Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Plant hardwood trees, prevent uprooting: Experts

Plant hardwood trees, prevent uprooting: Experts
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: The rain and gales over the last few days accounted for the loss of more than 250 trees in the city.

Forest department officials and biologists blame the unsustainable development of the city which has left inadequate place for trees to spread their roots underground.

Conservator of Forests V. Rangaswamy told this website’s newspaper the forest department has taken an initiative to grow more hardwood trees which are not easily uprooted by wind. Even nurseries have begun to reject softwood trees nowadays, he added.

‘‘When wind velocity is high, soft wood trees cannot withstand the force and fall,’’ said Rangaswamy.

Covering tree bases with concrete damages the tree. It constricts the rooting process and trees become unstable. Planting strong-rooted trees is the best option to avoid tree fall.

Horticulture director G.K. Vasanth Kumar said: ‘‘Raintrees are the strongest and easily available. Honge, neem and ficus (arali) trees are also good and do not uproot easily,’’ said Kumar.

When trees are grown on footpaths or near cemented areas, sufficient space should be allowed around them for water to percolate. Otherwise, even the strongest of trees will develop shallow roots.

People should also regularly prune and trim the trees. It not only adds to the beauty but also controls the damage,’’ he added.

Suresh Heblikar, director, Eco Watch, told this paper: ‘‘Trees have already been felled for road widening and more are lost during monsoon. Indiscriminate digging weakens the roots and trees fall.’’

Unlike other countries, the dwarf species of trees cannot be grown here as India is a tropical country.

‘‘Bangalore needs large canopy trees which provide shade, flowers and seeds. Importantly, for a city like Bangalore where air pollution is increasing, larger trees are essential,’’ he said.

In his view, honge trees are most suitable for Bangalore. The seeds of the trees can be used to manufacture bio-fuel. Champak trees, raintrees are other options.

Rain alone cannot be blamed for uprooting of full-grown soft species like gulmuhur and tabubia in the city in the last few days.

These trees have enhanced the beauty of the Garden City since the days of the Britisher G.H. Krumbiegel, who took charge of Lalbagh in 1908.

‘‘Trees lose their equilibrium due to unscientific pruning. This causes stem strangulation, weakening of roots and loss of vitality and strength,’’ explained Heblikar.


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