From the Files of What the Hell!?!? – Attempted Arborcide in Mt. Pleasant

“Dear PoPville,

In Mt Pleasant, 18th St, NW between Kenyon and Kilbourne, it seems someone is trying to kill a tree by drilling holes in the trunk and pouring salt into the holes and around the trunk. I’m guessing the tree will survive but who would do this??”

57 Comment

  • Alabama Fans

  • At first glance I was so hoping those notices were stapled/nailed to the tree.

  • Bizarre.

    Does the tree shade somebody’s lawn or drop acorns on the sidewalk in front of the perp’s house?

    I’m guessing either this person is severely disturbed or somehow the tree is causing them problems that for most normal people wouldn’t generate such a reaction.

  • Was the person in question Haydee?

  • Is that photo the only damage to the tree? Maybe we’re not getting the full picture of how damaged this tree really is, but if that’s it? I’m not so sure the person was trying to kill a tree. They might have just been playing with a drill.

    Anyone who’s killed a tree this size knows just how difficult it is. You can’t do it with a few holes and some salt. I think this might just be poor investigative work.

  • That’s Mt P for ya – pretty on the outside (if you avoid the main street), bat-sh!t crazy inside.

  • andy

    What’s strange is that the dude doing it was seen and almost got caught BUT wasn’t identifiable as a neighbor who didn’t like the tree or someone known to have a grudge against the guy who lived nearest the tree.

    What could this be if it’s not a personal grudge?

  • If they know the guy, why not put some personal info on the flyer?

  • $15,000 fine for damaging a tree? Really? What’s next, a trip to the electric chair for jaywalking?

    • joe for Mayor!

    • not saying it’s not steep, but do you know how much it would cost to replace that tree? and you’re destroying gov’t property!

    • Do you know what that tree is worth? Probably well over 100k. Trees add an astronomical amount of value to property.

    • Joe,

      Trees cost a lot of money to plant and maintain. $15k is a fraction of the money it would take to remove the dead tree, plant one of a similar type and age (if that’s even possible) and make sure it adapts to its new environment.

  • this is the weirdest f’ing thing ever. I can’t imagine how anyone except a paranoid schizophrenic could find a reason to do this.

    • Why is it that you can imagine someone with paranoid schizophrenia doing such a thing?

    • You fail to understand the rage and hate some people have for trees. I am not joking or being sarcastic. I have heard many say trees just: block their view, cover their grass with leaves, shade their grass to death, drip sap on their car, ….

      • Yeah, I’ve heard that kind of stuff, too. It’s a pretty weird pathology to get angry at trees.


        • I would not call such valid observations of the impacts of trees a pathology. Just their concluding those negatives outweigh the benefit of the tree being there. You and I may see that calculation differently, but that does not mean the other person is insane.

          • I guess it seems pathological to me because there are so many ways to simply get on with life without attacking a stationary object whose only offense is to have been planted in a place you may not like it.

            Except for blocking the view, people can trim trees to reduce the shade, rake leaves and get some exercise, move their car somewhere else (or wash it), etc. Hating an inanimate object like a tree seems pretty weird if you ask me…it’s not consciously choosing to persecute tree-haters, so why do people fixate on it as the source of their unhappiness?

        • Ha! Ha! If that would help with the humidity, I’d pay to truck it in!

  • There is unrest in the forest, there is trouble with the trees…

  • Trees make people crazy. I had to take a tree out (that was determined hazardous by DC). It was probably the worst month of my life fighting with every neighbor about my responsibility to the neighborhood. People threatened violence if the tree was removed. Of course, my responsibility, according to DC, was to pay the thousands of dollars to remove the tree (it had dropped a limb and crushed a windshield, prompting the inspection by DC).

    I have since moved and purposely chose a home with no trees on the property.

    • ah

      And on the other side of the coin, it took me nearly 2 years to get DC to remove a clearly dying street tree that was dropping limbs on the street and our yard.

      I can confess anonymously I thought about finding ways to hasten its demise, such as salting the ground.

  • Maybe the perp is related to the zookeeper?

    Though for the truth I’d ask the Lorax – he speaks for the trees.

  • Why do people think this is a deliberate act by humans? I had a tree almost die from similar holes that were caused by some sort of insect–I think a carpenter bee or something?

  • i don’t think that’s unreasonable. the tree has probably been there for about a century. it’s the utmost in disrespect for your surroundings.

  • maybe they were trying to get revenge on the tree that killed a guy on adams mill the other week, but got confused…

  • First the gingko trees on 18th St in Adams Morgan, now this – we may have a serial killer on our hands. I would suggest trees not walk alone at night until this mystery is solved.

  • The most effective way to kill a tree is to cut away a slice of the bark in a complete ring around the tree. This is how water travels from the roots up the tree.

  • Maybe he was putting salt on the insects? or some form of ritual? let your imaginations go!

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