More than 1,300 trees have been damaged or uprooted in just the first few weeks of rain in Mumbai- three times the total number during last year's monsoon.
While civic officials claim the damage is because of the intensity of the rain, environmentalists said the concretisation around the base of the trees is also a factor, as it weakens their roots.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC)'s disaster management cell reported 1,302 incidents - 595 trees falling and 707 instances of damage to branches -between June 1 and 24.
The BMC's tree department reported 431 tree or branch falling incidents between June and September 2014.
Before the monsoon this year, the BMC had removed 443 dead trees and trimmed 59,721 across the city.
"This year, more trees have fallen because of the unusual intensity of the rain," said Vijay Hire, superintendent of gardens, BMC. "Also, telecom companies had dug up various areas to lay cables, which resulted in trees being uprooted."
Hire pointed out that more incidents of damage to trees were reported from privately owned areas than those managed by the civic body.
According to the report by the tree department, between June 1 and June 24, 261 trees fell in public areas compared to 334 in privately owned areas.
Environmentalists said many trees across the city are dying because of the concretisation around their bases. "The situation will get worse by the end of the monsoon. The concretisation does not allow the trees' roots to get nutrients from the soil, making them weak," said Stalin D, project director, Vanashakti.
Kavita Mallya, project officer, Vanashakti, added, "If you take a vertical profile of the soil around the base of the tree, you will find layers of concrete, brick, cement, tar and gravel. There is hardly one feet of soil on either side of the trunk."