Beijing strengthens efforts to tackle catkin woes

Xinhua
Beijing will strengthen efforts to deal with the capital's flying catkins, the cotton-like seed clusters that cause discomfort and fire hazards during spring.
Xinhua

The Beijing municipal government will strengthen efforts to deal with the capital's flying catkins, the cotton-like seed clusters that cause discomfort and fire hazards during spring, local authorities said on Tuesday.

Du Jianjun, an official with the Beijing municipal landscape and forestry bureau, said that flower inhibitor will be used on female poplars and willows to prevent them from producing catkins, and trees will be washed with high-pressure water guns and fallen seeds will be collected.

Other measures include replacing the dying trees with other tree types and banning the use of female poplars and willows in the future.

With high survival rates, fast growth and low maintenance costs, poplars and willows have become major landscaping trees in Beijing. But the flying catkins they produce are a nuisance for the city every spring.

Zhang Zhixiang, professor with Beijing Forestry University, said that Beijing's current female poplars and willows were planted during the period between the 1960s and 1970s, when there were few tree options for landscaping.

"We will gradually increase the diversity of landscaping trees in Beijing, so as to reduce the impact of catkins on people," said Du.

This year, the bureau will treat 300,000 female poplar and willow trees in Beijing. Last year, around 400,000 such trees were treated to reduce the annoying catkins.

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