TAIPING, May 15 — The 135-year-old raintree in Taiping Lake Gardens that fell over last October was supposed to have been propped up to control its leaning.
However, before work could be carried out, it toppled on October12.
In a statement, the Taiping Municipal Council (MPT) said a check on the tree’s sample root by the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM) found that part of it was decayed.
“Results of fungal isolation, however, did not show pathogen fungal disease of the root,” said the council.
The council said the tree was last checked on July 23, 2017.
“At that time, the tree was found to be of moderate status and required periodic monitoring,” it said, adding that the tree, estimated to be worth RM1 million was considered solid with only eight per cent hollow wood.
“The arborist had then proposed that the tree be propped up to withstand its weight,” said the council.
Since then, the council has spent RM19,950 to prop it back up.
As a long-term measure, it was proposed that MPT step up management of the trees in the Taiping Lake Gardens.
“Arborist suggested that a periodic monitoring every six months should be conducted on trees that showed stress such as branch die back and water shoots,” it said.
In addition, any abnormality or significant changes in physical and physiological states such as leave loss that is not caused by natural processes should be monitored.
“Picus Sonis Tomograph inspection is also recommended every two years on trees with a percentage of cavity or decay exceeding 15 per cent,” it said, adding that roots that showed signs of rotting should be made to undergo root collar excavation to reduce the potential for failure and prevent trees from threatening the safety of people.
In the meantime, the council is reaching out to the state government and the National Landscape Department for special allocations to maintain the raintrees.
“It is one of the tourist attractions that made the gardens one of the must-visit places,” it said, adding that there are 117 raintrees in Taiping Lake Gardens.
Malay Mail had previously reported that the council had received many appeals from the people of Taiping to save the trees.
Part of Taiping Lake Gardens has been closed to motorised vehicles since December 15, 2017, in a move to preserve its rain trees.
The 630-metre stretch of road, which makes up about a quarter of the entire Taiping Lake Gardens loop, is now a permanent pedestrian walk and cycling path.
The decision to ban motorised vehicles was made after consultations with several quarters, including the National Landscape Department, FRIM and public interest groups.