July 30, 2017

Come on, Copenhagen!

Shared by a citizen. Come on, Copenhagen. We can do this!

June 23, 2017

A plea for the old plane

Mailed to investors and responsible for the felling, FH Management, Friday June 23, 2017. and

Dear Michael and Flemming,

Thank you for a nice phone conversation, Michael. As agreed upon, here is a mail with a little more information.

My name is Sandra Hoj and I am the founder of the fast growing citizen's movement Red Byens Træer. Our focus is on limiting the loss of urban trees and finding better ways to protect them. This is achieved by keeping a good dialogue with among others the city, politicians, professionals, developers and citizens. One of our milestones were the implementation of a Tree Policy in the city of Copenhagen.

Wednesday the Copenhageners were chocked to learn that the old plane, located on the land between Søllerødgade and Nørrebrogade, were being cut down. It is one of the area's last of this size. It was said that the city had ordered it because of the sewer, but the city denied such an order. The city have not demanded or even recommended such an action. The park manager is distraught as well. As we midway through the felling exposed doubt that this action was even called for, we contacted Kaj Thougaard and asked if we could have a little time to find a possible alternative, and saving the tree.

This time was granted on the condition that we pay for the cost of delaying the felling. The tree team corrected the cuts so the tree will be able to survive in the current condition. Plane trees are tough so our park manager for the area is optimistic about its prospects, should we be so lucky that you take mercy on it.

Kaj arrived on the spot and provided the contact information to the plummer Gravmand in Birkerød, who had inspected the sewer lines with TV. Here Steen Andersen explained the problem: that the leaking lines attract the roots, so they enter. Asked if there is a solution that would spare the old tree, he told us that cleaning the lines from the inside and then lining them, is a viable option. A quick estimate/worst case scenario was 47.000 DKR plus moms. He called the solution good and lasting.

I don't know what kind of expense you have calculated by exchanging the pipes? The felling alone is 22.000 DKR. We are happy to fight for the funding of the difference in cost. It can't be money standing in the way for the solution that would allow the old tree to survive.

The old plane tree is dearly loved. Not just by the neighbours and the children in the adjoining kindergarten and playground, but by all Copenhageners. Nature experts mourn the imminent loss of biodiversity and fauna, which also affects the animal life. The value of a beautiful old tree can be measured on so many levels. And can't be replaced in less that 100+ years.

I hope this was not too long. And hereby plead with you to take mercy on the old tree and let it live.

Kind regards
Sandra Høj
Red Byens Træer

June 21, 2017

200 year old tree in danger on Nørrebro

This morning a citizen's alert sounded on Nørrebro: In a backyard between Søllerødgade and Nørrebrogade, they began cutting down one of the last big yard trees in the area, the 200 year old plane tree. At first word was that it was by request of the city, due to rats in the sewer system. The neighbours contacted the city and was told in uncertain terms, that the city had neither recommended nor demanded the fellling of the old tree.

We arrived up at the scene, got in contact with the land owner and explained that there may have been a miscommunication, asking if we could have some time to try and save the tree. The only way that was going to happen was if we agreed to pay for the delay. A sum that could amount to 10.000 DKR. It was that, or the felling would continue. The undersigned agreed, under pressure (and he wanted that in writing, so here you are).

The city
The park manager were equally distraught to see the tree cut down, but as it is on private property, the city has not allowed itself any say in the matter. The tree team was hired to cut down the tree, remove it and grind down the roots. They stopped the felling and adjusted the cuts so the tree has a chance to survive.

The problem
The land owner showed up and reported that it was not the city but the sewer company that had recommended felling. We called him up. It turns out that the sewer is leaking, and the water deprived tree seeks towards the pipes and enter them. This has been established by TV equipment in the pipes. But is felling the only solution? No.

The solution
It turns out that the problem can be solved in a far less invasive way, by sewer lining: clearing out the roots from the inside and lining it to prevent leaking. It is a real alternative and compared to the cost of felling not even that much more expensive. It has simply not been prioritized. Land owner and investor have just chosen the shortest way from A to B, at no time taken into consideration how incredibly valuable this tree is to neighbours, the kindergarten and the coming inhabitants of their newly built real estate. The area is extremely dense with very few green patches and trees.

What is next?
The felling is temporarily put to a halt. We have very little time to hear the neighbours in the adjoining buildings if they would be ready to pay the difference, in lining the sewer on this short stretch. Worst case it would cost 47.000 plus moms. It they agree it is up to the land owner and his investors if they are willing to meet the neighbours halfway and agree to the alternative.
If they decline we need to fund the 10.000 DKR for delaying the felling. But there is no reason why this tree should not survive. It has been cut, but it is still alive and will be able to live for a long time. With a little help.

To be continued.

Young boy from the kindergarten looking on from the spot where the children used to nap outside in the shade of the tree.

Blackbird inspecting the damage from the spot where neighbours say it sings the sun down at the exact same time every night.

So a water deprived plane tree makes a dent in the floor. We will survive, don't you think?

