Tree hole paintings bring warmth this holiday season

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Long Gang / Ti Gong

A new tree hole painting on Sichuan Road N. in Hongkou District.

Graffiti paintings in tree hollows along local streets have become a new trend in Shanghai to transform natural cavities into works of art and warm urban decoration in the cold season.

Animals like kangaroos, birds, peacocks, penguins and chinchillas as well as other natural dwellers in tree holes have been painted on a dozen trees with hollows along Sichuan Road N. and North Bund in Hongkou District.

Tree holes can be caused when an injury to the tree, such as a broken branch, creates an opening through the bark and exposes the sapwood.

The local greenery authority typically uses cement, lime, and other materials to fill tree hollows in winter to protect the sapwood from fungi and bacteria.

Tree hole paintings bring warmth this holiday season

Long Gang / Ti Gong

Another example of a tree hole painting on Sichuan Road N.

However, the gray scar-like spots are often considered an eyesore to pedestrians and are not in keeping with the urban environment.

Hongkou City Landscaping and Appearance Bureau invited professional painters and graffiti artists to decorate tree holes with innovative paints as part of a pilot project.

They first removed the decaying material from the hollows of the trees and lined the cavity with fire retardant materials. The surfaces of the tree hollows were then sanded and sealed with waterproof paint. They then used environmentally friendly pigments to paint the hollows of the trees.

The small animals now seem to live or to hide in the hollows while greeting passers-by.

Tree hole paintings bring warmth this holiday season

Long Gang / Ti Gong

Artists were invited to create paintings on tree hollows in Hongkou.

The paints do not injure trees, but repair and cover holes and prevent water loss, an office official said. Each refill will last at least two years.

The practice has garnered praise from locals and will therefore be promoted in more streets and parks in Hongkou, officials said.

Zhou Jing, a resident living near Sichuan Road N., said that the paintings of tree holes not only beautified the shopping street, but also made children aware of environmental protection.

“My daughter complained that the ugly cement filling the hollows in the trees spoiled her good mood. Now she is happy to see the colorful paintings,” Zhou explained.

Tree hole paintings bring warmth this holiday season

Long Gang / Ti Gong

A new tree hole painting on the North Bund in Hongkou.

Tree hole paintings bring warmth this holiday season

Long Gang / Ti Gong

Another tree hole painting on the North Bund.

Tree hole paintings bring warmth this holiday season

Long Gang / Ti Gong

A fine example of a tree hole painting on the North Bund.

Tree hole paintings bring warmth this holiday season

Long Gang / Ti Gong

The North Bund is now full of paintings of tree holes.

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