By Constantinos Psillides
Nicosia Municipality has begun a radical pruning programme along major roads in the capital in an attempt to limit damage caused by an overgrowth of branches and tree roots, it said on Friday.
Pruning has been done on trees lining Makarios and Evagoas avenues, Stassinou, Salaminas and other roads.
“The decision was reached after taking into consideration the multitude of problems the trees roots caused, like damaging water pipes, wiring installations, storm drains, sidewalks and nearby buildings,” said a statement from the municipality.
“It’s urgent that we move on with the work at hand as quickly as possible.”
Besides limiting damage done to underground pipes, pruning the trees would also have other benefits, the municipality said.
It would make it easier for municipal employees to clean the pavements around the trees, storm drains would not be clogged with leaves and the area around the trees would not be full of bird droppings. The tall ficus trees were also a danger to public safety in case of a storm, the municipality added.
During a storm on September 19, 2009, the car of the Swiss ambassador to Cyprus was crushed after a large tree near the Lycavitos Police station was uprooted. The ambassador and his driver weren’t harmed.
The municipality assures any members of the public who are concerned over the radical pruning, that within a few months the trees would sprout new leaves. “But now they will also be far easier to maintain, decreasing maintenance costs,” it added.
In order to avoid further damage in buildings, the municipality has agreed with other government services to, in future, only plant trees whose roots stay close to the surface.