BENGALURU: If Bengaluru is gradually losing its tree cover for infrastructure development on one hand, the neem trees — very old and mature in many areas of the city — are succumbing to a new fungal disease identified as the dieback of neem.
Environmentalists in the city say that the neem species of all ages and sizes have been affected while some areas like Jayanagar, Basavangudi, Banaswadi, Marathahalli, etc have also reported death of these trees. In some areas, where neem trees are more in number, symptoms like twigs and flowers blighting with the fruits rotting can be seen. On the Bengaluru-Mysuru Highway stretch, more than 200 trees have been affected.
The disease was first noticed in Dehradun, Uttarakhand. Later, researchers from Mysuru who conducted a survey and studied the effects say, “In spite of its anti-fungal and anti-bacterial and other versatile biological properties, the species is affected by fungal disease resulting in blight of its twigs, inflorescence and fruits. The disease spreads at an alarming rate and needs to be controlled quickly. In severely affected trees, there is 100 per cent loss of fruit production.”
Urban conservationist and tree doctor Vijay Nishant, who has been treating affected trees in Jayanagar, Banaswadi and Marathahalli for the last one week, says many trees have died while he has been able to save a few of them. “Wherever it was brought to my notice, I have treated the affected trees by spraying a mixture of fungicide and insecticide. I have treated 5-6 trees and one tree in Jayanagar has recovered.” When Express contacted BBMP forest officials, they said the problem has not been brought to their notice and they will look into the issue.
Call the doc
If you notice any sign or symptom of neem twigs or flowers blighting or its fruit rotting, you can contact tree doctor Vijay Nishanth on 99724 87991.