Dumb act forces council to chop down 100-year-old trees
SIX historic trees are dead and Ipswich City Council suspects foul play.
The usually peaceful surrounds of Queens Park appear to have been targeted by a serial tree poisoner, with a group of ornamental Ficus microcarpa trees falling victim.
The trees, located near the children's playground, are thought to be more than 100 years old, but now will have to be felled in the interest of public safety.
City parks spokesman David Morrison said council officers first noticed changes in the trees in March.
"When we became aware of the trees' poor health we soaked the area with water daily over several weeks to try and flush any possible contaminants away from the extended root area," Cr Morrison said.
"Unfortunately, these efforts have proven unsuccessful and the trees have continued to deteriorate, with the dieback of large limbs and branches becoming apparent.
"It is disappointing that someone appears to have poisoned these wonderful trees and council has been left with no choice but to fell the trees for safety reasons."
An independent Arboricultural consultant report found the trees most likely died from herbicide poisoning.
The Ficus microcarpa will get the last laugh, with council planning to plant six new trees in the same position.
"This is the second such incident in the park, with two trees removed about 12 months ago," Cr Morrison said.
"If the trees have been deliberately poisoned then the people responsible do not understand nor appreciate the significant heritage they have destroyed."
Council is hunting information on the poisoning incidents and anyone with a useful tip stands to receive a $4000 reward.
Owing to Queens Park being heritage listed, council has advised the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection.