BENGALURU: Janet Yegneshwaran, who heads Trees for Free, says that residents should be brought on board before every tree-planting drive. “We do a survey before we launch any drive. We ask them what trees they want and plant according to their concerns,” she says, adding that their group did face resistance from residents earlier, but attitudes have changed now.
She suggests planting short trees, which do not touch overhead wires, and native ones. “They should not pick fruit trees, which draws children to throw stones at them for fruits, causing damage to property. Also avoid trees with large trunks,” she says. Janet suggests honge, horasi, sampige, Ashoka and Lakshmi tharu. “People often ask for Spathodea, but I wouldn’t encourage it because it has a wide trunk and the flowers can cause cars and two-wheelers to skid off the road,” she says. Then there is the constant favourite gulmohar but these shed many flowers and could anger your neighbours who are particular about not littering the lane.
Dipika Bajpai, Deputy Conservator of Forests, too says that people are keen on gulmohar and raintree. But she says they have wide trunk and, with their shallow roots, they are likely to fall. She has seen more interest from people for planting trees.
Ulhas suggests Singapore Cherry tree, which grows to 10-15 feet in three years. “They give a beautiful shade for parking cars. Temperature below trees fall by 6 degrees, it protects cars from heat which means plastic inside the vehicles do not heat up to emit fumes or petrol does not evaporate.
Singapore cherry has a wide canopy.” Ulhas’s group had planted 100 of these trees on one narrow stretch in Shankarapuram, Basavanagudi, despite facing much resistance. Today 60 of them survive, “a great survival rate”. He also suggests Tecoma Stans, with its yellow trumpet-like flowers. They attract birds and butterflies, and are drought resistant.