Messy trees to be re­placed in Bei­jing

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By DU JUAN du­juan@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Bei­jing plans to use new po­plar trees it has de­vel­oped to re­place more than 500,000 of the cur­rent trees, which re­lease catkins in mas­sive amounts ev­ery spring.

With tem­per­a­tures ris­ing re­cently, masses of wil­low and po­plar catkins — pol­li­nat­ing flow­ers — have be­gun blow­ing through­out the city, which can cause prob­lems with traf­fic and com­pli­cate the lives of street clean­ers and peo­ple with al­ler­gies.

Kang Xiangyang, a pro­fes­sor spe­cial­iz­ing in tree breed­ing at Bei­jing Forestry Univer­sity, led a re­search team to suc­cess­fully de­velop the new type of po­plar.

“They have passed le­gal ap­proval at the na­tional level and are ready to enter the mar­ket,” he said.

Po­plars and wil­lows pro­duce catkins as part of their re­pro­duc­tion process. Most of the cur­rent trees in the city are fe­male, which leads to masses of catkins.

“The new type of po­plars are male, and can grow as fast as the fe­male ones. This means they can help the city to achieve a green­ing ef­fect soon,” Kang said.

He said that sim­ply re­mov­ing the ex­ist­ing trees wouldn’t solve the prob­lem.

“It re­quires a process to re­place the trees,” he said.

The Bei­jing Mu­nic­i­pal Land­scape and Forestry Bureau said on Mon­day that it plans to treat 300,000 wil­low and po­plar trees in a va­ri­ety of ways this

per­cent

year, in­clud­ing chem­i­cal in­jec­tion, trim­ming and thin­ning, to limit catkin pro­duc­tion. The city has about 2 mil­lion of the trees, the bureau said.

Du Jian­jun, deputy head of the bureau’s sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy of­fice, said the city has stopped plant­ing fe­male po­plars and wil­lows.

High-pres­sure wa­ter jets will be used to re­duce float­ing catkins, and of­fi­cials have asked the ur­ban clean­ing depart­ment to clear away the de­bris in a timely man­ner.

Sun Jin­lyu, a doc­tor at Pek­ing Union Med­i­cal Col­lege Hos­pi­tal, said dur­ing a fo­rum that the num­ber of peo­ple who suf­fer from polli­nosis has reached 50 mil­lion world­wide.

“In Bei­jing, one-third to one-fourth of the pa­tients have al­ler­gic re­sponses to pollen,” he said.

Wil­lows and po­plars ac­count for 5.4 per­cent of the city’s trees, ac­cord­ing to the bureau.

Liu Xi­uchen, a con­sul­tant for the State Coun­cil who has worked in the gar­den­ing and land­scape in­dus­try for decades, said that in the 1950s the gov­ern­ment had lim­ited money for landscaping in the cap­i­tal, so the low-cost and fast­grow­ing po­plars and wil­lows be­came the best choice at that time and were widely planted.

YUAN YI / FOR CHINA DAILY

Work­ers in­ject chem­i­cals into a wil­low to limit catkin pro­duc­tion in Bei­jing’s Xicheng district on Tues­day.

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