Officials at pains to tackle catkin menace

Updated 2017-04-12 10:30:42 Shanghai Daily

Catkin season is here in Shanghai.

Catkins -- a downy, hanging flowering spike of trees such as plane and willow, pollinated by the wind — will linger until late May, Shanghai Greenery Management Station said.

Fuxing Rd M., Shaanxi Rd S., Hengshan Road, Ruijin No.2 Road, Huaihai Rd M., Guangyue Road and Caoyang area are among the most affected areas, according to the station.

“Greenery authorities have been injecting a liquid agent into trees and trimming to curb catkin production,” said the station's Zhang Guobing.

Guangyue Road has more than 300 willow trees, and Hongkou District's greenery management authorities have been experimenting with injecting a liquid agent into them to keep catkins under control. “In the past, we received residents' complaints of coughing, sneezing, tears and itching of skin because they were allergic to catkins,” said Li Zhihua, an official with the district greenery management affairs center. “Now, complaints have dropped significantly due to control measures.”

Sixian Park and Songjiang Central Park have received similar catkin treatment from Songjiang District's greenery authorities.

The district's greenery authorities have been keeping injecting on 300-plus willow trees since 2014.

“Our observation found the injection had no negative impact on the health and growth of willows and the best time of injection is May,” Shen Wenbin, a district greenery official, said.

Plane trees account for about 30 percent of Shanghai's 1 million or so street trees.

“Catkin is so disturbing in spring because I am sensitive to pollen and catkins and I have to wear a mask every time I go to work to avoid skin itching and sneezing,” said Iris Li, a travel agency staff worker who lives on Jianguo Rd W. where plane trees are planted. But plane trees offset the catkin problem by offering shade from sunshine and by purifying the air quality, said Zhang.

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