1. GA-English

Culprits take chainsaw to trees: Damaged trees on the river shore in Mehlem will not survive

Culprits take chainsaw to trees : Damaged trees on the river shore in Mehlem will not survive

Culprits caused irreparable damage to a 60-year old and an 85-year-old tree at the riverside in Mehlem, using a chainsaw. Residents who heard the loud noise reported it to the city.

Nobody knows exactly when it happened - probably it was a nighttime operation in the cover of darkness. Culprits damaged two stately old trees on the riverbank in Mehlem. The damage is so severe that the trees cannot be rescued. As reader Peter Stünkel and another man reported separately to the GA, these are two large trees near the Senior Center Steinbach - at the end of Rüdigerstraße. Both had been cut into all the way around the circumference with chainsaws. "It is simply unbelievable that people do something like this," said Stünkel.

Dieter Fuchs, head of the Office for Urban Parks, is astonished because the loud chainsaw must have been clearly audible. Indeed, the city was informed of the incident. "We were made aware of it by a citizen who sent an e-mail on September 30," said Kristina Buchmiller of the city press office in response to an inquiry. An American oak with a trunk circumference of 2.23 meters and a honey locust tree with a trunk circumference of 2.03 meters were affected. After a look at the tree register of the city, Fuchs found out that the oak is estimated to be 85 years old. The tree, also called red oak, is native to North America. When harvested, the hard wood is used in the furniture industry, in boat building and for ties in railway construction. The honey locust tree on the Rhine is around 60 years old. It originated in eastern North America and grows to a height of 20 meters.

The bark was cut up to a width of about three centimeters, deep into the sapwood, with a chain saw. "Both trees were completely cut through. As a rule, (a tree) with such damage can no longer recover," said Buchmiller. The supply of nutrients to the trees from the roots is located directly beneath the bark. "The rest of the tree only serves for stability", explained Fuchs. It goes relatively fast with the dying off. His staff would then see how stable the two trees still are - this is now checked several times a week. As soon as it becomes dangerous, the trees have to be felled.

For the city it is both a major violation of its tree protection statutes and damage to public property. For this reason, a complaint had been filed.

"These are only isolated cases", Fuchs said about the vandalism of trees in the city. From time to time, people might feel disturbed in their view of the Siebengebirge mountains, for example. Suddenly a tree is gone. But he assures that replacements are planted in such cases. This also applies to the two splendid trees in Mehlem, when they no longer exist.

Orig. text: Silke Elbern, Richard Bongartz

Translation: ck