A Chinese banyan tree in Mong Há Hill Municipal Park is infected with brown root disease, and has continued to decay at its roots after the tree maintenance staff of the Municipal Affairs Bureau (IAM) applied treatment to it, imposing risks of collapsing. Assessment suggests it has to be removed within the next few days to ensure public safety. During the work period, members of the public are required to follow the instructions of on-site staff and avoid approaching the site to ensure their safety.
Brown root disease is a fungal disease of the roots, which can directly cause decay of the roots and subsequently tree death, while decomposing the decayed wood tissue and making the roots or trunks gradually fragile and easily broken. In 2019, the tree maintenance staff of IAM found that the leaves of a Chinese banyan tree in Mong Há Hill Municipal Park were sparse during routine inspections. After detailed inspection of the roots, it was confirmed that the tree was infected with brown root disease and some of the roots had decayed and died. The staff immediately carried out pruning to reduce the weight of the crown, added ropes to stabilise the tree, applied fluid infusion and medication and used other methods to treat the tree. At the same time they removed other diseased plants and roots nearby.
During a follow-up inspection in 2020, it was found that the infected underground roots had completely decayed and spread to the ground, with mycelia growing widely on the roots. The staff immediately applied medication again and strengthened monitoring. In 2021, a separation belt was put next to the tree, and medication was applied to prevent the spread of germs. However, it was found that the condition had deteriorated these days, and the infected roots had seriously decayed. Although the appearance of the trunk seems to be intact, the trunk has become brittle and is gradually losing support, and there is a danger of collapse. After assessment, IAM has decided to remove the Chinese banyan tree as soon as possible to avoid endangering public safety.
As the rainy season and typhoon season have arrived, tree maintenance staff of IAM will step up daily trimming of trees with thick crowns, carry out follow-up inspections for trees in poor health conditions and those with structural defects, and promptly handle any potential safety risks once they are found. During the tree maintenance work period, members of the public are required to follow the on-site instructions, avoid approaching the site to avoid accidents, and pay attention to the temporary road enclosure arrangement. In addition, they are reminded that as branch breakage may happen under the influence of external forces such as wind and rain, they should avoid entering forest areas and staying under trees during wind and rain or within a few days afterward. If they find any abnormalities in trees, they may call the Civic Service Hotline of IAM at 2833 7676 or report the cases through “IAM Connect” at https://app.iam.gov.mo/iamconnect.