Tree vandalism incidents discovered across the district 12 October 2018 We're into spring, the season of new growth and the Coromandel is starting to blossom. Sadly however, recent cases of tree vandalism in our district have put a dampener on the new season for many of our communities. Photo: Mercury Bay Community Board members with new 'Help us to protect our trees' signage. Left to right: Paul Kelly, Deli Connell, Tony Fox, Murray McLean, Rekha Giri-Percival and Bill McLean. Eight pohutukawa trees on the Taputapuatea Spit in Whitianga were cut down recently and approximately a dozen pine trees have been vandalised at the Pauanui Estuary near Pleasant Point. These are now dying and will be removed for safety reasons; however we’re looking at re-planting in the future. We've also replaced various trees on the harbour front in Tairua as tree poisoning continues there. “The cutting down of the pohutukawa trees on the Taputapuatea Spit is a sad and senseless act,” says our Mayor Sandra Goudie. “Our iconic, native pohutukawa trees are under enough stress from factors such as Myrtle Rust as it is, and this is an entirely preventable incident.” Photo: (below) shows trees in Tairua that have been replaced due to vandalism and continue to be poisoned. Over the years there have been cases where trees that may have grown higher or developed bigger branches over the year are poisoned or vandalised because they're blocking a bit of somebody's view. Cases of tree destruction have been taken to court when enough evidence for prosecution has been gathered and in one case, in 2007, our Council was successful in bringing a $70,000 fine against a landowner who removed trees on a reserve for view purposes. “Our Council takes this sort of vandalism very seriously and we ask the community to be vigilant and support us in preventing this sort of wilful damage to our trees,” says Mayor Sandra. “Tell us or contact the police directly if you know anything about this particular event or if you have any concerns about anything similar in the future.” In the Mercury Bay area the local Community Board is getting large signs put up in the place where the pohutukawas were destroyed. "We often find more incidents happen towards summer, particularly when people come back to their bach to find trees have grown. It's a great shame someone would resort to killing our beautiful native coastal trees on a public reserve that are there for the enjoyment of everybody,” says Mayor Sandra. If you have an issue with a tree come into one of our offices and talk about it. In many cases there may be professional tree management options that might help. An individual may benefit from this vandalism, but the general ratepayer picks up the cost of tree works. That’s why Council is keen in all cases of tree vandalism, to recover costs. Alternatively, contact our Customer Service team on 07 868 0200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to talk about trees or launch a request for service on our website: www.tcdc.govt.nz/rfs. What are the options for trees on Council land that you perceive block a view? Dependent upon the tree, species, location, age there are a few things that can be done. Deadwooding: Most trees are self-pruning and dead wood will drop from the trees, but this does not happen all at once, so by removing wood that is dead, we can improve the health of the tree, let more light through the canopy, and possibly improve views. Crown thinning: This is like deadwooding, but also includes the removal of live wood as well. This may include the removal of branches that have not formed well, may be rubbing against each other, or may be inherently weak. The benefits or the side effects can be similar to deadwooding. Crown lifting: This is where the canopy is trimmed to lift it higher. This can be done for many reasons, including public safety; for example, if a tree has branches over a footpath at head height there's a risk of injury. Power lines clearance: This is generally escalated to Powerco's contractors who need to undertake the work due to the hazardous nature of working near live power cables. If the tree is dead or believed to be threatening life, property or essential services we will visit the site. The advice of an independent arborist may be sought if the officer believes there is no threat or if there may be objections from other parties to Council action regarding the tree.