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Ishigaki battling to save its Deigo trees

Date Posted: 2010-06-11

Insects seem to have the upper hand at the moment, but Ishigaki City Offices and a NPO foundation are joining forces to wage war and save hundreds and hundreds of infected Deigo flower trees.

The Deigo is Okinawa Prefecture’s official flower, and it’s pretty red blooms are a tasty treat for bugs. NPO foundation Flower and Green Ishigakijima has joined the struggle against the insects, starting with a single old tree in the downtown area that’s being ravaged. Ishigaki City has 114 Deigo trees that are infested by bugs, and NPO volunteers will need to inject medicines into each and every tree to save them.

There are more than 632 Deigo trees in the city—and more than 1,000 across the island--and officials say there’s simply not enough money to purchase the medicines necessary to defeat the bugs. The Ishigaki City Office says its budget of ¥15 million ($170,454) is well below what’s necessary. Donations are being sought by Ishigaki City Office and NPO Flower and Green Ishigakijima.

Treatment of the oldest sick tree began last week, with volunteers and elementary school children together injecting medicine into a hole in the 130-year-old tree. Once medicines are injected, the hole must be covered with additional medicine. After the volunteers treated the first 14 of the sick trees, Ishigaki City Mayor Yoshitaka Nakayama appealed “we would like to ask everyone to please become a supporter of a Deigo tree. We need more medicine and we need to raise more donations to buy medicines.”


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