Probe to look at sloppy tree planting

PUBLISHED : Friday, 27 July, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 27 July, 2012, 12:00am


The Development Bureau's Tree Management Office is to check whether workers who planted trees at the government headquarters cut corners, as some trees uprooted by the recent typhoon still had their roots bagged.

Office head Lawrence Chau Kam-chiu said yesterday that normally the nylon wrap bagging the roots would be removed when trees were planted.

'The Architectural Services Department is looking into the matter to see if anyone missed any steps in the normal procedure,' Chau said.

His comments came after 50 trees fell down in the park at government headquarters at Tamar, Admiralty on Monday and Tuesday as Severe Typhoon Vicente lashed the city. Some of these trees were found to have roots still in nylon wrap.

Arborist Ken So Kwok-yin criticised the office for failing to monitor the planting. He said trees could be planted with their roots bagged, but only if they used biodegradable material, not nylon which would restrict their growth.

Meanwhile, the office has inspected two vulnerable trees on the Park Lane Shoppers' Boulevard in Tsim Sha Tsui, which were adjacent to Chinese banyans that collapsed last week, injuring five people.

The three banyans, all listed on the register of old and valuable trees, stood on the same planter and were infected with brown root rot disease, with their bases eaten up by fungi.

Professor Jim Chi-yung, from the University of Hong Kong and a member of the office's expert panel, said further testing was needed for the two surviving trees, Nos 11 and 12.

While No 12 was relatively safe and just needed some structural support, No 11 had a large cavity at the base. 'We need to use an industrial vacuum cleaner to suck up the loose soil and wood dust in order to find out exactly how deep the hole is,' Jim said.

The office would decide in a week whether the two trees had to be chopped down.