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An irrecoverable Old and Valuable Tree in Kowloon City removed for public safety

     To ensure public safety, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) today (January 20) removed an Old and Valuable Tree (OVT) in Kowloon City, which was confirmed by tree experts as irrecoverable and was in potential danger of collapse.

     The 18-metre-tall Chinese Banyan, located inside Essex Crescent Garden, was listed on the Register of Old and Valuable Trees with registration number LCSD KC/5.

     An LCSD spokesman said that the Department had always kept the tree under regular inspection and the tree had shown no sign of irregularity before mid-August last year. Staff found the tree suffering from abnormal defoliation when they conducted inspection on the tree in late August of last year again. Immediate maintenance measures were taken including the trimming of dead branches and making the soil around the tree less compact in order to improve infiltration of air and water. The LCSD had been closely monitoring the condition of the tree and consulted tree experts for their advice with a view to saving the tree. However, the condition of the tree did not show signs of improvement in the subsequent months.  An inspection in late November last year confirmed that the tree had withered.

     "A review by the tree expert group and the Tree Management Office of the Development Bureau also confirmed that the tree was irrecoverable and had potential danger of collapse and should be removed," the spokesman said.

     "It is suspected that the tree's roots might have been infected by fungus, but further expert advice will be sought to ascertain the cause leading to the tree's poor health."

     "The department is closely monitoring the health of other trees in the area, and follow-up and maintenance measures will be instituted where appropriate," the spokesman added.

     The LCSD will continue to adopt a prudent approach in managing trees under its care. For trees in poor condition, removal will be the last resort, and only when there are no other viable options.

Ends/Thursday, January 20, 2011

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