Aggressive trimming riles Erlin Township residents

HATCHET JOB?:The firm hired by the township to trim all roadside trees lopped off the flower buds of all the floss silk trees, which bloom in the fall

By Chen Kuan-pei and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Tue, Sep 04, 2018 - Page 3

Residents of Changhua County’s Erlin Township (二林) on Sunday criticized authorities for trimming the floss silk trees (Ceiba speciosa) along Rulin Road, which are a popular tourist attraction when the trees bloom from September to November, turning the road into a “pink tunnel.”

While trimming trees along all of the township’s roads, employees of the contractor hired by the Erlin Township Office cut off the floss silk trees’ buds.

The “rough handling” of the trees was criticized by residents, who said the decision to trim the buds was “ignorant.”

By cutting off the flower buds, the office has “destroyed the aesthetics of the entire road,” a resident surnamed Yang (楊) said.

The floss silk trees on Rulin Road are a local landmark, Chen Yi-ming (陳一銘), the administrator of a public Facebook group for township residents, said on Sunday.

Residents had voted for Rulin Road to be on the route of the local marathon, so runners in this year’s Polio Run on Dec. 2 will be disappointed, he said.

However, some residents said they were in favor of trimming the trees because of the recent heavy rainfall and winds.

Erlin Township Office Chief Secretary Chuang Jung-lung (莊榮龍) said the thorns from one floss silk tree had punctured a tire on a farmer’s vehicle and injured the farmer during a typhoon.

If the tree crowns grow too tall, they could also affect the power lines, the office said, adding that it had been suggested that the entire crown be chopped off, but since the floss silk trees have been there for nearly 20 years, the office decided to just trim them each year.

However, the office did not take the tree’s blooming season into consideration when planning the tree-trimming operation, and so it would ask the contractor to trim the trees earlier next year so that the flowers would still bloom, the office said.