Di Kivi and Jackson Gooch at Avonleigh retirement home with Phil Pettitt, the community greening co-ordinator from the Sydney Botanic Gardens (centre).
Di Kivi and Jackson Gooch at Avonleigh retirement home with Phil Pettitt, the community greening co-ordinator from the Sydney Botanic Gardens (centre). Liana Turner

'It's terrible': More trees hit in poisoning attack

A GARDEN expert from Sydney's Royal Botanic Gardens has visited the site of 11 tree poisonings.

Phil Pettitt is the community greening co-ordinator for the Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens.

It's a program funded by NSW Family and Community Services and has helped to make the lush garden at Avonleigh retirement home in East Lismore possible.

Mr Pettitt was among those who inspected fresh damage to poisoned trees in an otherwise lush and nurtured garden.

He said residents had dedicated "countless hours" to bringing the garden to life in recent years.

"This space, it's terrible that people have sabotaged it a bit by poisoning some of the trees here because people are trying to grow organic fruit and vegetables," Mr Pettitt said.

"They need not to fear the fruit and vegetables they're growing have possibly been poisoned."

Mr Pettitt said residents were afraid to eat their bananas and mulberries since the poisonings, which begun with nine trees at the start of the month.

He said some of the poisoned plants might survive the attacks, which are being investigated by police.

"A few of those plants are palms that might be resistant to this type of poisoning," he said.

Jackson Gooch whose mother lives at Avonleigh, was hopeful they would get to the bottom of it.

Residents have spent $460 to have the poison analysed in a Southern Cross University laboratory.

"It saddens me greatly that someone would be so malicious to poison such beautiful trees," Mr Gooch said.

Resident Di Kivi said she was "absolutely furious" about the damage.

"We keep thinking they're not going to come back now, they've done so much damage," she said.

"We've got to stop whoever is doing this."

Don Browning, another resident, said they had put so much love into the garden not only for their own benefit, but for future residents.

Preserving that was vital, he said.

A Family and Community Services spokesman confirmed they were aware of a report made about the incident on September 3.

"FACS is assisting Police with their investigation," he said.

"FACS has ordered an inspection of the property to identify any trees which need to be removed.

He said FACS representatives had planned to meet with police on Thursday afternoon.

"Social housing residents are urged to report any suspected illegal activity to Police, Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000, and the Housing Contact Centre on 1800 422 322, 24 hours, 7 days."