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Vandalism Kills Eucalyptus Tree in California
Gasoline and Nails Damage Tree Beyond Saving


The tree in question is a Eucalyptus cladocalyx, or sugar gum eucalyptus, native to South Australia. A healthy tree can live 50 to 150 years, according to Cal Poly's Urban Forest Ecosystems Institute.

Efforts by the city arborist to save a 50-foot tall sugar gum eucalyptus tree damaged by vandals in Laguna Beach, California, have proven unsuccessful.

In August, a resident reported the smell of fuel near the tree. The city's fire department responded and found that gasoline had been poured on its base. An absorbent was applied to remove the fuel.

A few weeks later, copper nails were found embedded in the base of the tree. They were promptly removed.

The tree was placed into the care of the city's consulting arborist following the gasoline incident. At that time, the arborist recommended removing the paper pulp from around the tree, and scrubbing with a soft brush and soap to remove any remaining fuel. The tree did not appear damaged beyond recovery at the time, and continued to be monitored.

In recent weeks, the consulting arborist reported that the repeated attacks had taken their toll, and the tree was not likely to recover. It has since died and will be removed by the city's public works department since it has become a fire hazard.

Tree vandalism is not uncommon in Laguna Beach - in November 2016, someone cut gashes into five 40-year old eucalyptus trees outside a luxury hotel, and in May 2017, a resident reported that someone had driven nails into the base of a tree on her property.

The Laguna Beach Police Department has no leads on who the vandal might be and as such is not conducting an investigation into the matter.

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March 17, 2018, 9:22 am PDT

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Last Updated 03-15-18
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