Tree enthusiasts remove cement to 'revive' withering banyan tree

2018/08/09 21:49:11 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Photo courtesy of Hung Wei-feng

Photo courtesy of Hung Wei-feng

Taipei, Aug. 9 (CNA) A group of tree experts and enthusiasts attended a "ground breaking" ceremony in Houlong Township, Miaoli County Thursday, to remove cement that they said has been stifling a 200-year-old banyan tree shading an earth-deity temple.

Hung Wei-feng (洪維鋒), president of Miaoli Coastal Environment Development Association, said the banyan tree has played an important role in the development of the local community, providing a "cool" environment for community college faculty and students and local residents to pursue various historical and cultural projects.

Last year, the banyan tree appeared to fall ill with many of its branches drying up, according to Hung, who added that it was then trimmed in an attempt to restore it to health.

However, more branches and leaves withered, worrying local community and school leaders, he added.

It was then suggested that the tree might be being harmed by the cement around it, so they prayed to the earth deity and asked for advice on how to bring the tree back to life.

In the presence of NGO leaders, a local ward chief, elementary school president and community leaders threw divination blocks in front of the deity's statue and received an answer -- remove the cement.

On Thursday, the local leaders were joined by renowned "tree doctor" Peng Yu-ming (彭鈺明) and Miaoli Community College Chief Secretary Tai Wen-hsiang (戴文祥) in the ceremony marking the start of the cement removal.

When the cement has been cleared, the tree's roots will start absorbing air and water, according to Peng, who suggested that three poles be erected to support the tree so it will stand a better chance of fully recovering.

Hung said this work should be completed by the end of August. In the meantime, he urged members of the public to volunteer to clean up the surrounding area and take care of the "newly young" tree.

(By Kuan Jui-ping and S.C. Chang)
Enditem/AW


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