60kg of neem paste for dying rain trees


MUMBAI: Around 60kg of neem paste is being prepared for infected rain trees of Mumbai. An NGO from the suburbs is attempting to treat rain trees, which have been infected by mealybugs, by applying neem paste to the roots of the trees. The first treatment would be given to the trees on May 7 at Santacruz (E).

TOI had earlier reported how senior citizens from Santacruz’s H-West Ward Federation had tried this method and were thrilled when they saw flowers bloom back on at least two rain trees in their locality. Anandini Thakoor, chairperson of H-West Ward Federation, said, “Since then we have been spreading the word among our associate organizations about the benefits of applying neem paste to the roots of trees.”

NGO Forum for Improving Quality of Life in Mumbai Suburbs (IQOLIMS) has taken up on itself to treat the infected trees. As per a 2008 census, most of the trees in Mumbai are over 30 to 40 years old and they are prone to attacks by pests. Since last year, several rain trees had been attacked by mealy bugs, claim authorities.

Leena Prabhoo, IQOLIMS chairperson, said, “We realized that the roots were covered with tar and that is why trees were choking. We plan to apply the 60kg neem paste on 47 rain trees on May 7. The H-east ward’s garden department officials have agreed to provide us with water tankers and required labour.”

Interestingly, a BMC report on rain tree attack by mealybugs states in the measures’ taken list that the agency had tried using neem paste to save the trees. It is stated as: “Applying neem pulp or neem oil around tree trunk and tree basin, which acts as a repellent to pest avoiding further attack and transmission.” Vijay Hire, superintendent of BMC’s gardens department, said they have been trying to seek expert’s opinion and that recently two experts had inspect the trees.

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