City of Cape Town sounds alarm over poisoning of gum trees
This month, the City’s horticulturists carried out a site inspection in Kenilworth and confirmed that a gum tree, between 75 and 100 years old, was poisoned. Several holes had been drilled around the base of the tree and a herbicide injected into the holes, leaving a blue stain. It is estimated that the tree could be 25m in height and 16m in width.
The poisoned gum tree is dying and will have to be removed before it becomes a danger.
Mayco member for community services and health Zahid Badroodien said: “The intentional destruction of trees is worrying as it indicates the lengths some will go to destroy trees that play such a vital role in the ecosystem and urban landscape.
“Apart from the aesthetic value, trees also have environmental benefits such as cooling, shade for people, providing a safe space for birds and the absorption of carbon dioxide.
“Trees could also add up to 15% to property values and save on air- conditioning costs, which is an economic benefit.
“The City views this illegal activity in a serious light and will investigate this to hold those responsible to account,” Badroodien said.
In October, nine gum trees along Racecourse Road in Durbanville were targeted. Various methods of poisoning are being used, such as the application of a herbicide to the soil around three trees. Others were poisoned by full spray cover and infected by poison injected into drilled holes in the trees, as in Kenilworth.
The recreation and parks department suspects there could be various motives for the poisoning, such as leaves and seed capsules falling on properties, risk of tree branches or the entire tree falling, and where trees are standing in the way of development.
Residents who may have any information on the tree poisonings can email the City Arborist at [email protected] They can also call the City’s emergency number: 107 (cellphone) or 0214807700 (landline).