June 19, 2017

Update on Mission Mapletree

Greetings from the citizen's rescued American ash tree that was in the path of a metro construction site. Initially we all thought it was a maple three, hence the name of the mission. By coming together the citizens managed to fund the move in record time, and the tree was transplanted in Fælledparken.

A move made possible by the funds collected from citizens and the coordinated effort by the gardener, the gravel company and the tree mover. The city took mercy on us and provided the soil in Fælledparken, where the crown today is full and much more dense than last year. The roots seem to have gotten a good grip.

As it grew up in the shelter of bigger trees and have been moved to a windy spot, support straps have been attached. Once they are removed, we will see if it can survive on its own. Our beautiful tree.

Read more about Mission Mapletree here (link).

June 1, 2017

A syrup guard

At last year's Distortion (street party) Nørrebro lost two young trees. One was completely broken, the other halfway so. They were both replaced. This time we reminded the city about the risk for these exact trees in the very epicentre of the party. Hoping they would learn from the past and take steps to protect them in some way. But alas.

You sort of knew though, which is why the trees in an improvised measure, were covered in sticky syrup. In the hope that this would deter people from grabbing the trunk and breaking it. There is no knowing if it made a difference, but today both trees were still alive. And on the support strap on one of the trees were a lead to how the last one died: a heavy print of a shoe. Apparently, people climb the support pole, balance on the strap and use the tree for support. All it takes is poor balance, for a heavy person to take the tree with them in the fall, thereby breaking it. Mystery solved.

Why is it that the city refuse to learn from past behavior? When we all know which trees are most exposed? So frustrating!

Pictures of last year's damages and this year's syrup guard.

April 5, 2017

Sneak peek at Møllegade

The square on the corner of Møllegade and Guldbergsgade is almost ready. Thousands of citizens have fought for the trees we have left, at with that an addition of young trees, instead of the planned tile and gravel. We have lost an unbearable amount of old trees. A leaf mass and biodiversity that will not reappear at the same place in our lifetime. But with the many new trees one can only hope that the corner one day will become an oasis for the next generation of Copenhageners.

Møllegades beautiful harbinger of spring, the mirabelle tree, is abloom.

The swapping shed, where the three ash trees stood.

 The island in the center is for the new trees at the right of the picture.

The new, young ones. Fingers crossed they will feel at home here.

 A decent size. Welcome to Nørrebro. <3

The shed that just couldn't be moved back from the wall, to spare three ash trees.

Parts of the old wall have been preserved and made into benches. A good way to spare the trees. The less the soil around the trees are disturbed, the better.

It's spriiiiing!

Previous posts, two plus years of fighting for the Møllegade trees:

Read this and the posts above in Danish, on the mother blog here: Red Byens Træer.

March 25, 2017

A blowjob

This coming Monday, the city will decide if Carlsberg will be granted the right to fell nine trees worth preserving. Of the nine, three of them are to be felled for a trailer park, and another six are adjacent to an area for supply lines for a new building. Digging for this can cause fatal damage to trees, but there is an alternative that is used in other cities: vacuuming. Instead of digging, the soil is vacuumed away. A method that is gentle to existing pipes, wires and tree roots.

In the hope of saving the six trees that Carlsberg is expected to get permission to fell, we have collected photo documentation and links about the method, the machine and one of the companies working with vacuuming of soil in Denmark.

Veg Tech:
Veg Tech is a Danish company working with products and systems for a greener urban environment. Here is an excerpt of a mention of urban trees and the vacuuming technique. From Stads- og Haveingeniøren 2004 (!):

Lifesaving of urban trees:
Roots and tree crowns are frequently found in conflict with different wires and pavements. To protect the well established urban trees, the city of Malmö is leading the way by avoiding use of conventional excavators withing the drip zone of the trees and by replacing the soil in the top of the root net on unthriving existing trees and who after this improvement of the growth condition can be brought back to thriving again. The existing and often compacted soil is removed by a vacuuming technique and replaced with skeleton soil with a lasting but more open and root friendly structure.

And then this: the technique is well known in the city of Copenhagen!

The vacuum technique have been used to remove polluted soil from playgrounds in the boroughs of Copenhagen and Frederiksberg, and as such contributed to spare big trees and hedges from possible fatal lesions as it has been the case in other similar projects.

The machine was mentioned in Dagens Byggeri in 2009, "Blowjob til undergrunden" (an excerpt):

Why must work in soil be done with a shovel? At the Silkeborg firm Fli-Dan they operate with a different concept: vacuuming.

Since September last year the company have solved soil transportation jobs with their multi vacuumer BigBlow. The system is particularly useful on the so-called critical places where there are many pipes and wires underground, and where access is needed to a specific wire without disturbing the others.

"Much more gentle than a shovel on an excavator could ever be."

One must remember that we are up against a heavy force. Up until now we have only used excavators to dig in the soil, but it was the same when the mini excavator first surfaced. In the beginning no one saw a use for it, but today all entrepreneurs have one, says Steen Andersen.
If this method can spare the six trees on Carlsberg, it should be used. Preferably the city would condition it happened. If Carlsberg is allowed to fell the six trees, we will still contact them and introduce them to the tree sparing option.

