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






  昨晨七時四十五分,彌撒正式開始,儀式以全英語進行,全體首先肅立唱聖詩「Amazing grace」,其後神父致詞悼念死者,並祝願她主懷安息。一名六十多歲男親友疑傷心暈倒,在場的方津生醫生即上前協助,將他送往鄰近的聖保祿醫院。




Wednesday, September 3, 2008

IS AHK/China --- Independency of Arborist Report

*** 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,

This Station Mail is selectively circulated to Certified Arborists (CA), Landscape Professionals & VIP's in our Station for their information & knowledge. Details on client, location & Arborist Report are not disclosed for privacy reason except for the photos which are the possession of the Station Manager himself. This Station Mail is meant to be an academic discussion for anyone interested in the Arborist Profession only.

The Station Manager was called out to inspect & to provide recommendation for a mature tree in HK Island on 11.8.08 in the position of an Independent Practicing Arborist (IPA) to give a third party comment. An Arborist Report was required. At that time, there was strong sentiment among the client to retain this historic tree which appeared to be one of the first brought in by the British during colonial time. It would have been a beautiful tree if it was not damaged in an earlier typhoon. This tree was previously inspected by several contractors & some recommended 'protection measures' like propping & guying to retain this mature tree.

Upon Tree Inspection with Tree Climbing to assess the remaining parts of the tree, the decision was made by the Station Manager to remove this tree instantly because in his opinion, this tree was about to fall anytime. The client was hesitating on the decision during site inspection & some members of the client also expressed sadness if this tree was to be removed. However, the Station Manager stood firm in his decision.

The Arborist Report was submitted to the client with recommendation for removal two days after the inspection. Just while the client was looking around for a contractor to remove this tree under Arborist supervision due to the dangers involved, this tree snapped clean to fall in the early morning of yesterday. Luckily no one was hurt & property damage was minor.

This is a strong case of independency of Arborist Work especially when it comes to reporting. The Arborist, especially if practicing independently, must not be influenced by anybody's interest & must be Fact-finding & Truth-telling. Arborsits in ISA HK/China have all agreed to the Station Principles of Integrity, Professionalism, Participation, Fact-finding & Truth-telling. Any breach may lead to termination & this Arborist will lose group support to become a lone wolf. This may be the harshest punishment any Arborist can get in our territory.

There are so many mature trees in our parks, housing estates, roads, schools, hospitals & public places nowadays. Arborist Reports may become more frequent for our CA whether in-house or self-practicing. The Arborist Profession is strongly scientific in that National Standards & ISA Guidelines are the basis of producing Arborist Reports. In the case of a Court challenge, any discrepancies with practicing standards can be easily disclosed by a more experienced & stronger Arborist on the opposite side. It is therefore our recommendation that any Arborist Report must be written independently without bias to favour any Dept or employer so that any future challenge can be minimized.

We hope the above information can be useful to our readers & for those who would like to go into practicing.

best regards,

Sammy Au
Station Manager

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

Monday, September 1, 2008

ISA HK/China --- Reply on Tree Transplanting issue to an Environmentalist

*** 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 Mr. Lo,

Thank you for your thoughtful message.

ISA HK/China, as known to the world & as to follow ISA ( policies, is a research & education organization to promote proper arboriculture & the benefits of trees in our community. We are always impartial in our comments & do not get involved with any political discussion. However, part of your message involved Tree Care (tree transplanting) & we would like to provide our views as an Independent Practicing Arborist (IPA) for the information of laymen.

With regard to any decision on proper tree transplant, on the ground of technical consideration, we would recommend an IPA to be employed to give a professional & third party study on the structure & health of the tree in concern, & not merely on age, maturity or rarity. Transplanting any hazardous tree is equivalent to planting a Time Bomb in our city. HK has frequently used Horticulturists to do Tree Survey but it is known internationally that they are not the genuine Tree Experts. Arborists are the recognized Tree Care Specialist around the world & they are trained to inspect trees.

After the Tree Inspection by the IPA, an Arborist Report with recommendation on whether the tree should be retained, removed or transplanted is to be produced. The IPA will bear the legal & professional responsibilities of the work & will take the liabilities to explain to the public for his/her decision.

IPA is defined by ISA HK/China to be someone with the following abilities:

1. A Certified Arborist who has hold the credential for at least 3 years & has re-certified at least once.

2. Simultaneously holding the Certified Tree Worker (CTW) credential to ensure knowledge & experience in carrying out proper tree work.

3. Has joined ISA International Conference at least once to ensure networking with global Arborists.

4. Possessing 'O' Level in English Laws or equivalent to ensure basic legal knowledge.

5. Possessing 'A' Level in English Language to ensure communication skills.

6. Has successfully produced Arborist Report a minimum of 3 times to ensure his practical working experience.

IPA is the pinnacle of the Arborist Profession & is capable to provide independent opinion on Tree Survey & any Tree Care practices.

Thank you for your message to us & we look forward Tree Care to be in the right hand in HK, & in the rest of our territory which includes Macau, Taiwan & China soonest.

with best regards,

Sammy Au
ISA HK/China Station Manager

----- Original Message -----
From: Lo Tung Lo
To: ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Cc: ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;

Sent: Monday, September 01, 2008 1:05 AM

Subject: 是保育樹木,還是浪費公帑? - 胡亂移植樹木將製造更多危險樹木!



要是部門繼續以高層(EO, AO)的喜好/指令視為政策,而輕視專業人士(包括部門內的專業/技術人員,及獨立的學者/專業人士)的意見,包括古樹及移植的樹木在內,未來將可能發生更多類似的悲劇發生.

EO, AO大多不是有專業樹木知識的人士,可是他們的一句指令(如"零斬樹","全部移植"等等),足以令很多不宜移植的樹木被搬,而下層公務員因不敢有違上層的[政策]也只好照跟(縱使明知是錯).由於部份移植的樹木結構差,移植後可能隨時倒下(見早前來函/即附件).


今次事件後,市民另一擔心可能是: 若繼續以過往的處事方式去辦事,為免出問題,或許會令提名新的古樹名木之難度大增 - 這亦未必是我們的願望!

政策是死的, 人是生的!


Lo Tung


--- 2008年4月26日 星期六,Lo Tung Lo <> 寫道﹕

寄件人: Lo Tung Lo <>

主題: 是保育樹木,還是浪費公帑?



日期: 2008 4 26 星期六 上午 11:10



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各園境顧問公司 c/o 香港園境師學會

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