City fights “tree murder” with action plan

2:55 min

The city of Stockholm is fighting saboteurs poisoning trees on public property with an action plan, presented by Vice Mayor Ulla Hamilton (M) in Svenska Dagbladet today.

Someone felled a tree in Nockeby to improve their view of the water. Then six willow trees were poisoned on Norr Mälarstrand on the island of Kungsholmen for what is believed to be the same reason. Now 10 more willows were discovered poisoned on Sickla Udde.

Sabotaging trees is not new or unique to Stockholm, or Sweden for that matter, but Ulla Hamilton, vice mayor of Stockholm, has had it. To combat what she says can only be called "tree murder", she writes the city is developing a plan, a routine for police reports, investigations and calculating the cost of damages when individuals prosecuted for the crime are found guilty.

Hamilton writes that the cost of replacing the six 40-year-old willows on Norr Mälarstrand will land near 1.5 million Swedish Kronor or about 250,000 dollars.

The new trees will be brought in from Germany and planted in November. The city had to go that far afield to match the size of the other trees along the water.

Britt-Marie Alvem, a landscape architect with the Public Transport Authority, said they discovered the unhealthy trees on Norr Mälarstrand in June during a routine check.

“We saw that someone had bored holes at the bottom of the stems, right above the soil, and we noticed that all of the perennials were dead between the trees,” she said.

Alvem says there isn’t much they can do to prevent saboteurs, but she is hopeful that people will get the message. “I think that all the exposure it has gotten in the press and media has enlightened people that it’s not okay to do things like this.”