An Arborist chatroom


I’ve read treeworker sites for months now. The first one I looked at shocked me. I hadn’t realised how into chainsaws arborists are. On treeworld which ‘provides an international arborist’s forum for discussion and information about trees with industry experts’ a large proportion of the avatars members use are either people men chopping down huge trees or holding  chainsaws. 

People have to earn a living and I’m sure there’s little money in looking after trees and only slightly more money in writing reports on trees. So that leaves chopping bits of tree off or whole trees down. Which explains the avatars.

There are some scary posts on the treeworld site. Dirty Tricks by Brisbane Council is one of them. It’s a story about a customer with a block of land dotted with trees. He wanted to remove some of them to build a shed and a tennis court. One corner of the block had a protected waterway. When he applied to council to remove some of the trees they applied a tree protection order to the whole block. Not surprisingly he was quite cheesed off.

 The comments are mostly angry ones bagging the council officer who did this, but there are a couple of brave people defending council’s action. The worst advice was:

‘Poison time methinks, lets see the council refuse to remove a dead and dangerous tree.’

A US member wrote:

‘Good god but the crappy trees that people save around here. As an experienced arborist and silviculturalist, I am sorry to say that far too many trees these days in urban and suburban environments, as well as natural ones are protected that simply should not be protected.

‘In many cases they should be dropped and replanted. That is my opinion after years of cruising old growth stands in the PNW and doing a lot of tree stand management and tree work here and in California.

 ‘Any idiot can plant a tree, regardless of where it came from, or how well it will grow. That does not mean that those trees should be allowed to grow, or be protected by some sweeping city laws and local councils barring cutting of any and all trees, as is the case in the suburbs around here.

‘In my view that is pure BS, and when the next October Storm comes through here there are going to be a lot of dead bodies piled up and a huge amount of damage to structures of all types, because way too many stands of poorly sourced trees have been allowed to grow and are protected by the tree fanatics around here. And in many cases, these trees are invasive species that simply do not belong in the American west (thank you Oz, you can have all of these phuking eucs back).’

Here’s what treeworld would call a treehugger speaking:

‘As a Council tree Officer I have been responsible for 1000’s of trees on public land each one supposedly my responsibility. Many I have had to take out because or condemn because of irresponsible past pruning construction etc. Now is the time for TREE PROTECTION. THE TREES WERE HERE BEFORE US!!!!! Remember it is buyer beware. Anybody who buys land with trees on it with the idea that they can just remove them at will is in my opinion very foolhardy. WE HAVE DONE ENOUGH ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE. There is plenty of free and open land available that allows for the placement of a shed, there are plenty of engineering concepts and techniques that allow us to redesign around trees.

GOLDEN RULE: If you don’t like trees or want them out just to build something (different story if they are structurally defective or diseased or have grown post construction) THEN FIND ANOTHER BLOCK and leave that one to the people who cares for trees. Sorry GUYS but on this I have to disagree the new standards AS4970:2009 Protection of trees on development sites in the first tool modern arborists have been given in Aus. to help retain trees and reduce construction impacts.

‘Which is what true tree care is about and here are a couple of industry professionals now saying what a load of rubbish it is that we can’t remove them whenever we want where ever we not.’

The same person says, ‘It would be good if trained professionals would start to inform their clients of the value the trees have as opposed to just being client focused and siding with them on every occasion.’

 One’ treehugger’ was referred by the administrator to a post called ‘Tree nazis’ . A great comment from that is

‘one thing that stands out like a BIG SORE THUMB is the tree huggers commandeering other peoples rights, unelected, not voted upon and mandated with some prima facie agenda for the common good.’

One interesting post about public liability and death by tree is about bush or forest trees but shows the courts can be sensible about tree risk and the difficulty minimising this.

It’s certainly not a totally scary website and I have read some very nice posts about protecting koala habitat trees and helping people save their trees from development on their boundary and so on.

And off arborists here are a few bits and pieces:

There are lots of people who like the apparent empowerment of being able to leave an online comment on a news article. I wrote about this once before. Comments are often harsh and bizarrely conservative, all probably helped by the fact that they’re usually anonymous.

So it was heartening to read in the Sydney Morning Herald that a US newspaper has banned anonymous comments:

Rem Rieder, editor of the American Journalism Review, welcomed the move by the Buffalo News, which coincided with a column he wrote in the latest edition of the magazine calling for an end to anonymous comments.

“The opportunity to launch brutal assaults from the safety of a computer without attaching a name does wonders for the bravery levels of the angry,” Rieder said.

And in Goondiwindi where the council took out some street fig trees the heat of public opinion appears to have melted the hearts of decision-makers:

THE Goondiwindi Regional Council is using state-of-the-art recycling to save some of Goondiwindi’s most loved trees.

GRC Deputy-Mayor was highlighting the “tree-saving” efforts of the council after it came under attack for cutting down fig trees in McLean Street. “The fact is we don’t want to cut down trees, and we won’t if we can,” he said.

The GRC is about to spend $96,000 on footpaths along Bowen Street from Herbert Street to the hospital. It will include a “floating” section made out of more than 80,000 recycled milk bottle caps.

They will be used to save a number of fig trees. “By using the floating footpaths we won’t have to cut out the roots of the trees which would make them unsafe.

It will cost Council (and ratepayers) more but we understand how important these trees are to residents,” Cr Kearney said.

He said the damage the Mclean Street trees were causing to kerb and guttering, gardens, roads and powerlines was too great.

The Councillor Information Session on  Laman Street-Civic Precinct finally has a date. It’s Tuesday 27th July 2010 at 5:30pm in the Hunter Room and goes for an hour. Put it in your diary. See you there.


And news just to hand:

Visit the Super Colon

The super colon is a large interactive blow up colon that visitors can walk through to have a better understanding of bowel pathology.

Date:       Monday 5 July till Friday 9 July 2010

Venue:   John Hunter Hospital- Royal Newcastle Foyer

Time:     from 8am till 5pm Daily 

Who said there’s nothing to do in Newcastle?                             Home



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5 Responses to “An Arborist chatroom”

  1. Ali Says:

    Thanks agin for the updates. Unfortunate about the aborist mentality of some! I love the concept of a floating path! ( oh & a blow up colon 🙂

  2. Jordan M Says:

    Take comfort knowing that the lads (usually) who don’t believe in government or municipal intervention in tree matters are part of an old guard that are working or injuring themselves out of “the industry.”

    It’s a bad “jock” mentality they have and show, usually created by the excitement created in tree removal (it _is_ exciting) and the money attached to the work, not to mention how fun it is to play with your toys (or chainsaws as the case is).

    Next time you cruise through the forums, sign up and comment. They are there for everyone.

    Great post on the matter!

  3. Gary Freeman Says:

    Just a thought on a safe way to test the figs structural integrity is to sling a 1000 litre water bag over the suspect branch and pump water into it from the council water truck. So your hanging a 1 tonne load a predetermined distance from the trunk calculate downwardforce created, determine safe load factor, using branch diameter,flexibity, known strengths etc. Test the tree and pump the water back into the tanker. I’m not an engineer, but you can see where I’m going. It’s just a thought,may be of some use, anyway its great to see the big effort going in to save the figs. Cheers and good luck.

  4. ross Says:

    I am pretty certain my neighbour has killed my beautiful 20 m gum tree in lambton. He has applied to council for its removal without success and sent threatening letters.
    There are penalties for this but how to prove who did it?
    It will cost me a lot of money to remove it. I call this a criminal act (destruction of property).
    The police showed little interest.
    He is just VERY lucky i didnt catch him in the act….

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