The city of Santa Maria is requesting the public's help in gathering information about three trees on West Main and West Taft streets that were killed after being drilled into and apparently injected with chemicals.
According to city spokesman Mark van de Kamp, the first two trees were discovered Monday by a Park and Urban Forest employee at 527 W. Main St., where a subsequent arborist investigation revealed multiple fresh drill holes at the tree's base, backfilled by a type of caulking.
Drill holes at the base of a tree are typically indicative of chemical injection, and the city will be working with a tree pathologist to determine how the trees were killed and if any chemicals were used, he said.
On Thursday, a third tree that appeared to have been killed in the same manner was discovered two miles away at 307 W. Taft St., during a routine dead tree removal by the same employee.
Damage of trees by residents or businesses can result in fines for the value of the tree as well as the cost of the removal, according to the Santa Maria Municipal Code.
According to van de Kamp, the damage to the three trees is estimated to total $7,900. not including fees for the removal or replacement of the trees.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the city Recreation and Parks Department at 805-925-0951, ext. 2260.
Laura Place covers city government for the Santa Maria Times.
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