Thousands of trees were destroyed by typhoon Vincente, which caused the strongest typhoon signal, no. 10, to be issued for the first time since 1999. One tree near our place had its main trunk snapped into two, while the base of the tree was still firmly rooted to the soil. The wind was just too strong, or the tree itself was not strong enough to withstand such great force. There probably isn’t very much that can be done about that.
Another one nearby, however, was uprooted. Its roots simply could not hold on to the soil under such great force. Perhaps its roots were not given enough room to to grow, to secure a grip strong enough to withstand a typhoon at signal 10 strength?
It is well known that a healthy ree needs roots that mimic the shape of the crown. A tree with a broad high crown has broad, deep roots. Most of the trees in the urban areas in Hong Kong, unfortunately, do not have that luxury. Most are forced to grow in shallow and narrow pits, which are only a fraction of the size of their crowns. Often concrete is poured over their roots, so that it is hard for them to obtain the air, water, and nutrients that they need. It can be said that we have been abusing our trees all along. Many of them are tenacious enough to survive such abuse. But it does not mean that it is right.
When will we stop doing that?