree News (Restricting Mature Trees in Beijing and Repairing Cavities)

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Dear Station Members,

Attached are two recent sets of tree news from China media:

1. Restricting use of Mature Trees in Beijing

Beijing, the capital of China, has recently issued order to restrict the use of Mature Trees in view of the many past failures to waste money & time in the Forbidden City. Beijing has learned it the hard way & now would not approve in general principle to use any deciduous trees over 20cm DBH & evergreen tress taller than 6m. This would serve as a reference to our local designers in Southern China.

From memory of the Station Manager in his landscaping experience since 1984, the use of Mature Trees in landscaping appeared to kick off in HK with some designers favouring large trees for their so-called ' instant effect', without regard to whether topping or miniaturized rootball would be a consequence during transport. This practice appeared to spread into China with HK designers penetrating this market to expand business. Guangdong appeared to be the first to adopt Mature Trees in her cities during the rapid urban development in the 1990's. Many of these cities then demanded ' instant landscape' to green their many of Mature Trees new communities.

Nurseries in Guangdong saw this as a commercial opportunity & frantically dug out Mature Trees in natural reserves & countryside to exchange for quick dollars. Any eventual death would be deemed Act of God or poor species adaptation, never the ability of the Mature Trees to survive transplanting mal-practice.

Now with Beijing waking up to ban the use of Mature Trees in Govt landscape, a revolution in design concept has quietly begun in China. What the capital would do would affect the rest of China, & who would like to challenge the experts there with their own interest?

If any more of it is turning into the right direction for tree design & tree care in Mother China, it might be time for ISA HK/China to go into China eventually. It appears to be not for long too, with over 100 Chinese 'experts' from various cities to meet us at the Singapore Garden Festival 2008 Expo in July 24 - 26, 2008.

2. Repairing Cavity with Fillings & Artificial Bark

Here is another yet wonderful invention from 'experts' in China.

Some geniuses have experimented to put fillings composing of polyester, woodchip, wire mesh & non-woven geotextile into tree cavities. It was said that the fillings would occupy the void within, be plastic enough not to damage tree body during wind & were waterproof to fence off decay development.

The true magic came with the artificial bark to put on as cover on the fillings to ' repair' the tree to its original form. The material so used as bark would be Glass Fibre, with colouring to match the natural colour & marked grains to resemble the natural appearance. It was also said that cavities so repaired in this manner would appear to be so real that only trained eyes could tell the difference.

If this practice would work, these China ' experts' should be invited to publish a research paper in ISA to teach the world why others could not. Maybe the theory of CODIT would need to be re-examined & decay could be stopped by meticulously filling in. The world may be at lost when seeing what these 'experts' had claimed to do.

Can ISA HK/China really be able to communicate with 'experts' as such ??

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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