30 per cent of Hong Kong's trees in bad condition, survey finds

Green group warns that government will have to act urgently to save the city's trees

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 September, 2012, 3:51am

About 30 per cent of the city's 473 listed trees are in bad condition, a green group has found. The Conservancy Association's survey findings will be submitted to an expert panel of the government tree office at a meeting today, the association said.

"The government will need to take urgent action to save the worst trees. Care is also needed for the less dangerous ones, which will fail in a few years' time if no proper action is taken," Ken So Kwok-yin, the association's chief executive and a panel member, said yesterday.

The two-month survey was conducted by visual inspections of all the trees on the "old and valuable trees" register, except for some in remote locations.

It found 129 trees in a worrying state with 31 in "very bad" condition, suffering from serious decay and pest infestation.

Another 98 trees were found to be in a "bad" state, with structural or health problems that would worsen without attention.

One of the 98 trees in a "bad" state was a Chinese Banyan underneath a flyover on the Tsing Sha Highway. Half of the tree's crown had died from lack of sunlight as it is shadowed by the structure.

So said solar pipes could be installed on the flyover pillars to refract sunlight to the trees situated underneath it.

The survey found 308 trees in a normal state, but only 36 are considered to be in "good" health. The register has lost 67 trees since it was drawn up with 527 trees in 2004.

Another worrying case featured a Ficus rumphii, or Mock Bodh Tree, at the Mong Kok Stadium, which had its roots trapped in a tiny plot. When the stadium was redeveloped in 2009, no effort was made to make a bigger plot for the tree.