Vandals have poisoned five trees – valued at $60,000 – in Taylors Lakes.
Brimbank council believes the trees, which are on the corner of Parmelia Drive and Benton Way, were poisoned in late 2018.
It said aerial photographs of Taylors Lakes show the trees in good health at that time.
The council has not said what the trees were poisoned with.
Council infrastructure and city services director Neil Whiteside said the five trees, including four mature trees, were eucalyptus polyanthemos, or red box, and capable of growing up to 15 metres.
He said the trees were on council’s preferred species list and would be replaced.
“Council has installed signs to alert people to the damage, request information and raise awareness about the benefits of street trees,” Mr Whiteside said.
“Council will trim the trees to make them safe. We’ll leave them standing for a while with a sign saying that poisoning is illegal vandalism. After that, we’ll replace the trees with a similar-sized eucalyptus in line with our Urban Forest Strategy.”
The Parmelia Drive trees are among 600 trees vandalised in Brimbank last year. That figure accounts for 12 per cent of trees planted or being maintained in Brimbank.
Mr Whiteside said most of the vandalism was to street trees, although the council also experienced a small number of vandalism incidents involving multiple trees in parks and reserves. He said trees were important to Brimbank as they helped cool suburbs, shade paths and beautify neighbourhoods.
“Council is working hard to increase the number of street trees … to help protect our neighbourhoods from the urban heat island effect – which can significantly increase temperatures in built-up areas,” he said.
“Council selects street trees that will suit each particular planting site, fit in with neighbourhood character, thrive in local conditions and minimise potential interference with existing infrastructure.”
Anyone with concerns about trees near their property – or who wants to report damaged trees – is asked to contact council on 9249 4000.