A week ago, this young tree was a healthy Chinese banyan, bringing a touch of green to the concrete jungle of Central. Today, it is an example of careless pruning, with the Lands Department forced to issue a warning to the contractor that hacked off its branches, and demand immediate remedial work. However, the damage caused may be irreparable, according to tree expert Professor Jim Chi-yung from the University of Hong Kong, as the stubs left by the pruning make it more susceptible to decay and fungi. 'Almost every branch has been cut in the wrong way,' he said. 'They are laying the conditions for the tree to be subject to fungus ... for the tree to degrade in due course.' The tree is near the intersection of Icehouse Street and Lower Albert Road, just metres from the Central Government Offices. 'I've studied every single wall tree in Hong Kong so they can't escape my attention,' Jim said. 'It's right in the heart of Central and many people love the tree because it's rare to see trees there. It's almost a miracle it's there.' Jim said the pruning was unnecessary and that the tree had posed no threat to cars or pedestrians. A Lands Department spokeswoman said the tree was pruned following a public complaint. The department's tree unit investigated and found the overgrown branches of the tree were causing a nuisance. It ordered the tree to be pruned on Sunday last week. Blakedown (Hong Kong), a landscaping contractor on a list of government-approved contractors, was given the job. A department spokeswoman confirmed that Blakedown had been chosen as a contractor to carry out maintenance of vegetation including tree trimming, pruning and felling for Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, New Kowloon and Islands District. After the tree was pruned, the department assessed it and found the result to be unsatisfactory and that the 'pruning cuts were not properly made resulting in the stubs and topping cuts on the tree'. The department has now ordered Blakedown to carry out restoration pruning. The department spokeswoman said the tree would be closely monitored and checked in three months. Jim said this was not good enough. 'I'm very angry and I don't think this sort of thing will stop because the government is doing nothing to stop these cowboy contractors. This has been happening for decades.' The department spokeswoman was not able to give the cost of the pruning or say if Blakedown would be struck off the list of government-approved contractors.