Life-saving surgeries to save Delhi’s greens

  • Soumya Pillai, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: May 03, 2016 23:38 IST
A team of plant protection officials at work with a tree ambulance at Tughlak Lane in New Delhi. (Arvind Yadav/ Hindustan Times)

The 40-year-old was on its deathbed before a team of specialists dissected it, operated out the infected portions, inserted rods and closed up after a two-hour surgery.

This was the plant protection team of the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) that performed the intensive surgery on a Pongamia tree at Tughlaq Lane on Tuesday.

Tree surgery is a process of pruning and treating old and damaged trees in order to preserve them and extend their lifespan.

The council is the first municipal body in the city to perform such tree surgeries.

“We conducted a special survey on all trees under our jurisdiction, where they were classified on the basis of their age. We realised several trees had aged and acquired diseases,” said council chairman Naresh Kumar.

The Pongamia tree had become hollow with age. Experts treated the affected portions with pesticides and then the bark was supported with an iron rod. This was done to ensure the unfilled portion of the tree did not collapse.

Treated portions are finally sealed with plaster of paris and fixed with thermocol on the sides so that the tree remains flexible. (Arvind Yadav/Hindustan Times)

The treated portion was finally sealed with plaster of paris and fixed with thermocol on the sides so that the tree remains flexible.

Kumar was present through the surgery. He explained that just like rods are inserted to support broken bones for human beings, after some years trees require similar care.

“One of the reasons behind this exercise was to stop trees from falling and putting the lives of people in danger,” he said.

In several countries such as Germany, the health of trees are regularly assessed through specialised ECG machines.

The chairman said the council was considering bringing such machines into use in the future. But the plan is yet to be finalized.

Affected portions are treated with pesticides and the bark is supported with an iron rod. (Arvind Yadav/Hindustan Times)

Director of horticulture JP Sharma said that the life of trees extends at least by 15-20 years through such surgeries.

In the past four months, the municipal body identified 894 infected trees in its area, out of which 835 with minor infestations had already been treated by the NDMC’s tree ambulance.

There were 59 trees that were in a critical condition and needed surgeries.

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