Saturday, September 6, 2008

ISA HK/China --- HK Tree News (Awakening of Tree Care in HK)

*** 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,

Ever since the fatal Tree Failure in Stanley on 27.8.2008, ISA HK/China has received enquiries on Tree Care practically every hour during daylight, from media, estate management, private homes & Station Members. The whole of HK appeared to go into frenzy all in a sudden about our trees. The Station Manager has been in the landscape industry as a profession since 1984 & has never seen the HK public paying so much attention on Tree Care any other time.

The internet news below gave information of the Memorial Service of the lovely angel Kitty on 5.9.08. The Chief Executive His Right Honourable Donald Tsang & Wife, & the Secretary for Home affairs Mr Tsang Tak-sing both attended the ceremony & offered their condolences. Many wept & cried at the service. The whole of HK appeared to grief in sorrow for the departure for such a young talent sent off by a failed mature tree.

This Station has been asked many times after the tragedy on what to do next. How should we weigh tree preservation against safety? How can we prevent future Tree Failure? Who should be liable should future failure happen again?

As mentioned time after time in past, ISA is a research & education organization & we do not get entangled with politics. However, in order to have our trees to become assets instead of liabilities in our community, we would recommend our trees to get special attention from design, selection, installation, maintenance, regular inspection, risk management & construction protection all the way. If mistakes are made at any of these stages, it is unlikely that we shall get good trees at the end. Particular focus should be paid at using quality trees for structure & health, other than just for flowering & scent. This Station has received reports from contractors on some of our 'flowering' species that they twisted like wrangled washings after Typhoon Nuri. Then what's the point of having them 'flowering' if easily failed?

Nursery Stocks Selection is another important area to focus upon because safe planting begins with safe trees. Trees with poor structure & health would require heavy future maintenance, if selected on site. For trees to arrive site in acceptable condition, packing & transport are both important consideration, or else they would become unsafe trees if not done right. This is one area that the Station Manger is trying to teach at the BLS course in CICTA later.

Structural Pruning to a young tree is like education to a young person. If Structural Pruning is not given at the correct time, it would be like youngsters growing up not going to school. The trees would grow in any manner as they please without direction & this would lead to heavy maintenance & perhaps potential hazards later. If incorrect pruning like topping is given to provide short term solution, the tree would usually develop into a long term liability & maybe even a Time Bomb.

When a tree is getting old & not regularly inspected, it may shed parts unexpectedly to become a tangible hazard. Then if hazards are not attended & corrected immediately, the tree or its parts may fail eventually to hit someone or something below.

It can be seen that putting in a tree is like giving birth to a human. We should not do it for pleasure & have to think about the responsibilities & liabilities after. Then if we think trees are so much troublesome & burdensome to be something to completely discard, then do we all want to live in a desert or in a concrete jungle without trees??

The departure of Kitty is sad, but she did not go in vain. She has wakened up HK to take a serious look at our trees to ask questions. In closing, with the same passion like all those with good hearts, we would say:

"Kitty, we all love you. Arborists in HK will remember you & you have wakened up our public on trees. Smile at us from above constantly, & we shall smile back ..."

best regards,

Sammy Au
Station Manager

"Trees are good for the community. Trees need care like human beings. Arborists are the Tree Care Professionals."


(星島)9月6日 星期六 05:30






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