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11 June, 2021

High tree-son in Port Douglas

THE Douglas Shire Community, from my experience, is extremely meticulous when it comes to preservation of the environment, so it was a gut-wrenching blow when news spread, in mid-March, that virtually half of the iconic Warner Street Rosewood Trees, had been potentially poisoned.


By mid-April, an independent arborist report, commissioned by Douglas Shire Council, recommended the urgent removal of a number of trees due to their deteriorating health. Fortunately, these trees were saved from botanical death row, after a second independent arborist report recommended that further maintenance and monitoring may give them a chance of survival, due to a sample showing good sap flow and no hydraulic failure.

A mid-May toxicology report, commissioned by Council, confirmed a number of them had actually been poisoned.

Apart from questioning the reason for this senseless act, one has to ask just how it was carried out? This wasn’t just a couple of trees, but pretty much the whole eastern side of Warner Street.

Laboratory tests found concentrated traces of chemicals called dicamba and metolachlor OXA in samples taken from the leaves of the impacted trees. These chemicals are found in common herbicides easily purchased from hardware and agricultural suppliers.

As we await the latest update from Council and with the fate of these fine specimens still unknown, one can almost sense the potential for some ‘Council Bashing’, to commence.

Certain social media posts have already suggested that the Douglas Shire Council may even be responsible for this poisoning.

Well, this typifies a  ‘Keyboard Warrior’ at their very worst.

So before the verbal tree felling gets underway, let’s consider the facts,

Council have kept the public informed at all times, contacting Warner Street stakeholders (a government term for residents and those with a direct involvement or interest), and inviting members of the public to register for updates.

They have continued to closely monitor the trees and give them the best chance of survival, including aerating the root zones and applying a broad-spectrum fertiliser to improve their health. Pruning has also taken place to keep the street safe for motorists and pedestrians

Council may still consider filing a police report and has committed to replacing any trees, required for removal, with six-metre-high rosewood trees.

Unfortunately, the culprits at the ‘root’ of this travesty are still at large, so if anyone is to receive any ‘stick’ it should be them.

Before I’m ‘had up’ for tree-son, it’s time for Gazza to sign out.

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You can catch up with Gazza each weekday afternoon between 4 – 7 pm on 90.9 FAB FM in Port Douglas.

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