To ensure public safety, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) today (August 6) removed an Old and Valuable Tree (OVT) which was confirmed to be irrecoverable due to severe structural damage and decay.
The OVT is listed as LCSD YTM/31 on the OVT Register. It is a 13-metre-tall Chinese Banyan located near the car entrance of St Andrew's Church on Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui.
An earlier detailed inspection by the Tree Management Office (TMO) of the Development Bureau and LCSD confirmed that the OVT had suffered from severe structural damage and decay and its health was irrecoverable. As it was in an area with high pedestrian and vehicular flow, it had to be removed to safeguard the public.
An LCSD spokesman said the department had been closely monitoring the condition of the OVT and maintaining it on a regular basis. Situated at a busy car entrance, the tree trunk had been severely damaged after being repeatedly hit by vehicles. Cables had been installed on the tree trunk since late 2008 to support it.
In mid-July last year, fresh and deep abrasions were found on the tree trunk while the old wounds had been attacked by fungus, leading to decay. A series of remedial measures were taken immediately including wound care, application of fungicide and pesticide and trimming to reduce the weight of the tree crown.
These remedial measures were followed by an examination in early September last year with the use of sonic tomographs and resistographs, which showed that the structure of the tree trunk had been damaged. The condition of the tree did not show signs of improvement in another inspection conducted in mid-December.
Further inspection with the aid of sonic tomographs in May this year revealed that the damage to the structure of the tree trunk had worsened. Moreover, there was no improvement in the decaying parts of the trunk despite several applications of fungicide. As the OVT had a slim chance of recovery, the LCSD decided to remove the tree today after confirmation by the TMO and the Expert Panel on Tree Management.
The spokesman reiterated that the LCSD has always adopted 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/Saturday, August 6, 2011