The collapse of many trees on Hanoi streets during the thunderstorm last weekend revealed that workers who had planted them recently had not bothered to remove nets and plastic bags covering their roots.
Unusually strong winds uprooted around 1,000 trees in Hanoi Saturday afternoon, killing two people and injuring five others.
Many of the trees were small, around ten meters tall or less and did not have many branches.
Their roots were still tied up and covered. Few of the roots had managed to grow through the canvas and all thin.
A group of men who introduced themselves as local environmental workers came to replant some trees Sunday afternoon and they did not bother to remove the ropes or covering either.
Locals said the trees had been planted in the last two years and many have been replanted several times after heavy rains felled them.
Nguyen Tien Hiep, director of the plant preservation center at the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations, said planting trees with their roots covered is “reckless” because the roots cannot penetrate through the cover.
“Roots have to be in direct contact with soil, their source of nutrition.”
Le Huy Cuong, who has spent more than ten years studying trees in Hanoi, said more than 1,000 trees falling on one windy afternoon was “unusual.”
But he also said it is easy to understand given the rapid urbanization of the city.
Many trees that fell on Saturday had been paved over and the suffocation forced them to grow roots above the ground, thus making them unstable.
“The construction of houses and installation of water pipes and electric cables underground have invaded tree roots.”
He said high-rise buildings also forced trees to lean over roads for sunlight, thus losing stability.