The city boasts of having a number of environmentalists - hundreds of saplings are planted every year. However, there are only a few to protect these trees.
C Gokulapalan, professor at the Department of Plant Pathology, Kerala Agricultural University, Vellayani, and his students are on a mission to save the avenue trees along the Kowdiar-Vellayambalam stretch, one of the most popular and beautiful corridors in the city.
The trees on the stretch are found to be infected with ‘Ganoderma’, a wood-decaying fungus. With the support of Thiruvananthapuram Road Development Company Limited (TRDCL), concessionaire of the City Road Improvement Project (CRIP), Gokulapalan and his students have started preparing an inventory of the trees on the stretch.
When Express reached the stretch, two students, Vineeth V Varma and Vikram Hutke, students of MSc Plant Pathology and Horticulture respectively, were busy preparing the inventory. Vineeth pointed to mushrooms on several trees, an indication of fungal attack.
“This is a natural infection. However, injuries to trees will speed up the spread of the disease. We have noticed injuries in the form of nailing or piercing for advertisements. We are planning to make people aware of the harmful effects of such activities,” Vineeth said.
The team has plans to suggest chemical treatment to the affected trees. Inventorying includes identification of trees, recording the number of infected trees etc. The team records around 20 trees an hour.
“Avenue tree management is an important aspect. Authorities are less concerned about this. From unscientific pruning to hanging advertisements, many activities are harmful to the trees,” said Vineeth, who is doing a thesis on Ganoderma mushroom.
The team has noticed fungal infection on several trees in the city and has even taken up the matter with the authorities concerned. However, except TRDCL, none others have bothered to follow it up.
With the backing of TRDCL project director Anil Kumar Pandala, who has offered technical support in maintaining the trees, the team is silently taking all necessary steps to keep the stretch as one of the greenest corridors in the city.