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New lease of life for oak tree

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Making it lively: The Sullivan’s tree in Udhagamandalam being spruced up on Sunday. —
Making it lively: The Sullivan’s tree in Udhagamandalam being spruced up on Sunday. —

Special Correspondent

Copper sulphate, lime applied to prevent formation of fungus

Udhagamandalam: It was a holiday well spent for a motley group of persons here on Sunday.

Having been brought together by a common desire to preserve a historic oak tree, they spent the day attending to its needs and sprucing up the surroundings.

The oak had been planted in 1823 by John Sullivan in a small garden opposite the building which now houses the Government Arts College. Sullivan, an English civil servant is popularly known as the ‘Founder of Ooty’, a hill station in the country.

The condition of the tree which has been a source of concern among many here for sometime now had deteriorated recently with a big branch being snapped by heavy rain accompanied by gusty winds.

Since the elements had already claimed a branch a few years ago, the group comprising environmentalists, mediapersons, workers of the Horticulture Department, students and local residents swung into action to check further damage and also draw the attention of the people to its importance.

Horticultural Officer N. Mani told The Hindu that a mixture of copper sulphate, lime and water had been applied wherever necessary to prevent the formation of fungus.

Field Botanist, Medicinal Plants Survey and Collection Unit, S. Rajan said that in a phased manner the entire garden would be given a facelift.

Stating that Sullivan’s influence can still be perceived in various aspects of life here, he said that pieces of the fallen branch would be displayed in some of the important places.

Among them would be the Sullivan Memorial at Kannerimukku near Kotagiri, the Collectorate and the Government Botanical Garden.

The authorities incharge of the Ooty lake would also be requested to display a piece since the lake had been created by Sullivan.

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