Yesterday I was told of 2 Fig trees that had been poisoned.  They are both mature Hill’s Figs & are significant street trees on Margaret Street very near the corner of Wardell Road Dulwich Hill.

You may remember that some residents wanted these trees removed a couple of years ago.  Thankfully Marrickville Council refused to comply with their wishes.  I remember these trees well because they were part of the reason why I decided to start SoT.  So here we are, 2 years later & someone has decided to poison them.  It’s such a shame.

Both of the Fig trees have many drill holes. The white drips are probably the poison. Click to enlarge.

Multiple large holes have been drilled into the base of the trunk & into the surface roots in both trees. The holes are easily visible to the naked eye.  Liquid poison was then poured into the holes.

Both trees are rapidly losing their leaves & their trunks are splitting in places.  They look gravely ill & if trees feels pain, these ones would be in agony.

I wrote to Marrickville Council who said that they are doing their best to remediate the trees.  If they are unsuccessful & the trees die, they are considering leaving the trees as they are until the decay is such that they have to be removed.  Maybe they will only remove a few branches for safety.  Maybe they will leave the trunks standing.  What they will not be doing is removing the trees anytime in the near future.  I doubt this is what the vandal is expecting.

The Figs are visible on the skyline on Wardell Road.  Margaret Street itself has 5 Hill’s Figs as street trees.  They are all growing in ample space in a lawn, which is green & without bare patches, so it must get adequate sunlight. The only concrete is to private garages.  The footpath is old bricks & would be permeable.  There is plenty of room for pedestrians & the trees have been pruned so they do not encroach on the houses.

This is one of the remaining 3 Fig trees on Margaret Street Dulwich Hill. It is very healthy as are the other trees. Compare this tree with the poisoned tree at the bottom of this post. The differences are profound.  Click to enlarge.

The trees make Margaret Street beautiful. If these trees die, it will most definitely have a negative impact by significantly lowering the property value of those close to the vandalized trees. Margaret Street is one of those streets where you go “Ahh…” as you drive or walk through it.  Nice old houses, wide green verges & beautiful Fig trees.  The birds would have loved these trees.  The other Fig trees are developing fruit at the moment.

Both trees have these signs on them.  Click to enlarge

Marrickville Council has attached signs on both sides of the trees asking for any information that will help them catch the vandal.  No Council would be happy to lose major tree assets, especially with the community calling for more street trees. Less than 2 years ago, Newcastle’s Laman Street Figs were valued at $71,420 each. I cannot think of any reason why a tree of similar size & of the same species would be valued any differently because it is in Dulwich Hill & not Newcastle.  So for Margaret Street, that would be around $142,800 worth of trees vandalised.

I could rave on about how selfish this act is. I won’t bother. What some people don’t realize is how steep the fines are for tree vandalism.  This is because it is an illegal act & because trees are valuable assets worth real money.  Street trees belong the whole community, not just the near properties or the street where they are.  The community expects Council to look after them, but how can they if our best trees are poisoned in such a sneaky & thorough manner.

Needless to say the local community is devastated.  They are also very angry.

Do you have any ideas about what you would like to see done with the trees & the space where the trees are?  If trees have been vandalized in order to enhance one’s views, some Councils install shipping containers in the their place to defeat the purpose of the vandal: The containers block the desired views for a long time after the trees are gone. We must change the culture where individuals think it is okay to kill public trees.  email your ideas & as long as they are G Rated & I will share them here & pass them on to Council – without your name of course.

I have made a short YouTube video of the trees –

One of the poisoned Hill’s Figs In Margaret Street Dulwich Hill. This tree has lost almost all its leaves