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Council recreation manager Erik van der Spek said yesterday a council arborist discovered the alleged intentional poisoning of the "very large" gum trees at the Cross St corner of the Oamaru Public Gardens a week ago while conducting a tree-risk assessment.
Three trees showed signs of dieback and had holes drilled into their trunks (inset).
It was likely the poisoning occurred some time in the last month.
The arborist had advised the trees could recover.
Asked about a possible motive, or if the council had received any complaints about the trees, Mr van der Spek said, "I wouldn't want to speculate."
The council would treat any information provided by the public on the alleged poisoning confidentially.