An Old and Valuable Tree (OVT) with potential risk of collapse was removed in Sham Shui Po today (December 5) for the sake of public safety, a spokesman for the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) said.
Located in the Osmanthus Road Rest Garden, the tree was a 20-metre-tall Ficus elastica under the management of the LCSD and was listed on the Register of OVTs with the registration number LCSD SSP/14.
The spokesman said that the tree was suspected of being infected with brown root rot (BRR) disease during an LCSD regular inspection carried out in June this year. Appropriate remedial measures including the guying of scaffold branches, crown reduction and application of fungicide were implemented though the tree's condition showed no improvement.
A joint inspection by the LCSD, the Tree Management Office (TMO) and the Expert Panel on Tree Management under the Development Bureau was carried out later in November. It was confirmed that the tree’s health had deteriorated so severely that it would be irrecoverable. Considering the fact that the tree was situated in a residential area and posed a potential danger of collapse, the LCSD decided to remove it as early as practicable for the sake of public safety and to prevent the spreading of the BRR disease to trees nearby. The decision was made following consultation with the TMO and the removal works were completed today.
The spokesman said that the department would continue to adopt a prudent approach in inspecting and managing trees under its care. Removal of problematic trees will be undertaken only when no other viable option is available.
Meanwhile, the Government will update the Register of OVTs on a regular basis and enrol trees that meet the required criteria onto the Register. Twenty-one OVTs have been added to the Register so far this year. The most recent inclusions include a Bombax ceiba located at Wan Tau Kok Playground in Tai Po District (LCSD TP/21) and a Ficus microcarpa located at High Street in Central and Western District (HyD CW/3).
To protect Hong Kong's valuable tree resources, the Government introduced the Register of OVTs in 2004 to include trees of large size, rarity, old age, outstanding form and/or cultural, historical or memorable significance. Members of the public can visit the website of the LCSD's OVT Register (http://ovt.lcsd.gov.hk/ovt/index.jsp?lang=en) for details and pictures of these OVTs.
Ends/Thursday, December 5, 2013
Issued at HKT 15:16