Park's oaks deliberately poisoned
Two towering oak trees in Richmond’s Washbourn Gardens have been deliberately poisoned in what Tasman district Mayor Richard Kempthorne has described as a disgusting act of vandalism.
The two Holm oaks have been a feature of Washbourn Gardens since they were planted the original homestead, built in 1924.
But this week Tasman District Council confirmed that the 20-metre tall trees have been poisoned and council staff and arborists are trying desperately to save the evergreens.
Mr Kempthorne said they didn’t know who had poisoned the trees and had reported the vandalism to police. He said damage was first noticed last October.
‘‘I’m highly disgusted they have been poisoned – it’s inexcusable,’’ he said. ''A lot of people will be very angry about this.’’
Mr Kempthorne said the council took the issue very seriously but there was no way of proving who was responsible for poisoning the trees. Earlier this year the council successfully prosecuted a landowner for employing a contractor to fell 110 native trees illegally in Stephens Bay.
Richmond arborist Brad Cadwallader said he first noticed that something was wrong with the trees last October. When he inspected them he discovered that ‘‘eight to nine holes’’ had been drilled in the trunks of the trees and poison poured into the holes.
Mr Cadwallader estimated that 30 per cent of the foliage of the worst affected tree had now died off, with large areas of brown leaves visible in the canopy.
‘‘We tested the wood and got a positive for a herbicide,’’ he said. ‘‘So we re-drilled the holes to remove the poison and treated them and now we are monitoring them.
‘‘It can take up to two years for a tree to recover from being poisoned like this so we haven’t given up on them yet.’’