Palms are best but they are 'too dull'

PUBLISHED : Monday, 25 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 25 February, 2013, 5:27am

There should be a balance between aesthetics and functionality when choosing trees for streets and roads in the city, tree specialists say.

Ken So Kwok-yin, from the Conservancy Association, said: "Either we choose the right tree to suit the environment or we provide an engineering solution to accommodate the tree," he said.

So said palm trees were often chosen as they were convenient, suited to most environments and took up less space.

They also need relatively less attention in general.

Aesthetically, however, they were not favoured by many who regarded them as "too dull" and unable to "brighten" up a place, he said.

So said the Burmese almond wood, an exotic species, was a tall tree that could grow up to 15 metres. He said such big trees did not suit Kai Chiu Road because there were no large spaces for the trees to spread.

Their roots could break the pavement and create an uneven surface, which will be a problem in the area because it is used by a large number of shoppers day and night.

"If they insist on planting the tree, they should make sure they re-engineer their underground spaces beneath the road and give the tree sufficient soil," he said.

Professor Jim Chi-yung, from the University of Hong Kong, said Hysan or the government should choose instead the Sterculia or Silk Rose, which have beautiful flowers.

While many conservationists champion the planting of native species, So said it was not necessary to put in native plants everywhere.

He said that in isolated environments and places, far from the natural environment like country parks, "it is not a must to have native trees".