Poisoned Elm

Elm trees deliberately poisoned   Kingsbridge Gazette (2018)

The vandals drilled holes into four of the elm trees and poured poison down their trunks This was a criminal act planned out by someone who knew what they were doing.
A vandal has managed to kill at least four elm trees by drilling holes and pouring poison into their trunks. The trees are in a hedgerow alongside the boundary of the allotment on Bonfire Hill, Salcombe.

Member of Salcombe Town Council and Salcombe’s tree warden, Cllr Mark Long, brought light to the issue, saying that the deliberate vandalism is “so blatantly obvious” and is left wondering what the vandal’s motive might have been.
He discovered the holes, which are about chest height and in plain view, after a member of the allotment told him that the trees were dying.
When he went to investigate, he saw that two of the trees had obviously been killed with the ivy running up them dead as well.
Upon further inspection, it is now clear that four trees have been targeted. He also noticed that various branches around the brush were brown and dead, leading him to believe that the poison could be spreading to other bushes and trees in the brush.

Cllr Long said that the last time he saw the trees was about three months ago and that they were healthy. One of the trees still has its leaves on the branches – albeit dead ones – which leads him to believe the tree died quickly. However, with the recent dry weather he is unsure of when they could have been poisoned, because without adequate rainfall, they might have been more susceptible to damage and died more quickly.
The elms aren’t encroaching on anyone’s land, nor are they overgrowing into any of the allotment squares, and they don’t appear to be blocking any estuary views as they were.

Cllr Long said that it’s sad because this act of vandalism may prevent the trees from regenerating, when even though they may have been hit by Dutch elm eventually, these may have been the few that made it through.
He speculates that the elms were about 15 years old, so still would have grown a fair amount had they remained healthy. He also said that he doesn’t think this was “just a random act of vandalism by a group of youngsters”, but a “criminal act planned out by someone who knew what they were doing”.


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