The Mosta Local Council is currently undertaking works as part of the regeneration project of the Mosta Square. The work will entail the transplanting of ficus trees to the area of Santa Margerita in Mosta.

Ficus trees are a hardy species and normally survive transplanting if such transplanting is done at the appropriate time of the year, normally between November and February. For successful transplanting trees need to be devoid of the canopy and the smaller branches to enable them to survive the move.

In the case of the Mosta square trees, the permit was issued during the most suitable period for transplanting of trees, whereby it allows for the tree to acclimatise, and roosting birds are versatile to find alternative trees, during this period when winter has not set in yet, until the new trees grow enough to have a hosting canopy.

The permit issued by ERA imposes the replanting of replacement trees that would have a good canopy that allows for shade and bird nesting.  These include Holm Oaks and Judas Trees.

There are instances where trees in the urban environment are required to be removed to implement urban regeneration projects, tackle damage caused by the roots of some tree species and allow the use of public open spaces in a more practical way.  We also need to consider that project proponents, who are often obliged by ERA to plant trees as part of their projects, are not discouraged from planting more trees due to fear of having a lifelong commitment to preserve them without the possibility of future embellishment of their localities/projects. With careful planning, such interventions may be allowed in a careful manner and without resulting in a net environmental loss.

13 November 2023