They're called komomaki, they're made of straw and they're an eco-friendly pest control. You see them in parks in winter, but this summer a modern version appeared on a few zelkovas (keyaki in Japanese) in Nishi-Shinjuku. The whole street in front of the Keio Plaza Hotel is lined with gorgeous, towering, massive trees; but the wraps appear on only a small number. Perhaps it's an experiment?
The straw mats protect pine trees against pine moths (マツカレハ or matsukareha, Dendrolimus spectabilis); these modern fabric versions protect zelkovas against an insect called aodougane (アオドウガネ, Anomala albopilosa).
The mat serves as a trap: it's loosely tied at the top but tightly fastened at the bottom. The insects crawl into the mat for protection instead of burrowing into the tree's bark, and then you remove the mat and burn it with all its inhabitants. Baibai bugs.
|Memories of autumn. We'll have to wait three more months to see this glory again.|