Mon, Apr 1, 2024 1:35 PM

Trees ‘poisoned’ at home of cricket in Marlborough


Maia Hart

The health of “poisoned trees” at the home of cricket in Marlborough is being closely monitored by council staff and contractors.

An arborist first noticed the large plane trees at Blenheim’s Horton Park had holes drilled into them.

A report to the council assets and services committee in March said the “visible decline” in the health of the plane trees meant it was clear a substance had been poured into the holes.

The holes had been “filled and capped”, the report said.

“A mulch has been placed around the trees to keep moisture in and any heavy equipment associated with cricket activity at the park has been moved away from the base of the trees.”

The holes drilled into the trees have been filled. MAIA HART/LDR

Marlborough Cricket general manager Ed Gilhooly said he did not know the trees had been poisoned until the council told him.

Until that point, he just thought the trees were dropping their leaves due to the dry summer.

“I don't think anyone had commented on it either.

“But clearly, now you look at them knowing they’ve been poisoned and realise they’re not looking too healthy.”

He said it was disappointing someone had poisoned them.

“They actually provide nice shade, in terms of Horton Park. The best grass is nearer those trees because they’ve been shaded from the sun a bit more, so it’s really healthy.”

He said trees were always important at cricket matches for spectators.

“You do need grounds that have got a bit of shade, especially in a hot place like Marlborough in the middle of summer.

“Although, it doesn’t shelter us from the easterly winds, unfortunately.”

Foliage on the trees has started dropping. MAIA HART/LDR

Graeme Percy, who owned a rental property next to the trees, said he was concerned more trees would be harmed.

“We’re as concerned as anyone else to find out who did it,” Percy said.

“You could have your suspicions, but you can’t say anything, I have no evidence whatsoever.”

He had previously lived at the address and said there had been machinery, tree arsons and other issues with vandalism at the park.

“We’ve had the property for 25 years.

“We had a lot of trouble along there, a tremendous amount of trouble, and it still continues even today.

“It’s a dark area, and there is a lot of activity there at night, you wouldn’t know what’s going on.”

Percy, who had asked the council to prune the trees in the past, as had other neighbours, said the poisoning created more of an issue for him because they were dropping their leaves.

“I don’t want the trees gone, I just want them pruned.”

The Marlborough District Council was approached for comment.

LDR is local body journalism co-funded by RNZ and NZ On Air.


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