The Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) today (June 21) removed an Old and Valuable Tree (OVT) in Morrison Hill Road Playground in Wan Chai to ensure public safety. The tree was found to be structurally unstable due to rotten roots and had a potential danger of collapse.
The tree was a 14-metre-tall Chinese Banyan and was listed as LCSD WCH/13 on the Register of OVTs.
An LCSD spokesman said during an inspection in mid-June last year, the tree was found to have signs of decay in its root. A series of remedial measures were taken, including trimming of tree crown, using cables to stabilise the tree, soil improvements, as well as promoting aerial root growth in the soil to facilitate nutrient absorption and to strengthen the support of the tree. However, the growth of the tree roots and the overall health condition of the tree did not show signs of improvement.
"In mid-June this year, department staff spotted a gap between the rim of the tree's planter and the soil mass. Some tree roots were found to be sheared. The roots were suspected to have been attacked by fungus. The tree had been significantly leaning and its stability had been greatly undermined, with a potential danger of collapse.
"The tree is located near a children's playground and cycling facilities and also adjacent to a carriageway. In view of the coming of the typhoon season, after consulting the Tree Management Office of the Development Bureau, we decided to remove the tree as early as possible to ensure public safety."
The spokesman said there were three banyan trees in the Morrison Hill Road Playground listed as OVTs. Apart from the one removed today, the other two banyans were in satisfactory and good conditions respectively. The LCSD will continue to closely monitor the conditions of the two OVTs and take appropriate maintenance measures when necessary.
The spokesman reiterated that the department would 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/Tuesday, June 21, 2011