New Zealand - Palmerston North police are investigating the poisoning of an ash tree worth over $32,000, Senior Sergeant Brett Calkin said today.
The council-owned tree, on Totara Road on the outskirts of Palmerston North, was about 20 years old.
Mr Calkin said 13 large holes had been bored into the base of the tree, and it appeared agricultural chemicals were poured into the holes. The damage was first noticed by a resident on November 13.
It appeared likely the tree would die, and would have to be removed and replaced at a cost to ratepayers, he said. Palmerston North City Council had valued the tree at $32,452 using the standard tree evaluation method (STEM).
Damage to the tree was not a random act, Mr Calkin said, and some planning and preparation had been required.
"It would seem someone has taken a dislike to the tree for some reason, and then decided to get rid of it," he said. "It's a slow but effective way of killing the tree. I suspect the offender had no comprehension of the actual value of the tree."