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.

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