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14 May, 2021

Dying Rosewood trees in Port Douglas were poisoned

A toxicology report commissioned by Douglas Shire Council has confirmed that a much move avenue of Rosewood trees on Warner Street, Port Douglas were poisoned.


The laboratory tests found concentrated traces of chemicals called dicamba and metolachlor OXA in samples taken from the leaves of impacted trees.

These chemicals are found in a variety of common herbicides that can be easily purchased from hardware and agricultural suppliers.

Council will send the toxicology results to two independent arborists to provide an expert conclusion of the findings and further recommendations.

The two initial arborist reports, which presented differing views on what may have occurred, and toxicology report is available for viewing at Council’s website to assist with the public’s understanding.

 A council spokesperson confirmed, ““the laboratory tests found concentrated traces of chemicals called dicamba and metolachlor OXA in samples taken from the leaves of impacted trees,” a council spokesman said.

"These chemicals are found in a variety of common herbicides that can be easily purchased from hardware and agricultural suppliers.”

Crews recently pruned the affected trees to keep the street safe for motorists and pedestrians, with the root zones of trees to be aerated and a broad-spectrum fertiliser applied to improve their health.

While a number of trees still show signs of life, there is hope for their survival and Council will continue to work with arborists to give the impacted trees the best chance of survival.

Over the past two years, Council has worked very closely with stakeholders to ensure the beauty of the street was maintained while drainage and footpath improvements were completed. 

We acknowledge how important the avenue of trees is to our community and understand how difficult it has been for people to watch their decline in recent weeks.

Council has committed to replacing any trees required for removal with six-metre-high rosewood trees as part of a landscaping program for the street. 

Douglas Shire Mayor was appalled by the deliberate poisoning of the Rosewood trees.

“It is a very sad situation, it is absolutely appalling as this is an iconic street.”

“We have aerated and fertilised roots and there are some signs some trees may recover, if not we will  replant six-metre rosewood trees.”

“These trees are important to a lot of the community; they were planted by a well-respected local many years ago and have been a lasting legacy for his family, who are extremely upset by this,” he said.

You can access the full Arborist reports below:


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