Two of Warrnambool's iconic Norfolk Island pine trees have been deliberately poisoned with the city council describing the third attack in 18 months as a brazen and selfish.
Council arborists last week discovered another two of the century-old trees in Nicholson Street, on the south side, with drill holes and fresh wood shavings.
The council's trees and botanicals team leader John Sheely said the trees were significant and of huge value, both aesthetically and financially.
"Vigil residents were concerned about two trees that looked to be declining in health," Mr Sheely said. "The foliage had died back."
It follows an attack directly opposite on another tree on the street's north side in mid-2020 and again in January this year, when new holes were found near the base.
He hoped the tree would reshoot but said it was unlikely.
The council is assessing it and yet to make a decision about its future.
IN OTHER NEWS:
"They're going to slowly decline. If the 2020 tree is any example they'll decline to the point where they won't support any live foliage," he said.
"It's a significant avenue of trees that someone's chosen to remove or poison.
"We're seeking some external advice about whether there's remedial treatments we can apply to the trees but unfortunately once the poison enters the system of the tree it's very difficult to get it out."
He said while staff had been monitoring the original tree "it wasn't on our radar that they would go further".
"It's my assumption that the same person would be responsible for poisoning these two additional trees.
"They're just too close to each other.
"You can assume it's in relation to a view because the trees are far enough away to not be an issue in terms of people's gutters or infringing on their property."
He said it was a selfish act and would cost the community, both aesthetically and financially, if they had to be removed and replaced.
"We view trees as community assets. It's disturbing that people think they have the right to do this to the community," he said.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.