Monumental plane tree in Istanbul brought back to life
Before a storm hit Istanbul in July 2017, knocking down 2,118 trees across the city, including the giant plane tree that had been adoring the Çengelköy Pier Square for 184 years, residents used to enjoy sitting under its shade, feeling the sweetness of the wind and witnessing the serene beauty of Bosphorus.
Later, it came to light that the roots and trunk of this plane tree, which is 25 meters long and standing 10 meters away from the Marmara Sea, were rotting away due to saltwater and the effect of time.
Residents in the Çengelköy neighborhood asked Kadir Topbaş, the then-İstanbul Mayor, to save the giant tree that made the İskele Pier famous.
Upon examination conducted by experts from Istanbul Municipality, the plane tree was trimmed from a height of 8 meters as it was too weak to sustain itself properly.
After the rotten parts of the tree were thoroughly cleaned, it was disinfected with chemicals, while the base for the tree was enlarged to cover it with organic, nutrient-rich soil.
Support bars were placed on all sides of the tree to help it stand firmly, and water-absorbent mats were placed around it.
Meeting the expectations of residents, who waited and hoped for the tree to survive, the tree started to turn green again after the first year of arduous efforts by authorities. Visitors from far-off neighborhoods came specially to see the tree budding new branches and leaves.
During the second year of the tree’s recovery process, new shoots and tiny leaves budded, and finally, new branches and leaves grew, making it green again.
Becoming fuller with branches and leaves, the tree is back to its original state, proving that it is “the real owner of Pier Square” as in the old days.