Street tree poisoning

Media Response 20 September 2016
Journalist’s background: Questions sent to all metro councils for a story on people who deliberately damage or poison street trees, for whatever reason.

The questions are as follows:

How many street trees have been poisoned, damaged or unlawfully destroyed in the City of South Perth in the past year?

How many prosecutions has the council carried out regarding poisoned or destroyed trees during the past year?

What is the City’s policy on action if it believes a street tree has been deliberately destroyed or poisoned? Ie: Does it erect signs where the tree was, replace it, take legal action if possible etc?

What reasons, if known, have been given by residents found to have poisoned, damaged or unlawfully destroyed a street tree?

Please attribute the following comments to City of South Perth Mayor Sue Doherty

The City loses approximately 4 mature or semi mature trees and 20 juvenile trees per year. 

The City is currently dealing with one prosecution. Residents have been fined for poisoning and cutting trees. When the City has confronted the resident with proof of their activities, they have paid for the replacement and care of the trees.

It is an offence for anyone to prune or remove a street tree. Records are kept of the 15,000 plus street trees in the City. When a tree has been destroyed or unlawfully removed, the City erects a sign in its place until a new tree is planted. In some instances in addition to a sign, a tree shape made of metal the same height as the tree that has been removed is put in place.

Residents reasons for removing the trees have included; leaves are dropped from the tree which take time to clean up, views are blocked, roots cause damage to properties or fences, or residents were not aware that the street tree was Council property. 

Street trees provide many benefits to the community including reducing temperatures, moderating wind, reducing water runoff, increasing real estate value and improving residents health. The City is renown for its green leafy street and is committed to manage the trees on land under our care and control, as a result it has developed an Urban Forest Policy.

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