Alleged Poisoning of Twizel Tree

Council has recently been made aware of a tree in Twizel which is deteriorating, and allegations have been made that the tree was deliberately poisoned and poses a health and safety risk.

An arborist has assessed the tree and found the following:

  • The Poplar tree (Populus deltoides) has evidence of several holes having been drilled into it.
  • A poison may have been applied although there is no firm evidence of this, but this is assumed as the purpose.
  • Half of the tree appears to be affected with a clear loss of leaves and general deterioration.
  • Contary to speculation in the media there is no immediate danger, however the tree will ultimately need to be removed because it is in decline

Council contracts arborists to inspect trees on council owned land and carry out necessary maintenance work as a matter of routine, and removal will likely take place in the New Year alongside other routine tree maintenance which involves removals and/or pruning.

Note that we contract a professional arborist to assess trees then obtain quotes from other providers to do the physical works following Councils Procurement (This ensures transparency and gives assurance that the arborist isn't recommending un-necessary work).

This particular type of Poplar (one of the Cottonwood poplars) at this time of year produces masses of "cotton", apparently up to 40 million strands per mature tree which is a real nuisance for a period to home owners close by. Further details of the species can be found by clicking on the link:

If residents and ratepayers discover issues with trees or Council assets or have concerns, we ask that in the first instance Council is notified (, (03) 685 9010 or via a Facebook message) so that staff can organise a proper assessment before deciding on an appropriate course of action.

Council has expressed an intention to develop a comprehensive plan for the management of trees in the District, and details of this will be shared as work progresses.

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