Protecting old trees in new ways

Advanced technologies have been adopted by the Songjiang Landscape Management Center in recent years to ensure the healthy growth of the ancient trees.

Advanced technologies have been adopted by the Songjiang Landscape Management Center in recent years to ensure the healthy growth of the ancient trees that are the district’s precious natural resources and chroniclers of a city’s history.

There are a total of 225 trees deemed ancient and 209 expected to become so in Songjiang so far. The number of ancient trees ranks first in Shanghai and they comprise around 39 varieties. Ginkgo trees are the largest proportion, with a total of 72, 11 of which are over 600 years old and three over 1,000 years old.

Their survival is thanks to the attention paid to each.

Between 2011 and 2015 Songjiang established five model preservation sites and ran 26 district-level ancient trees preservation projects. In total, more than 60 trees were returned to their robust state and their surrounding facilities maintained.

For example, two Chinese wingnuts around 100 years old at the foot of Sheshan Mountain used to be in a 25-square-meter protection zone and their guard fences hadn’t been repaired for years. Renovation work last year expanded the protection zone to more than 100 square meters. In addition, the trees were also treated to prevent decay and insect damage.

In Fangta Park a machine was used to drill holes on the grassland to break up the soil among ancient green maple trees. Drones were used to spread insect repellant upon ancient ginkgos.

Staff at the landscape management center also took measures such as growing mycorrhiza fungi around bischofia polycarpas and covering volcanic rocks around ginkgos to rescue or rejuvenate the ancient trees. The center also keeps information cards for each ancient tree.

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