Thank you to Britt Hjerl Abildtrup for the many inputs on this matter.

Links (all in Danish):

March 24, 2017

Alert on Carlsberg, again!

Carlsberg is up to felling again. This Monday the city (TMU) must decide if dispensation can be given to fell another nine trees deemed worth preserving. Six lining a road and tree in a garden, that they want to transform into a container city. One of the trees they are asking permission to fell, is the first one in the picture below:

A giant!

More information can be found (in Danish) in the TMU agenda, available online.

Satellite image of the last green spot. Now in danger of being demolished.

And an excerpt from the appendix of TMU's agenda.

The nine trees worth preserving that they want permission to fell (encircled). The all red dots are trees worth preserving where felling has already been granted. The all green dots are felled too, but are to be replanted. Translated: They have been allowed to fell almost everything, and now they want another nine.

The last six trees are to be felled due to digging work nearby. This can be done with care, without felling, as is best practice in eg. Stockholm. But then again it is much easier to just fell and replant another tree.

The request is worded as an ultimatum: if they are not allowed to fell another nine trees it will significantly delay the project and cost will go up. We can only hope that the city of Copenhagen is done throwing itself on Carlsberg's feet. Enough is enough!

Thank you to Miljøpunkt Nørrebro for the alert.

Link (in Danish):

March 10, 2017

Planting bed protection

Here are a few fresh examples from the city of Aarhus, showing how to protect trees from things like urine, salt and bike parking. So simple and so constructive.

Can we test this concept on the most stressed trees in Copenhagen?

February 17, 2017

A forest city

The Guardian investigates air pollution around the world. More than 5.5 million people worldwide are dying prematurely every year, as a result of air pollution. 540 of those are Copenhageners.

Trees not only creates oxygen, they also absorb the urban dust and the life threatening micro-particles attacking our lungs. Threes *must* be incorporated in the cities and China is currently preparing to build the world's first forest city.

So incredibly exciting!

February 16, 2017

A protected tree in Lisbon

This is how you protect a tree on a construction site in Lisbon. The ENTIRE space below the crown of the tree is fenced off, preventing damages to the root zone. And then the most amazing thing: a custom made welded iron fence covered in wire netting, to keep cranes away. Mind blowing!

January 13, 2017

Urine damages up close

The purpose of this movement has always been to identify the reason that we are losing our urban trees, and subsequently work to minimize the damages. No department and no one person is sacred, in our search to learn how to better protect our trees.

Now it turns out there is something we do ourselves that damage the most vulnerable trees: peeing on them. One wonders why no one have talked about this before. That it takes the death of two giant old trees, succumbing to the strain of years of relentless urination.

We are not talking about random drips but rather certain exposed trees, systematically being soaked year in and year out at the exact same spot. This was the case by the two 100 year old linden trees by the Round Tower, felled this week. Their bark porous and bleached by ammonia damages all the way into the cambium, in the peeing-zone. This has been weakening the trees to the degree where they were no longer able to sustain the branches with life, or keep rot, fungus and disease away.

Once you know that urine is bad for trees, you stop subjecting them to it. Simple as that. The discussions about lack of public toilets, belong elsewhere. Nor is this an attack on men, as none of us up until now even knew how damaging this was. The information was lacking.

By the Round Tower there is one younger tree left, already showing signs of urine damages, so we need to come together to find a solution to protect that and the rest of the urine-endangered trees. This is especially urgent once we enter the summer months. Do we need small fences? Controlled ivy? Signs? We need to solve this ugly problem. If we put our heads together, we can do it.

Here are pictures of the urine damages to the newly felled linden trees by the Round Tower. Plus a cropped piece of an article about (dog)urine damages on trees, explaining the process.

From an article about damages from dog urine, in CityLab 2012. Even they had a hard time finding documentation on the subject, despite the fact that it is a huge problem for urban trees. It is about time we talk about this. 

You may be reading this from another part of the world. Do you have similar problems where you live? And if so, how do you go about protecting the trees? If you have any ideas about how to prevent this kind of damages, please leave a comment, or drop us a line. The urban trees need all the help they can get.

January 12, 2017

A follow-up on the urine damages

A follow-up on the urine damaged trees on TV Lorry. In which the tree care specialist illustrate exactly how large amounts of urine affects our urban trees. The sample just arrived for documentation, we'll get to that tomorrow.

Link to Lorry story here.

PS! Lorry heard about this because of a citizens alert, so cool that we all keep an eye out for our trees!

January 10, 2017

Death by urine for two 100 year old linden trees

Two 100 year old linden trees were felled today, due to weakening by a massive amount of urine that made them unsafe in a storm. Urine damages are a big problem for the urban trees, and men even urinate on the newly planted trees with the slow release watering bags. Disgusting behavior! These bags are handled by tree care specialists, it is just unacceptable to urinate on them.

We need to talk about how we interact with trees. Tomorrow we will get a slice of one of the newly felled trees, for documentation, so we can get close and see exactly how bad the bark is damaged by urine.


Link to TV Lorry: here