Centuries-old trees replanted successfully in Coimbatore

A 350-to 400-year-old Neem and Peepal trees at the Ukkadam Lakshminarashimar Temple that got uprooted earlier this week due to gusty winds have successfully been replanted at the same spot.

Credit goes to the large number of devotees and members of Siruthuli who decided to have the trees alive and the Forest Department for providing the required expertise.

Tirupur Exporters Association that had similar experiences in replanting trees also extended a helping hand.

It is learnt that as part of the temple renovation works, the temple authorities tried to build a pucca concrete structure i.e., sanctum sanctorum for the Vinayakar under the Peepal and Neem trees.

In the remaining space, the plan was to have a concrete seating for devotees.

In the process, the workers were said to have carelessly dug the soil so deep, cutting some of the roots of the trees. This led to the weakening of the trees and gusty winds got them uprooted.

Managing trustee of Siruthuli, Ms. Vanitha Mohan told The Hindu that earlier this week on a night when the city witnessed gusty winds and mild showers the trees got uprooted damaging shops and a few vehicles.

On examination, many said that the trees could be still replanted and saved. Hence, Siruthuli first approached the Conservator of Forests – Coimbatore Circle I. Anwardeen, who in turn asked District Forest Officer A. Periyasamy to depute a team.

A forest team led by Range Officers C. Dineshkumar and M. Senthilkumar offered some expertise. Then began the effort the next morning and it went on for about 30-odd hours.

Two cranes, an earth mover, and 18 workers were pressed into service. The whole exercise became emotional with the devotees wanting the trees to survive once again.

First, the pollarding of the trees was done as advised by the forest officials.

Pollarding is primarily to remove the huge branches with dead leaves to ensure that there is fresh sprouting of a dense head with the foliage.

The debris in the pit was removed for a depth of about 8 ft and then the main stem of the trees were planted again.

The pit was packed with four to five tractors of red sand along with the old soil that remained there.

In addition, organic manure, vermin compost and cow dung were dumped into the pit and the pit was tightly packed with more soil.

To enhance water retention capacity of the soil, loads of haystacks were also dumped and a foil of haystack was put around the tree. To ensure that the trees stay intact without further loosening, binding wires were used for tying them up together.

The trees now stand tall giving hope that the shredded branches would witness sprouting in a month, especially this being the monsoon season.

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Printable version | Oct 20, 2020 7:51:54 AM |

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