Tree poisonings stump Meyerland residents

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Meyerland residents want to find the person who is poisoning and hacking trees

He jogs by a row of small trees along Rice Avenue almost daily, but Tres Young never noticed that somebody was attacking the trees at the corner of Grape and Rice until Eyewitness News pointed out the problem.

"It looks like somebody sprayed some sort of herbicide around the grass and the tree," said Young, who lives just around the corner. "It's dead around the trees."

A tipster led Eyewitness News to these half dozen loquat trees in Meyerland. The trees have obvious hack marks along every trunk. In addition, some sort of herbicide has been sprayed on the trees. After we were tipped off, we contacted the City of Houston's Parks Department. The city quickly sent out an urban forestry supervisor, Jeremy Burkes, who confirmed our tipster's suspicions.

"It looks like someone's trying to kill the tree," said Burkes. "I don't know what chemical is sprayed on there, but it's obvious someone's trying to kill this tree."

Burkes said because the trees are in between the sidewalk and the street, they are city property. According to Burkes, loquat trees are not a protected species, but cutting trees down on city property still requires a permit. He added it's never acceptable to just poison trees.

The property next to the trees is empty and for sale. The neighbor next door to the corner property is Jim Walters. Walters insists he has no idea who may be responsible.

"I have been watching the property, but not doing anything to the trees," said Walters, who told us that any allegations that he has something to do with the trees would be false.

The city says it will monitor the situation, but it does not know if these trees will survive the poisoning. As for whomever may be doing it, Young says he hopes they stop.

"I don't know why anyone would go out to attack a small tree like this on city property."
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