Thursday, July 16, 2009

ISA HK/China --- Incoming Mail (Tree Topping in Shatin)

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Dear xxx,

Thank you for your message & subsequent phone call to address your concern. Your identity has been erased to protect your privacy as you have instructed.

What you have sent in may be the biggest Tree Topping Event that ISA HK/China is aware of after One Beacon Hill in Kowloon Tong, YMCA in Wu Kai Sha & Leung King Estate in Tuen Mun in recent years. From the photos given, there appeared to be no end to the extent of Tree Topping & the distance may stretch to a kilometer long. This would be quite a sight for our Tree Lovers to look at while they are cycling along the Shing Mun River Bicycle Track indeed.

To answer your enquiries:

1. To the best of our knowledge, there appears to be no Govt Regulations to forbid Tree Felling & Interference for private trees in private land currently, & may also be possibly the same in the near future even after the Tree Management Office (TMO) is set up. There are outcries to forbid Tree Interference in private land but as the Chief Secretary Office has mentioned, these private trees may be all gone in order to avoid supervision before any 'Tree Laws' can be enacted. To lose these trees before the Tree Laws can save them may defeat the whole purpose to protect them. This is a sad reality in HK indeed.

2. Public education may be the key to prevent further Tree Malpractice. Currently over the air & media, there appears to be more criticism on how the trees are ill-treated than constructive comments on how the trees should be well-treated. Topping is still practiced by many landscapers & management out of ignorance or convenience. Most Govt work would forbid Tree Topping, but what about the private work? How many of our public would understand the harm of Tree Topping, from where & from whom? Is it not a fact of life that trees in HK would fail more easily after incorrect Pruning than before?

As the Station Manager repeated said in his lectures & classes, Pruning will take at least a year to learn & more than a life time to perfect. Pruning is a huge topic concerning Tree Biology & Wind Mechanics, not appearance & survival. Pruning to a tree is equivalent to surgery to a human. What's cut off in a tree can not be nailed back or glued, & a tree would react to any cut with responsive growth. Therefore, Pruning must be performed or supervised by someone knowledgeable in the practical side of Arboriculture, preferably a Field Arborist (FA) or an Independent Practicing Arborist (IPA). If Pruning is to be carried out by any common gardener who would draw an imaginary line & cuts along with it, & then say any Epicormic Sprouting afterward is a sign of 'recovery', the tree will suffer from large wounds & decay development to only requiring replacement at the end. It is always Mother Nature makes the Rules, not anybody.

As for the solution to a lot of our Tree Malpractice in HK, ISA HK/China would look upon the future TMO to correct the situation for us. We have high hope for the TMO to lead HK out of the outdated knowledge of the past to design, install, maintain, inspect, assess & protect our current & future trees to turn HK a healthier & harmonic community to live in.

For this, we shall have faith.

best regards,

Sammy Au
Station Manager

"If a tree is not designed, installed, maintained & inspected properly, it is likely to become a liability rather than an asset."

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

----- Original Message -----
From: xxx

To: Sammy Au
Sent: Tuesday, July 14, 2009 8:36 AM
Subject: Shatin Race Course Tree Topping

Good morning Au Sir,

Some photos regarding tree topping for your information.

Questions here:

1. Any Govt regulations to stop this?

2. What can we do to prevent this in future?

I'll give you a call later.
Have a nice day!

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