THE felled agoho tree at the city market exhibited acute center rot rendering it beyond reclamation that if not removed, will remain a constant threat to people and buildings in the area.

The condition of the tree prompted city environment and parks management office (CEPMO) personnel to decide on the spot to cut the tree instead of just “topping” or pruning it to remove the dead or dried up portions as what was indicated in the permit issued by Mayor Mauricio Domogan.

“The center of the tree is almost hollowed out that if not for the wires and cables it was leaning on, it would have fallen on its own,” CEPMO head Cordelia Lacsamana said.

Market division chief Policarpio Tamayo last August requested the trimming of the branches of the tree which have dried up with the elongated portions in danger of falling and pose danger to daily market goers and the public at large.

CEPMO foresters John Padua and Tony Pednga who inspected the tree in response to the request of Tamayo said they recommended the issuance of the tree topping permit to cut its upper trunk which had dried up and was perilously leaning towards the building beside it.

Based on their recommendation approved by forest watershed management division chief Beatriz Gajete and Lacsamana, the mayor issued a tree topping permit.

“But in the process of cutting the dead portion, we discovered that the whole trunk was plagued with center rot beyond cure so right then and there we decided to cut it totally before it can cause harm,” Padua explained.

Lacsamana said CEPMO is doing its best to protect and save the trees through its tree management and improvement program.

“If we can salvage these ailing trees, then we do so as we have trained personnel to undertake tree surgery in partnership with other agencies,” she said.

Under the program, trees damaged by pests will undergo tree surgery while those severely damaged or with center rot will have to undergo sanitation cutting to avoid infecting other trees or posing danger to lives and properties.

The management program also covers tree rejuvenation through trimming and aesthetic pruning as what was done recently to trees at the Rizal Park and the center islands of Session Road.

Lacsamana said CEPMO does not employ pruning and trimming indiscriminately. On the contrary, pruning is done only to trees that show viability to regrow or rejuvenate and this is done in consultation with experts.

“Some trees, as they age, have difficulty to grow new leaves and branches especially those exposed to carbon and soot. That is the appropriate time to do trimming and pruning to allow them to rebloom especially at the onset of the rainy season,” she said.

Lacsamana said this is also in line with the city’s safety and precautionary strategy to protect the public from breaking or falling branches during the typhoon season. (Aileen Refuerzo/PIO)