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Deteriorated Old and Valuable Tree in Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens removed for public safety

     The Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) today (June 28) removed an Old and Valuable Tree (OVT) in Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens to ensure public safety.

     The tree was an 8-metre-tall Apple-blossom and was listed as LCSD CW/56 on the Register of OVTs. It was found to be structurally unstable and had potential danger of collapse due to serious root decay.

     An LCSD spokesman said the department had all along maintained the tree on a regular basis. During an inspection in October 2008, the tree was found to have signs of decay in its roots and root collar. A series of remedial measures were taken, including trimming of the tree crown and dead branches to reduce the weight of the crown, applying insecticides and fungicides, weeding and conducting soil improvement work. Nevertheless, the health condition of the tree did not show signs of improvement and its roots continued to deteriorate. In January 2009, the department had to use cables to stabilise the tree's main branches and continued to closely monitor its health condition.

     "During a detailed inspection in late May this year, the department's staff found the condition of the rotten roots had not made any improvement and most of the supporting roots had already decayed," the spokesman said.   

     "Staff of the LCSD and the Tree Management Office (TMO) of the Development Bureau conducted a detailed inspection of the tree earlier this week. The tree was confirmed to have potential danger of collapse due to worsening root decay and significant leaning, which undermined its stability.

     "As the tree is located near walkways with a high pedestrian flow and having regard to the onset of the typhoon season and the heavy rainstorm lately, we decided to remove the tree as early as possible to ensure public safety after consulting the TMO."

     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 is the last resort when there are no other viable options.

Ends/Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Issued at HKT 19:09


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