Removal of two diseased Old and Valuable Trees on a slope on Battery Path in Central

The Tree Management Office (TMO) of the Development Bureau, in collaboration with Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) and Architectural Services Department (ArchSD), has arranged to remove two Old and Valuable Trees (OVTs) on a slope on Battery Path, Central today (May 28).  Both are Chinese Banyan trees (Ficus microcarpa), with a height of 15 metres (registration number CW/92) and 20 metres (registration number CW/93) respectively.  TMO has confirmed following detailed inspection that both trees are infected with brown root rot disease.  As the health of two OVTs is irrecoverable, they need to be removed in order to protect public safety.

During a routine inspection in April 2009, LCSD noticed that the root system of the Chinese Banyan tree with registration number CW/92 had fungal infection, and suffered from health problems such as sparse and chlorotic foliage.  In September 2010, TMO confirmed that this Chinese Banyan tree, together with a neighbouring Chinese Banyan tree (registration number CW/93), had contracted brown root rot disease. Upon discovery that the two trees had respectively fallen sick, LCSD immediately took remedial measures (including application of fungicide and pruning of die-back branches) while continuing to closely monitor the health condition of the two trees.  TMO's professional advice was sought on measures to improve the health of the two trees.  In the process, TMO also consulted the Expert Panel on Tree Management on the health conditions of the two Chinese Banyan trees.  Nevertheless, the health conditions of the two Chinese Banyan trees continue to show no sign of improvement.

Brown root rot disease is a tree disease typically found in tropical and subtropical regions.  It leads to rapid health deterioration in trees, causing them to die within a short time.  According to research in tree pathology, at present there is no effective cure for brown root rot disease.  For the two Chinese Banyan trees on the slope on Battery Path, LCSD and TMO have confirmed that the application of fungicide is unable to cure their fungal infection.  Considering the serious consequences of brown root rot disease on tree health as well as the contagious nature of the disease, TMO and LCSD have decided to remove the two Chinese Banyan trees as their health is irrecoverable in order to eliminate the tree risk and safeguard public safety, and to contain the spread of brown root rot disease to other trees on the same slope on Battery Path.

"TMO and the relevant departments will continue to keep a close eye on the condition of other trees on the slope on Battery Path, and provide appropriate care to them," a spokesperson of the Development Bureau said.

Ends/Saturday, May 28, 2011
Issued at HKT 12:01