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.