Tree hospital: Unique teacher-student joint initiative in Bengal’s Hooghly district

KOLKATA: Iconic Indian scientist and botanist, Jagadish Chandra Basu pioneered the thought that plants are like any other life form. Inspired by that thought, the teachers and students of Balagarh Bijoy Krishna College in Hooghly district of West Bengal have started a unique “Tree Hospital“.
Principal of the college, Pratap Banerjee told IANS that often people plant trees out of fascination but forgetting that fact that only planting saplings are not enough since they also need proper nourishment and at times treatment just like human beings.
“Often, house owners who plant trees within their residences face a variety of problems relating to the health of the plants like yellowing, wilting or dying leaves, dark spots of leaves, trunk and branch cankers, fungal accumulation and dying trunks,” he added.
In such cases the plant-owners resort to replacement of the ailing trees or plants without understanding that like human bodies such plant ailments can be cured as per advice of professional arborists.
The tree hospital started by the collge will exactly serve that purpose, where the plant and tree owners can contact them and get their plants treated and nourished so that instead of replacement the same old plant or tree can survive in good conditions.
Besides providing treatment facilities for the trees, the proposed tree hospital, which will have a number of arborists, will also provide advisory services, so that the plant or tree owners will provide healing services as per the advice of the experts.
Banerjee also said that the Balagarh area is the nursery hub of the district.
“However, many of them do not have the technical expertise on how plant diseases can be treated. So, our project is basically aimed at educating these nursery owners about the common plant diseases and how to heal them. The members of the local nature club and West Bengal Nursery Association have also partnered with us. We have started it in a small way but surely together we can achieve our goal for a greener world,” Banerjee said.
Arborists are of the opinion that the health of the trees or plants are drastically affected by the attacks of insects and pests.
What is necessary in this regard is identification of the nature of pest infection after evaluating their symptoms and accordingly draw out an effective treatment plan.