Road of poisonous trees angers residents

TOXIC TREE: Torbay residents are objecting to the planting of potentially toxic trees on their roadside berm.
MARYKE PENMAN/ Fairfax NZ
TOXIC TREE: Torbay residents are objecting to the planting of potentially toxic trees on their roadside berm.

Angry North Shore residents have objected to the planting of trees that produce a potentially fatal fruit along a busy road.

Auckland Transport contractors planted 64 white cedar trees along Glamorgan Dr, Torbay, as replacements for ''inappropriate trees'' removed under resource consent.

The deciduous trees are also known as melia azedarach and grow up to 12 metres tall.

They are prolific seed producers and are considered a weed in some countries. The trees produce a small yellow fruit poisonous to humans and some mammals. Reports suggest eating six to eight fruits can be fatal.

Trevor Minty said he and his neighbours are furious the planting has gone ahead despite their objections.

''We are responsible for looking after the berms but we don't get a say in what goes on them. It's hard enough to see coming out of our driveways - this is a main bus route and commuter road. Now we'll have the trees to contend with as well.''

An Auckland Transport spokesman said the trees would be pruned by contractors three times a year for the first two years, after which they will be maintained less frequently.

The spokesman said white cedar trees were common in Auckland and there had been no reports of poisoning incidents.

''This is because a large number of the berries need to be consumed to cause an adverse effect, and they are very bitter and unpleasant to humans.''

Minty said the trees will eliminate his property's most valuable asset.

''When I bought the house there was nothing threatening to block my sea views. But in a few years time I will lose them completely.

''Meanwhile my rates are going up regardless,'' he said.

Residents are asked to call Auckland Transport on 355 3553 if they have any concerns.

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