Life Life

02/02/2022 - 07:17

The green in the city of heritage

With the ratio of 12.9m2 of trees/person, Hue is honored as the "National Green City". To build that green brand, there are silent and touching stories about the life of trees and people.

“Ancient” nacre tree blown down due to the storm at the end of 2020 has revived

The “ancient” nacre tree has revived

At the end of 2020, consecutive storms that hit Hue city blew down more than 5,000 trees. "Witnessing a series of green trees that are jubilantly green, scattered in a moment, it was heartbreaking." Mr. Dang Ngoc Quy - Deputy Director of Hue Green Park Center was close to tear recalling painful images exactly one year ago.

After the storm, Hue people were shocked to hear that the nacre tree No. 13, one of the largest ancient trees in Hue, along with many other green trees in the city - had been knocked down.

Although they were determined to save the “ancient” nacre tree at all costs, the Board of Directors of Hue Green Park Center also considered the worst outcome. If the tree could not survive, its wooden trunk would be used as a material for a sculpture competition. That work, when completed, will be displayed in an appropriate space for Hue people to commemorate.

A year later, in early November 2021, when we returned to visit the tree, we were stunned seeing the new position on the banks of the Perfume River, the “ancient” nacre tree appeared, proud as a warrior. On the muscular trunk with the bandage still intact, the first bunches of young green leaves are coming back to life.

An excellent teacher and expert on trees, Mr. Do Xuan Cam is one of the many Hue people who has quietly watched the tree. Witnessing the journey to life of the “ancient” nacre tree, he said, “the tree was initially revived thanks to three factors: the internal power of the tree; the weather in late winter and early spring is the first favorable condition for the tree to be planted; and thanks to the proper assurance of professional processes when pruning branches, moving, taking care of...”

Recalling the tree's revival journey, Deputy Director of Hue Green Park Center - Dang Ngoc Quy said that when the "consultation" took place, seeing that the tree's roots were not damaged too much, the hope of survival was ignited. However, how the tree produced new leaves was an arduous journey.

From how to move the tree so that it would not be damaged, its bark would not be peeled off to choosing a new location to place the tree, which had to be suitable, and avoid waterlogging. It was also about wrapping the whole tree trunk to keep moisture in the hot summer.

The most experienced officers and employees were also sent to take care of the tree, from keeping the soil around the roots to be permanently porous and moist enough; adjusting the appropriate amount of water for irrigation depending on the weather of each day, each season. Then they had to fertilize, treat mold, heal wounds in roots and amputated branches…

With all that effort, along with the ancient nacre tree, 3,000 of more than 5,000 fallen and damaged trees after the storms at the end of 2020 in Hue City were saved. Nearly 2,000 remaining trees, which could not be saved, were also replaced. Looking at the peaceful streets shaded by trees, instead of the desolation precisely one year after the storm, the people who work to keep trees for Hue City said: It was a whole reconstruction.

“Finding the pulse” for the tree

We met Mr. Le Thong Tinh - Deputy of Technical Department (Hue Green Park Center) on a mid-winter day, when he and his associates were cutting branches for an ancient nacre tree around 100 years old in front of the Imperial Citadel.

"In the winter, when the tree is asleep, it's time for us to cut the tree and branches. In the harsh weather in Hue, trees must be cut off branches and carefully cared for to minimize damage caused by natural disasters." Mr. Tinh said, in the sound of saw machine resounding down from the specialized ladder carrying sawers that were close to the top of the nacre tree.

A sizeable rotten branch was cut off when the saw blade deepened, revealing a large wound. On the cut still oozes resin, the "doctors" carefully rubs the waterproof glue with chemicals against fungi, mold, bacteria, insects ..., helping the tree heal quickly. Grown since the French colonial period, this is one of 600 precious old trees preserved and cared for in Hue City.

Graduated in horticulture (Hue University of Agriculture and Forestry) and then joined the Hue Green Park Center, Mr. Le Thong Tinh has been working for it for more than 20 years in the profession of "finding the pulse" of plants. “The knowledge learned in school is very meager. Entering the profession, we mainly self-study from reality, from the experiences of our seniors," Mr. Tinh shared about the job.

To take care of and protect more than 65,000 trees in Hue City, Hue Green Park Center has arranged two specialized teams with dozens of employees in charge of the North and South banks of the Perfume River. Every day, there are always from 2 to 4 staff members in charge of looking over all the trees on the streets.

"Under the harsh, hot, humid, and rainy weather of Hue, trees often face many diseases. The most common are worms, planthoppers, aphids, fungi, molds, ants, termites, wood-eaters... " Mr. Tinh shared.

With their experience, the "doctors" detect the pulse of the tree through unusual signs. When the leaves are "sad" and drooping, we know that the plant is suffering at the roots. When the trunk is covered with fungus, it is a sign of damaged and rotten stems.

You also have to be alert to detect pests, ants, termites, etc.. to promptly prescribe and load drugs. If the disease is mild, we only have to clean and pump disinfectant, killing insects and pests. In severe cases, "surgery" includes cutting damaged branches, healing trees... However, every year, the whole city still has 500-800 trees that cannot be cured due to illness and old age, requiring replacement.

“The whole unit currently has 285 officers and employees, in which the work of planting, taking care of and protecting urban trees gathers a lot of effort and human resources. The job requires deep expertise, perseverance and experience. The employees have to listen, understand, take care of trees with a heart full of loves for trees and the profession," Deputy Director Dang Ngoc Quy opens up about his quiet work and colleagues, in order to keep the fresh and green color for Hue Ancient Capital - a heritage city in which green trees have become a precious part of Hue's heritage.

On June 28, 2016, Hue was the first city to be awarded the "National Green City" by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). With more than 64,000 street trees, exceeding the standard of green trees for a grade 1 urban city, Hue City is the urban center with the highest density of trees in the country, approximately 12.9m2/person, not to mention trees in home gardens, nursery gardens, office trees, trees in the system of monuments and landscape forests.

Story: Kim Oanh. Photo: Phan Thanh

Share