700-year-old Banyan tree in southern India put on a 'drip' to save it

The Banyan tree is thought to be one of the oldest of its kind in the world.

April 20, 2018, 2:00 PM
PHOTO: 700-year-old Banyan tree put on a pesticide "drip" The tree, thought to be one of the oldest of its kind in the world, was found to be infested with termites is seen here in this undated file photo.
700-year-old Banyan tree put on a pesticide "drip" The tree, thought to be one of the oldest of its kind in the world, was found to be infested with termites is seen here in this undated file photo.
Forest Department/Telangana

A 700-year-old Banyan tree whose branches spread across about three acres is believed to be one of the oldest and largest of its kind in the world.

But when one of the branches of the tree in Telangana in southern India broke off in December, forest officials found the tree to be infested with termites, and the area, a major tourist destination, was immediately closed to the public. The tree has now been put on a "drip" of diluted pesticides.

The Banyan is the national tree of India and is considered sacred by Hindus.

‘We drilled holes in the affected branches and injected the pesticide, chlorpyrifos, every two meters," Chukka Ganga Reddy, the District Forest Officer told ABC News. Two meters is about 6.5 feet.

"We are maintaining the flow of the chemical through drips," Reddy said. "We are also washing the roots with the same pesticide and treating the adjoining areas to prevent the termites spreading."

Concrete pillars are also being built to support the sprawling branches of the tree. Banyan trees are known to spread laterally as roots dropped by their branches mature into thick trunks which support the tree.

"The results are encouraging, and we hope the tree will recover in two to three months. We will then decide when to open the area for tourists," Reddy said.

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