Baumschutzinitiative Hannover

Datum=06.06.1996; Quelle=HAZ; Ressort=STAN;
  Überschrift=Platane_geht_es_an_die_Wurzeln; Name=GEORGENGARTEN;
GEORGENGARTEN / Forest guard Julia Hamann worried about road construction

Plane tree gets it in the roots

The Georgengarten is to get back its original appearance as country park according to English models. What is a goal worth aspiring to for city administration and politicians, is a questionable enterprise to Julia-Gertraud Hamann, honorary field and forest guard of the City of Hanover.

If the road network would be changed back to its original historical models, 13 trees would be considerably damaged, she argues. This would be especially the case with a plane tree that is about 200 years old. The new way would lead directly past it; intrusions to the roots would be unavoidable,  damage to the tree highly likely.

Between the plane tree and an oak-tree nearby not less mighty, the sensitive bale of roots of the trees have been touched by the road works. In order not to damage the plants, the works would have needed to be carried out with utmost car. According to Hamann, the city had agreed to let the work progress only gradually and to be particularly careful in the sensitive areas. This agreement has allegedly been ignored by the workers on location. The connection between the forecourt of the museum and the road running parallel to it has already been completed. The site manager argued that it was necessary to close this gap in order to be better able to transport building material to the building site. “We cannot stop in the middle of the distance.”

Thus, the forest guard had to face a fait accompli. On Friday, the soil above the roots had already been levelled down, at least carefully with shovels. Parts of the roots lay open, mostly smaller branches which are cut through in the course of the work. Thicker roots will disappear under the new road. Julia Hamann is now afraid that the two old trees will suffer damage in the long run. Not only the roots, but also the branches arching over the road would need to be pruned. The open cuts could lead to fungus attack; in some years the tree could be so ill that it could not be save and would fall victim to the lumberjack’s axe - likely consequences of the road construction.

This view is shared by Herbert Schwarzrock, parson of the Luther Church parish, who argues that this risk is run on behalf of a completely superfluous striving for historical exactness. Visitors of the park do not care whether the road they walk on corresponds exactly to 19th Century plans. If the road would run ten meters to the east, the view at the two tree giants would be much more impressive, and the trees would not be touched by the road works, he claims. “For people walking in the park, this would mean much more enjoyment”, Schwarzrock emphasises.

The city administration as until yet not lent an ear to Ms Hamann’s complaints. Since December of last year, she has been trying to prevent the change-over of the roads - in vain. Petitions to the subordinate Nature Protection authorities have been just as futile letters to Mayor Herbert Schmalstieg and  the Minister for Environment Protection of Lower Saxony, Monika Griefahn. According to Kaspar Klaffke, head of the Department for Green Areas and Horticulture (DGAH), the fears of Ms Hamann, who lives in the Nordstadt, are unfounded anyway. He argues that the walkways had been planned in such a way that damages would be avoided. “We do everything we can”, Klaffke stresses. The trees are not impaired in their vitality. Where horticultural work is done decently, there is no need to be afraid of belated consequences. vo
  (c) 1993 Verlagsgesellschaft Madsack

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