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LCSD meets with tree experts

The Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) held the second meeting with tree experts today (August 29) to further look into measures to save the Chinese banyan tree at Kowloon Park and to study the department's conservation efforts for old and valuable trees in Hong Kong.

Participating in the meeting were Chairman of Hong Kong Trees Conservation Association, Professor Hui Lam-hing, Senior Manager of Flora Conservation Department, Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden, Dr Lawrence Chau, Conservation Manager of the Conservancy Association, Mr So Kwok-yin, and the Assistant Director (Leisure Services) of Leisure and Cultural Services, Mr Eddy Yau.

In accordance with the advice given by the tree experts, the LCSD took the following remedial measures to save the Chinese banyan tree, some branches of which fell earlier:

- remove the dead limbs of the tree so as to reduce its weight;
- stabilise the tree with wires connected to anchor points;
- conduct soil analysis and initial inspection on the roots and the lower part of the trunk;
- continue using bamboo poles to facilitate the growth of aerial roots to the soil surface and their development into supporting roots.

Besides the above measures, the meeting also agreed to take the following remedial measures:

- take samples from the tree and the soil for conducting fungal tests and administer the right fungicide;
- further remove concrete slabs in the peripheral area of the tree base so as to broaden the area;
- continue closing the sitting-out area below the tree to prevent park-goers from stepping on the soil;
- request the Architectural Services Department to build up a metal framework to further stabilise the tree.

The LCSD's tree teams have completed inspections of the 526 trees on the Register of Old and Valuable Trees list. They have taken follow-up actions for 36 trees singled out during the previous round of inspections.

Conservation work of old trees was also discussed at the meeting. The tree experts agreed that the LCSD should adopt different measures, such as trimming the crowns and considering removal of concrete covers, so as to cope with the habitats and conditions of individual trees.

The LCSD will continue to keep close contact and hold discussions with various government departments for concerted efforts to ensure tree preservation will not be compromised by construction work.

Ends/Wednesday, August 29, 2007

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