Nan­jing to re­move poplars to curb trou­ble­some catkins

China Daily - - CHINA - By CANG WEI in Nan­jing cang­wei@chi­

Nan­jing, Jiangsu prov­ince, is plan­ning to re­move most of its 10,000 po­plar trees to re­duce the num­ber of catkins, or flower pods, which can be a ma­jor ir­ri­ta­tion in spring­time.

The poplars will be re­placed with other va­ri­eties that are eas­ier to man­age, the city gov­ern­ment said.

Qi Pei­wen, an of­fi­cial at the Nan­jing gar­den­ing and green­ing bu­reau, said it will take about three years to re­move all the poplars across the city, in­clud­ing in the down­town area and along free­ways.

“The city planted many po­plar trees around 2000 be­cause they were cheap, grew fast and im­proved the en­vi­ron­ment in a short time,” she said. “They can grow very tall in three to five years and be­gin to shed count­less white catkins.”

The catkins can cause al­ler­gic re­ac­tions in peo­ple when they flower in April and May. Many peo­ple across China find it nec­es­sary to wear masks to avoid breath­ing in the ir­ri­tat­ing flow­ers of the po­plar, wil­low and plane trees.

Tian Ru­nan, a pro­fes­sor in Nan­jing Forestry Univer­sity’s gar­den­ing and plants depart­ment, said the city is fa­mous for the 380,000 trees that line its roads and pro­vide shade in sum­mer, but there are not many dif­fer­ent va­ri­eties, es­pe­cially ones with a pleas­ing shape and col­or­ful leaves.

He sug­gested that other kinds of trees — ginkgo, cedar, maple and cherry — should be planted to re­place the poplars.

Qi said that af­ter 17 years most of the po­plar trees are en­ter­ing a pe­riod of de­cline.

“Many have holes in their trunks and frag­ile branches,” she said. “They may cause in­juries in down­town ar­eas if they fall.”

Yin Qi­u­min, an of­fi­cer at the Nan­jing traf­fic con­trol bu­reau, said most of the re­moval work will be done be­tween 8 pm and 6 am to avoid dis­turb­ing the lives of the city’s 8 mil­lion peo­ple.

Qi said his bu­reau has tried many ways to re­duce the amount of seeds and flow­ers from plane and po­plar trees, in­clud­ing ra­di­a­tion, in­ject­ing growth in­hibitors and putting plas­tic bags un­der the flow­ers. How­ever, none of these ap­proaches proved ef­fec­tive.

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