Fifteen large trees in the plush New Delhi Municipal Corporation area are under attack from mites, a small parasitic insect.
These trees belong to the ficus family, which has peepal and pilkhan as its prominent members. The trees are anywhere between 70-80 years old and have survived the harsh weather of the Capital for decades.
However, this time round the ageing beauties have succumbed to mites, which end up building an oblong closed nest like formation on branches high up the tree woven with several leaves and their own web.
These are swarming colonies of mites, which lay thousands of eggs within the safe enclosures using the leaves. If not treated in time, the decreasing foliage (see picture) will be gradually wiped out.
“The infection is a little serious this time round. It is a little over week that we discovered the infection during our routine checks,” said a Horticulture department official, engaged in the treatment of these trees.
Around 15 trees — all Ficus Retusa — are suffering with the same problem. Of these, about six trees are near Janpath-Motilal Nehru Marg roundabout while the rest are near Palika Bazaar in Connaught Place.
Director (Horticulture) Subhash Chandra said, “We are spraying insecticides, which would be done from time to time till the infection is fully taken care of.”
The infected twigs/branches would then be cut/pruned and disposed off in a controlled manner, he added.
The infection has also been detected in some Arjun trees apart from these ficus variety trees. Alstonia (Saptaparni in Hindi) trees are infected with another kind of infection wherein its leaves coil up at the end.
Along with taking care of such infections and other ailments of the trees, the Horticulture department is busy working for its formal launch of the ‘Tree Ambulance’ — as announced in its annual budget — sometime soon.