Vandals Attack Trees

Vandals Attack Trees in Public Garden: I was horrified by the news. I’m a great fan of the Halifax Public Gardens, an extraordinary public park and garden that I visit every time I’m in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada’s east coast metropolis. And much of its charm come from the extraordinary trees that decorate it.

Well, vandals broke into the Gardens on the night of July 25 and 26, 2022 and tried to kill 30 historic trees, ranging in age from 50 to 200 years old. The first report I heard was on CBC radio and it just mentioned “damage.” So I thought, “a few branches broken off, maybe some bark peeled off. Most trees can handle that. It won’t be that bad.” Then I heard the word “girdled” and my blood ran cold.

Girdling, also called ring-barking, involves is the complete removal of a ring of bark all around the trunk. With the bark gone, no more carbohydrates will be able to flow down to reach the roots. The police presume that there was more than one person involved. Currently, four trees deemed unrecoverable have been removed. In other cases, there’s hope; enough bark left intact for the trees to survive. So, the authorities have only cleaned the wound and don’t plan to carry out any further interventions. But the majority will undergo bridge grafting later this summer.

Whatever decisions are made, dealing with this disaster will cost the Halifax Regional Municipality hundreds of thousands of dollars. Already, security cameras have been installed throughout the park and there will be 24-hour tree monitoring. The park also intends to plant substitutes for certain doomed trees.

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