August 31, 2016

Mission Mapletree update

Here is a greeting from our tree. For those unfamiliar with the story, here is a small recap:

Right before Christmas we learned that the Metro Company were about to fell a tree on a coming construction site, in Krauseparken on Østerbro. With short notice we managed to halt the felling and gain a few days to move the tree. There were no private takers, so the City took mercy on us and offered a planting site in Fælledparken. The citizens managed to raise the funds in record time, and we had the tree picked up and moved to its new location. Initially we thought it was a mapletree but it turned out to be an American ash tree.

Immediately following the move, insane storms broke out. Several trees around the country fell over, and the same happened to our ash. Only not in the worst way, it was the soil that slid in the hole. The City's park managers attached support straps so the tree gets a chance to grow the all important fine roots that keep it fed and upright.

It grew up in shelter of other trees, but has been relocated on a windy corner, so we just have to wait and see if it manages to establish the roots, before the windy season kicks in. The tree bloomed by the book, but obviously the crown is not completely full, like before the move. We are hoping it will catch up next year.

On the bright side there is no heavy traffic on or near the roots and it is planted in fertile soil, in safe distance from salt. All we asked for, was that the tree was given a chance, and that is what it got.

Look at our sweet tree!

The tree grew behind this fence, and this is what it looks like today.

Hooray for giving the beautiful tree another chance.

Read more about Mission Mapletree here

August 26, 2016

Outcry from Enghavevej

Outcry from a citizen about the trees on Enghavevej. The entire row along the bike lane pictured, are to be felled any day now, for a "Safe School Passage". Does it get any safer than this? Madness!
Foto and tweet Krisandthebike:
What does it take to save the trees? There is still time!

August 13, 2016

A prep-team

At our meeting in spring, with the mayor of trees and his department chief, I suggested that the City implement a prep-team that would prepare, protect and clearly mark trees on building sites. This idea has received strong support from arborists.

Mere recommendations to protect the trees won't cut it. The current instructions are too vague, are not enforced and there are no sanctions for damages to trees. Worst of all, serious damages to the trees can be hidden for decades, before a large tree will suddenly fall, as was the case in the tragic, lethal accident by Fælledparken. With what turned out to be a roadwork-damaged tree.

The City must realize that status quo won't work. They must be willing to acknowledge the problem and look for alternative solutions. Below a picture from the University of Copenhagen on Øster Farimagsgade, where they are currently remaking the entrance.

The old giants are "protected" with flimsy, easily moved fences and plastic string. While digging and pouring a foundation directly in the drip-zone. Maybe they know no better. But the City does, and there is no excuse for turning a blind eye any longer.

Below: Instructions from The Danish Railroad, about working near trees. And two slides from Oliver Bühler of the University of Copenhagen, from the Urban Tree Seminar "Protection of trees in the building process".

From folder to entrepreneurs and builder, (in Danish) "Folder til entreprenører".

Text reads: With big trees (over four meters) digging is not allowed within the drip-zone (directly below the crown) or closer than half the tree-height from the trunk.

July 11, 2016

Alert in Sydhavnen

New alert, this time in Sydhavnen. Where it seems impossible to create a safe school way without felling 34 big trees. Same crew behind the planned massacre in Møllegade on Nørrebro (15 trees).

In other big cities trees are used in a constructive way, to lower the speed and create safe passage for pedestrians and cyclists. In Copenhagen everything is flattened and we are served the classic: "don't worry, we'll replant." No mention of the fact, that the trees subsequently don't survive. Hush, now.


(sign reads)
The tree will be felled.
As a part of project Safe School Way in Sydhavnen we will fell in all 34 trees to create better conditions for cyclists and pedestrians.

We will replant 50 new trees, with better growth conditions, to last many years ahead.

July 3, 2016

Endangered trees by the Parliament

The brutal chunks of granite currently protecting the Parliament, are to be replaced with a different shape. And while they are at it, they have decided to remove the beautiful floor on the square,  Christiansborg Slotsplads. The old cobblestones will be replaced with pale granite, and the ten old trees will be removed. Again, we are told that the trees removed, will be resurrected on the opposite side. Along the canal, where there were once a row of trees. "We'll replant." Oh, sure.

Unbelievable that they haven't instructed the architects, to incorporate the existing trees. Such an easy thing to do!?

June 10, 2016

Inspirational Catalogue

In honor of Copenhagen's brand new Tree Policy, we plan to build a catalogue to inspire our politicians. A page to get acquainted with the best practices of other cities, preserving and protecting the street trees. And preferably set aside the funds to match them. We begin with Paris, shot in April and August.

New trees:
Newly planted trees have g i a n t fenced off cradles, with wild nature. Properly explained on several signs, informing and instructing citizens: mind this space, a tree is about to grow. Once it has settled in, the frame is removed, and the root zone protected with a grill, so the young roots are not suffocated in compressed soil. And naturally a fence is mounted around the trunk.

A beautiful, wild cradle for a newly planted tree. Paris in the August edition.

1: Building the cradle and fence. Then, the planting of the tree and proper signage. Paris in April.

2: Once the tree is settled in, the fence is removed. Paris in April.

3: The sidewalk is partly returned, a guard is placed in the root zone and a fence is mounted around the fragile young bark. Paris in April.

Brand new set up. Paris in April.

Mature trees:
The mature trees are protected as well, against traffic and parked cars. Beautiful, sculpted iron structures, designed to take the beating that would otherwise have caused irreparable damage to the tree.

In this case the grill not only keeps pressure away from the roots, it is also used to mount the parking and traffic guard.

Every other tree are guarded with iron structures, and as we can see the cars are pushing it to the limit. Without the guards, the trees would have been scraped and damaged by opening car doors, etc.

Brilliant grill, allowing for mounting of the car guard without digging in the root zone.

Another design that in this case saved an old plane tree.

Construction work:

It is not up for interpretation where you are allowed to dig and unload heavy objects and machines. Clear and respected boundaries!

In Paris the trees are rightly treated as a part of the infrastructure. As an investment and with great respect. This is what it takes for vulnerable street trees to survive and thrive. Nothing less.

June 6, 2016

The replanting excuse

"Don't worry, we will replant". This is the excuse used every time they fell big, viable street trees in Copenhagen. Usually because it is easier to fell the trees than incorporate them, or because a landowner have big plans for the space underneath them (cough: Carlsberg). Even the city uses that excuse, as we know it from the 15 big trees in Møllegade.

The canopy removed will not resurface in our lifetime. And in many cases trees felled in the urban space, is a permanent removal, as newly planted trees have near impossible conditions for survival. And this is why the life span of a newly planted street tree in Copenhagen is only seven years.

One of the big obstacles is congestion. The soil is so compact that the roots have no chance to settle in, before they succumb. The surrounding area is constantly being dug up and the space is shared with cables, fibres and pipes. The urban trees in Copenhagen enjoy zero protection from traffic and thoughtless behavior, the bark is damaged and the wounds weakens the trees, making them susceptible to rot and fungus. Not to mention how they are systematically salted to death.

By the lakes on Nørrebro a young tree have fought an uneven battle since it was planted in 2014. With zero protection of the small root zone or the trunk. It has survived endless bikes thrown against the bark and even inconsiderately hung election posters, but the final straw was an out of hand street party. The city has informed us that it will be left to wither.

Two years, it survived in the street.

Google streetview from 2014, of the small newly planted tree.

Throwing your bike against a severely wounded tree? Disrespectful!

An unprotected investment. Unworthy of any city.