November 24, 2017

A busted myth

A harmful myth has finally been busted, in the case of the salted lake chestnut trees. We have been fighting a senseless claim that road salt are simply being washed out into the sewer system, without playing a part in the serious health issues of the street trees. Now a journalist have finally done what we hoped for, and investigated the issue, separating claims from facts. Reading up on the 109 page report, of a three-year study in urban de-icing, talking to the Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management as well as the city administration and now we have it in print: Yes, salt is weakening our street trees, and the reason that salt is still used and admittedly weakening the lake chestnuts are solely a question of a lack of funding, to do what is best.

Front-page of Nørrebro Nordvest Bladet this week (Reads: Road salt stressing the lake trees). The article is also printed in Cityavisen.

This is huge! The politicians wanting to help the trees now have evidence to raise a suggestion to fund proper care for the trees. In the meantime we have had a local election and a turn on the green knob, towards a greener representation. The rest of them we will just have to fight so much harder to win over.

The mayor of trees and urban nature will continue on green hands, from next year with Ninna Hedeager Olsen (Ø), who already before the election invited us to a meeting about the tormented chestnut trees, when the unused funds from the budget are divided. The old chestnut trees must be spared salt, either by guarding them or replacing salt with caliumformiat, and the tree care team must be granted the funds for the three-year life prolonging plan in order for our old trees to stay as well as possible for as long as possible.

Here we ask our coming tree mayor (as it later turned out) on Twitter, if the missing funds can be found outside the budget of 2018. Answer: "Yes there is the budget transfer where the budget participants distribute unused funds. Lets meet and discuss the options." Second reply: "Thank you I am happy to meet up with you and learn more. I am new in the Technical and Environmental area - so I have a lot to learn."

The petiton will not be shut down until the trees are safe.

Links to more about the lake chestnuts and caliumformiat:

November 16, 2017

The Urban Tree Award 2017

Once a year the Danish Tree-care Union awards the Urban Tree Award at the University of Copenhagen: "An accolade for an extraordinary effort provided to secure- protect- or provide information about urban trees." Usually it is awarded hard-hitting pioneers and last year a city district, but this year they have bestowed the great honor upon Save the Urban Trees (Red Byens Træer, as we are called in Danish).

For: "Persistantly fighting to preserve valuable tree plantings in Greater Copenhagen and by this contributing to alert citizens to the value of urban trees in the local environment."

One of the city's gardeners approached me in the intermission with these words: "I don't think you quite grasp how big this is? This is the highest honor!" Slowly it sinks in. A heartfelt thank you to the Danish Tree-care Union for making such a brave and controversial choice, an invaluable support in the fight to save the urban trees. I promise that our movement will not rest on its laurels!


November 3, 2017

A piece of good news

Here is a piece of good news to start the weekend. The Winter Service stated that it is not possible to just mirror the cost of using caliumformiat on one side, to the other, so we asked them two questions: what then is the added cost of switching from salt to the safe alternative, and is it possible to include the loop by Fredensbro to the protective route, where seven old trees are currently skipped with catastrophical consequences?

The answer arrived today: The added cost for caliumformiat, for an average winter on the road side, is 85.500 kr. These funds must be added, otherwise it would entail taking the gentle solution from nature reserves (which no one wants). And then it is noted that switching to caliumformiat won't magically change that the trees are troubled by pavement and various diseases (which naturally no one believes).

And now for the good news: The Winter Service estimates that the loop makes such a small addition that it will be included in the protective route.

This could mean the difference between life and death for the seven old trees, so big that you can't even reach around them in a hug (yep, it's been tested). Granted there are still salt accumulated in the soil, but in time it will wash out. We can only hope that we made it in time. Now we just need the old tree closest to the heavy traffic on Fredensgade protected from street salting (if all else fails, we will do it ourselves).

Oh, this is just so good!

Probably the one spot in the city where the difference between salt and caliumformiat is most obvious.

 Latest picture.


Correspondance with the Winter Service about salt

Mail to Vibeke Vedel from the Winter Service and Service Chief in the City Maintenance Jon Pape, from Save the Urban Trees Oct. 20 2017.

Dear Vibeke and Jon,

Greetings form Save the Urban Trees, as we have in horror observed the development of the trees along the lakes that are still salted. This goes for the road side and the spot on the lucky side, by Fredensbro, where the caliumformiat route skips and the salt sets in. I have attached pictures and illustrations. I don't think this is done in evil, but because there is a lack of understanding of exactly how much damage is done by salting these exact stretches. The salt is not just flushed out into the sewer system, but rather accumulated in the soil, causing the trees immense damage. Several arborists have inspected the trees that are still salted and they all agree that is causing severe damage.

This is why we will attempt to make the politicians grant the funds needed for including the remaining lake trees to the caliumformiat route. In the hopes that we can keep our old trees a little longer.

Two questions:
What is the added cost of sparing the road side trees from salt?
Is it possible to add the loop* by Fredensbro to the caliumformiat route?

Kind regards
Sandra Høj
Save the Urban Trees

*The loop = See attached pictures of the stretch by Fredensbro.








Reply from the Winter Service, November 3rd 2017.

Dear Sandra Høj

Thank you for the inquiry of Oct. 20 2017 regarding the cost of using caliumformiat on Søgade-side along the lakes and the loop by Fredensbro.

The bike lane stretch along Søgade-side, where we are today using salt is approx. 8.550 m2. In the event that we need to use caliumformiat over salt it means an added cost of approx. 85.500 kr per season for an average winter (50 calls). Should we face a hard winter the m2 cost for the use of both salt and caliumformiat be doubled.

We have assessed the possibility of adding the loop to our caliumformiat route. As we are talking about a very smalle stretch, we find that this can be done. Which is why in the future we will spread caliumformiat by the Fredensbro loop.

As Jon Pape wrote you in a reply dated January 19 2017, we have been added funds so we can use caliumformiat on selected stretches. Here we have prioritized the use of caliumformiat where there is a special need for nature protection. We have not used caliumformiat on the stretches you are referring to here. Should we use caliumformiat on stretches like for example the Søgade-side, where we are today using salt, it would entail that we either reprioritise the stretches where we are today using caliumformiat, or it will mean an added cost to switch. As such, the distribution depends on further funding to finance the reorganization. It is worth noting that even if we were to switch to caliumformiat on the Søgade-side, the trees along the lakes are still facing hard living circumstances, due to disease and road work over time, affecting the roots, which switching to caliumformiat won't fix.

Again thank you for getting in touch.

Kind regards

Vibeke Vedel
Center for Bydækkende Drift
Byens Drift
Teknik- og Miljøforvaltningen